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.
To this end, individuals and families that are served by Gifts of Love's programs, including the Basis Needs Program, face a short-term crisis in their lives due to the loss of employment, reduced working hours, illness, divorce, death of a spouse/mate, domestic abuse, or a significant unexpected increase in expenses. By helping clients meet their families most basic needs - food on the table, adequate clothing, or a bed in which to sleep - we enable them to focus on putting their lives back in order and regain self-sufficiency.
We offer assistance to our clients for a period of up to one year, although each case is monitored and evaluated separately. Through our emergency services, we also assist a number of families on a one-time basis. All support is provided free of charge.
Gifts of Love's current programs include:
Food Pantry: Enables clients to “shop” for food, paper goods, personal hygiene items, meat and fresh vegetables once per month by appointment. In 2012, Gifts of Love gave away more than 10,000 bags of food.
Clothes "Store": Clients can "shop" for in-season clothing for their entire family. In 2012, Gifts of Love distributed more than 3,000 bags of clothing.
Linen Closet and Household Items: We offer 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 kitcehn and household items. Gifts of Love assisted 13,045 people last year.
Furniture Program: This unique service transfers usable furniture for various reasons, including a new addition to the family or those starting a new home due to divorce, fire or exiting an abusive situation. Items most in demand are beds, pack and plays, dressers and kitchen tables–the most basic needs of a household. GoL 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 Sponsorships: Local residents, organizations, churches and businesses assure that everyone has the means to celebrate the season by sponsoring a family at the Holidays. Assisting a struggling family during the Holidays is at the heart of “families helping families.” Gifts of Love assisted 6,392 adults last year.
Back to School Program: We provide children with fully stocked backpacks loaded with pencils, paper, dictionaries and more, so that they can start off 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. That’s why Gifts of Love has instituted a backpack program. Each Friday Gifts of Love distributes backpacks in Avon, Simsbury, Farmington, West Hartford and Canton children full of easy to prepare food and juice to be used by the family over the weekend. We supply almost 100 kids with weekend food every week.
Volunteen Program: Gifts of Love is working with the local school systems, clubs, youth groups, sports teams, religious and civic groups to enable students to volunteer and to allow Gifts of Love to assist more people. Over 135 volunteers currently help at Gifts of Love.
Farmington Valley Hunger Collaborative: Gifts of Love is part of the Farmington Valley Hunger Collaborative with the food pantries in Avon, Farmington, Canton and Simsbury. We needed to partner with the local food pantries in order to better deliver services and additional support to those in need in the Valley. The Hunger Collaborative is combining resources in order to purchase in bulk, pick up orders at Foodshare as a group and grow food in collaboration with the Community Farm of Simsbury.
Community Farm of Simsbury: Gifts of Love and the Community Farm of Simsbury have hired an organic farmer together to teach at the Farm summer school, assist in the camp program and grow food for Gifts of Love. Our Volunteers will assist in the picking and storing of fresh fruits and vegetables harvested from the 1 acre teaching garden.
Volunteers: Gifts of Love is also working with the local school systems to enable students to volunteer. Many students have a community service requirement. Gifts of Love has hired a volunteer coordinator to work some weekends and evening hours, times that are more convenient for students. These Volunteers run the Gifts of Love program the first Saturday of every month and 2 week nights per month. Weekend and evening hours are also more convenient for our working clients. Volunteers also assist with the fresh food program, fund raising and events. They truly make a difference in their community and have a great experience to add to their resume and college applications.
Other Services: Gifts of Love offers our clients valuable information about other support services in the area that can help to facilitate a persons progression to economic self-sufficiency. Gifts of Love are 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 a 75% increase.
If you are in need of services, please contact us at 860-676-2323 or email Denise at firstname.lastname@example.org.