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Serving Up Tuna Casserole and Love in New London

Serving Up Tuna Casserole and Love in New London

Nonprofit volunteers are among the many heroes who have been revealed during this pandemic.

In the current health crisis, we’ve all had to do without some resources we’re used to having.  That’s true for nonprofit organizations as well–especially when it comes to volunteers, who are understandably staying home in large numbers to protect their health and safety.

Volunteers are the heart and soul of organizations like the New London Community Meal Center.  The Center operates with a handful of paid food service staff and an army of volunteers, many of them retired folks who are at high risk for COVID-19 infection.  But hunger hasn’t taken a holiday–in fact, there’s more demand for food than ever before–and Meal Center volunteers continue to rise to the challenge.

The team from Beth El Synagogue pictured above is a great example.  They’re carrying on a 28-year tradition of their congregation, serving their signature tuna casserole every fourth Wednesday of the month.  Debbie Daren and Scott Zelken were the leaders who started it all, and now they are bringing a new generation of congregants to the Center.  Left to right are Barbara Sahagan, Scott Zelken, Debbie Daren, Ellen Adler, David Fryburg, and Lily Fryburg.  (You’ll notice they are wearing appropriate protective gear to ensure the safety of themselves and Center guests.)

It’s been inspirational for us to see local agencies like the Meal Center step up to meet the increased demand for services, while struggling with staff reductions, revenue losses, and the same health concerns we all are facing.  Their staff and volunteers are among the many heroes who have been revealed during this pandemic.

We’re proud to have supported the New London Community Meal Center with a grant of $5,000 to support general operating expenses.  This grant was part of $87,000 awarded in May and June to provide basic needs for people impacted by the pandemic.

We want to thank the Beth El team and all the volunteers who are keeping the doors open and the welcome mat out at vital service providers like the New London Community Meal Center.  And we’d like also to give a special shout-out to one of our own Liberty Bankers:  Linda Berard of our Waterford office, who chairs the Meals Center board.

Volunteers, we salute you.  As you work to meet the needs of others, please don’t forget to take care of yourselves.  We need you!

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