With the help of local organizations like Farm Credit East, programs like Weekend Wheels will get a boost this month: fresh milk. Farm Credit East recently heard about The Great American Milk Drive program and was inspired to donate. The organization created Farm Credit East Cares in October 2011 as a way for employees to support local, state, and regional charitable causes. This year, employees from Farm Credit East collected $1,000 and contributed it to The Great American Milk Drive. This generous donation will be turned into about 200 milk vouchers to be shared with local families in need, including students from the Weekend Wheels program in Windsor, Connecticut. Read on to learn how the donation will be used.
It is easy to drive past the Rainbow Road Firehouse in Windsor, Connecticut as it is tucked away in a residential neighborhood surrounded by local businesses. The humble facade of the Firehouse does not do justice to the big-hearted souls who work inside it to bring hunger to an end in the community.
The Windsor Fire Department allows the Windsor Hunger Action Team to use its community room to operate the Weekend Wheels program. The Weekend Wheels program is a volunteer-led collaboration between Foodshare, Windsor Hunger Action Team, Town of Windsor Social Services, and local elementary schools including Clover Street School, John F. Kennedy School, Oliver Ellsworth School, and Poquonock School.
Enthusiastic volunteer Bruce Buchan (in gray sweater) warmly welcomed supporters from Farm Credit East, Foodshare, Hastings Family Farm, and the New England Dairy Promotion Board to visit the operation and shared what the Weekend Wheels program is all about: stamping out hunger for local elementary school students. Bruce manages the inventory and volunteer scheduling for the program.
Social workers who serve local elementary schools identify students who are struggling with hunger, who are unsure where their next meal is coming from. On Friday afternoons before what could be a very long and hungry weekend for these students, wheeled backpacks containing several pounds of food are shared with the students. These bags are carefully packed by the all-volunteer Weekend Wheels team.
Contents of a wheeled backpack shared with local elementary students in need. Backpacks typically contain fruits, vegetables, quick meals, and snacks. (Photo Credit: Mark Box/Clarus Studios)
The Weekend Wheels program began in January 2013 and currently serves about 50 students per week. The all-volunteer team works hard to secure new food donations and is supported by Foodshare, the closest Feeding America® food bank as well.
The Windsor Weekend Wheels program stores food donations to be packaged and shared with elementary students to help fight hunger in the community. (Photo Credit: Mark Box/Clarus Studios)
The volunteers of the Windsor Weekend Wheels program also try to keep the spirits of the young students it serves high by creating birthday bags. Milk sure would go well with birthday cake! Donate to The Great American Milk Drive. (Photo Credit: Mark Box/Clarus Studios)
During this hectic holiday season, it warmed my heart to see the kindness and care for the local community expressed through the staff at Farm Credit East and Foodshare and the volunteers of the Weekend Wheels program. You can join them in helping a family in need near you this month. Every dollar contributed to The Great American Milk Drive will be matched until December 31st. Donate today!
Left to Right: Paula Siebers (Foodshare), Donna Eathorne (Farm Credit East), Connecticut Dairy Farmer Megan Hastings (Hastings Family Farm), Denise Novak (Weekend Wheels), Kerri Sears (Farm Credit East), Tom Cosgrove (Farm Credit East), Bruce Buchan (Weekend Wheels), Maureen Fernandes (Weekend Wheels), Art Hamel (Weekend Wheels), Steve Rickenbacher (Farm Credit East), Barbara Davis (Weekend Wheels), Mary Zielinski (Weekend Wheels) (Photo Credit: Mark Box/Clarus Studios)