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Madison Community Services Food Pantry Update

Madison Community Services Food Pantry Public Information

 

The Madison Community Services Food Pantry is maintained by dedicated volunteers, and relies upon donations from the Churches, Civic clubs, local businesses, and N2N. 

Rental space is maintained in Orchard Park on 50 Orchard Park Road and is open for food and essential household supplies on Wednesdays. During the growing season, hundreds of pounds of fresh vegetables are donated by the Bauer Park Community Gardeners under the “Madison looks after its own” program. The objective is to provide food and those essential household and children supplies as a supplement to persons and families in difficult circumstances.  

At this time, the weekly intake of clients is over to 200, with an average of three persons per client family. A weekly home delivery is also maintained for those who are home bound.  

Due to budget constraints, the Food Pantry has had to pull back from providing certain items, such as butter, but relies heavily on charitable donations of food from Madison businesses. Unlike the towns of Clinton or Guilford, you do not have to show need except for being a Madison resident; as a consequence no-one is turned away. 

Due to this generous policy we have had a few negative comments from the community. We are often asked why we allow clients that drive a Lexus or a Cadillac to shop at the pantry. Madison Community Services  President, Cheryl T Campbell, replies "If you take a closer look at those luxury cars you will notice many are a decade old! During these rough economic times, even the once well off have found themselves overextended and in need of support. It takes a lot of courage to come forward and say that you need help. We pride ourselves on maintaing the dignity of our clients and have to trust that our ‘no one turned away’ policy is not abused.” 

To insure that MCS resources are used to the best of our ability it is most important to make sure that the MCS Food Pantry is servicing only the needy. 

Thank you, for your understanding and cooperation.

Sincerely,

Mitchell H. Cohan, co-director of the MCS Food Pantry

 

For More Information:

Visit:  http://madisoncommunityservices.org

Madison Community Services, Inc is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) compliant organization, independent of the Town of Madison, CT.  Our programs provide many services to the community including School Supply Assistance, Camp Scholarships, a Supplemental Food Pantry, Medical Transportation and Holiday Food Baskets.

We would like to thank all our volunteers, as well as the organizations and people of Madison for their continued support.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lynda Enright February 14, 2013 at 12:43 AM
MCS also provides scholarships for academic tutoring for students attending Madison Schools
Mitchell Cohan February 14, 2013 at 12:53 AM
Thank you Lynda. You are doing an outstanding job overseeing the tutoring and scholarships for these students. They are truly fortunate to have you looking after their interests.
Wilson February 14, 2013 at 02:34 AM
How did you turn your back on the needy during the storm. To close on the Wednesday after the storm makes no sense. Your emergency weather plan is just to shut down for two weeks. Please explain this to the many supports of the pantry like myself who thought we were supporting a community service that was at it's best when the need was greatest. Please tell me you at least kept up with the home delivery for the housebound.
BL Davis February 14, 2013 at 02:51 PM
Wilson< I generally agree with your comments, especiall with regard to not acepting mediocrity from our town officials. In the case of the Food Bank we re dealing with volunteers, not paid employees, who may not be dug out enough to carry on their ususal activities. However I hope food can be delivered to the most isolated and most in need. I still cannot drive out my driveway even though a payloader has cleared it But at least an emergency vehicle can get here if needed -- 6 days later! This Town will have to do a "What Did We Do Right? What Did We Do Wrong? And What Can We do Better -- and How?" Assessment of its storm response. That's where residents like you can be a big help with ideas and specific suggestions.
Pem McNerney (Editor) February 14, 2013 at 03:02 PM
Mitch and Lynda, if you guys need any help delivering to the homebound or getting the pantry set up for next week, please call me at 203-200-9756. Would be happy to help out and thanks for all you do.
Cheryl T Campbell February 14, 2013 at 03:58 PM
Wilson, BL Davis is correct in his reply. We are an ALL volunteer organization and the safety of our volunteers and clients is our first priority. Even though the Madison Community Services Food Pantry is a Supplemental Food Pantry, proving our clients with only 3 meals for 3 days, there is much to be done before we open our doors each Wednesday. Deliveries begin on Saturday mornings and the stocking procedure continues thru Tuesday with shopping at the CT Food Bank. When this pattern is interrupted every day due to extreme weather conditions and the clean up that follows, we are left with bare shelves. Of course we try to maintain our weekly hours, even when the work flow is interrupted, but we will always consider the safety of our volunteers and clients above all else.
Mitchell Cohan February 14, 2013 at 05:37 PM
Wilson before you point your finger at anyone be sure you have all the facts before you. The reasons why the MCS Food Pantry was closed on Wednesday was due to the following: (1), Stop and Shop, who are very generous to us, had no meats for us, (2) The Connecticut Food Bank which supplies us with canned goods and produce was unable to fill our order, and (3) Many of our volunteers were unable to get out of their driveways and it the roads were unsafe to travel on. The Madison residents who do volunteer are a very caring group of people and the very last thing they would do would be to "turn their backs on the needy". In the past, when physically possible, we were open for the people and those that were hombound were cared for. Wilson, I invite you to ccome down to the MCS Food Pantry to see how caring and devoted our volunteers are. FYi. Our food pantry is used as a model for other pantrys in Connecticut. We are open on Wednesdays from 11am until 3pm. I look forwrd to meeting you and showing you our pantry which we are so very proud of. Thank you for your interest. Mitchell Cohan, co-Director MCS Food Pantry.
Mitchell Cohan February 14, 2013 at 05:40 PM
Pem thank you for your generous offer. I will call you if needed. Thank you for putting my blog on the feature page. I
Wilson February 14, 2013 at 08:55 PM
Thanks for your kind reply. Mitchell thank you for the genuine offer of a tour of the facility however, I am part of a group of people who delivers bags of food from there monthly and have seen the facility work well on many occasions. Of course I share your concern for the volunteers, staff and clients. However, the storm is long gone, there are endless church groups, boy scout troupes and citizens in general that would have helped plow out and drive. And given the announcement via social media we could now staff ,volunteer, voyage to the CT Food Bank, drive deliveries etc and open at first chance. Clearly today , tomorrow or this weekend beats waiting for the convenience of next Wednesday. We are not talking an incidental service. You are asking us to fund and serve an organization that feeds people who are hungry, who are without food, and without incomes to supply it.
Wilson February 14, 2013 at 08:55 PM
Thus the reason we called to feed them. I had not known you were considered a "Supplemental Food Pantry" and only supplying individuals with three days’ worth of food. I had always assumed if you were hungry for the week the Pantry could feed you for the week. That is enlightening information. I hope this discussion has elevated the need for a more comprehensive approach to the cause of hunger in Madison. I am just disappointed to find out that when the need was the greatest we built and supported a service that simply was never built to respond. And now in the cold winter nights we have hungry citizens in town who feel separated from their community in distance and spirit. We need to fix that. I now understand the excuses and don't wish the good people like yourselves contempt; it is just I had hoped for better and the hungry had prayed for more. I will continue to work with my group to serve the Pantry as we work to improve the response to this blizzard. Thanks to all who participated in this discussion.

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