Programs - Learn About All the Ways You Can Help

Programs that are effective in reducing poverty and producing positive outcomes are a smart investment with broad societal benefits. According to the "2004 Kids Count Data Book" published by the CT Association for Human Services, lifting low-income working families out of poverty strengthens the overall economy. Families that become self-sufficient create a more stable workforce and strengthen the state's general financial system.

In an effort to help working families attain financial independence, Gifts of Love offers the following programs and services at no charge to clients: 

Food Pantry: Enables clients to “shop” for food, paper goods, personal hygiene items, meat and fresh produce monthly. In 2012, Gifts of Love distributed more than 10,000 bags of food.

Clothes "Store": Clients can "shop" for in-season clothing for their families. In 2012, Gifts of Love distributed more than 3,000 bags of clothing.

Linen Closet and Household Items: Clients can select from an array of good-quality bed linens, towels, curtains and the like donated by area residents. Our Household Room has pots, pans, dishes, small appliances and other kitchen and household items. Gifts of Love assisted 13,045 people last year.

Furniture Program: Individuals and families can receive furniture to meet their needs.  Items most in demand are beds, pack and plays, and dressers. Gifts of Love has a truck for furniture pick-up and delivery and an off-site storage space. The agency distributed over $50,000 in furniture and household items last year.

Holiday Shop: With the support of local residents, organizations, churches and businesses, Gifts of Love ensures everyone has the means to celebrate the holiday season.  Annually, Gifts of Love creates a "Holiday Shop" where clients can select gifts for their families.  Gifts of Love assisted 6,392 adults last year.

Back-to-School Program: Gifts of Love provides children with fully-stocked backpacks loaded with pencils, paper, dictionaries and more, so they can start the school year well supplied. We are proud to assist these children with a solid start to their education. Gifts of Love assisted 6,653 children last year.

Weekend Food Backpack Program: When some students go home on Friday afternoons, they aren’t just leaving behind their studies.  Many of them leave behind the free meals provided at school and return after the weekend with empty stomachs.  Six years ago, Gifts of Love instituted a Weekend Food Backpack Program, which provides backpacks each Friday for students in Avon, Canton, Farmington, Simsbury and West Hartford full of easy to prepare meals for the family for the weekend and snacks of the students for the week. Gifts of Love distributes nearly 200 backpacks weekly during the school year.  

Farmington Valley Hunger Collaborative: Gifts of Love is part of the Farmington Valley Hunger Collaborative with food pantries in Avon, Canton, Farmington and Simsbury. The Collaborative works to better deliver services and supports to those in need in the Farmington Valley. The Hunger Collaborative combines resources to purchase in food bulk, pick up orders at Foodshare and distribute produce grown at Community Farm of Simsbury.

Community Farm of Simsbury: Gifts of Love and Community Farm of Simsbury have merged!  Gifts of Love has been working with the Community Farm of Simsbury for several years growing and harvesting organic fruits and vegetables for the food pantry.  The merge of the two organizations will enable Gifts of Love to continue to grow and harvest fresh fruits and vegetables, offer farm-based educational programming for children and adults, and offer community activities such as cooking classes, farm-to-table dinners and fall fairs. In 2012, nearly 2,500 students in Simsbury, Hartford, and throughout the Farmington Valley participated in farm-based, school-year academic programs and summer camps at the Community Farm of Simsbury.

Volunteer and Volunteen Program: Volunteers are the lifeblood of Gifts of Love.  We offer volunteer opportunities for students and adults and have a full-time volunteer coordinator on staff to meet the needs of volunteers.  Gifts of Love works with local school, civic groups, companies, youth groups and various clubs to encourage volunteerism.  Students can volunteer at Gifts of Love to meet their community service requirements. Volunteers staff the front desk, greet and assist clients, stock the food pantry, maintain the clothing shop and housewares and linen closet, manage the Holiday Shop, assist with fundraising and other events, grow and harvest produce, and contribute to the overall success of the programs.  Gifts of Love volunteers truly make a difference in the community while getting valuable experience to include on job resumes and college applications.  More than 500 people volunteer with Gifts of Love and Community Farm fo Simsbury annually.

Other Services: Gifts of Love offers clients valuable information about other support services in the area that can help to facilitate progression toward financial independence. To this end, Gifts of Love's Manager of Self-Sufficiency is responsible for working with clients one-on-one to assist them with attaining self-sufficiency.  Gifts of Love is also a designated agency for Operation Fuel, which provides one-time financial support for utility bills. Gifts of Love assisted 5,031 adults last year resulting in a 75% increase over the previous year.

If you are in need of services, please contact us at 860-676-2323 or email Denise Phillips at dphillips@giftsoflovect.org.