The holiday spirit is flowing in the New Fairfield and Sherman social services departments. Heaps of delicious treats and piles of fun presents await delivery to area families.
“It amazes me how generous everyone is,” said Cindy White, New Fairfield’s Director of Social Services. She described a host of groups and individual families who are happy to donate and help to collect items for more than 50 families in town. Loaded Thanksgiving meal baskets, overflowing Christmas stockings, and piles of hats and gloves are dropped off by local Girl and Boy Scouts, Lion’s Club, VFW, New Fairfield Thrift Shop, churches, and more. She noted that many groups and families give monetary donations and gift certificates, as well.
In Sherman, Social Services Director, Beth Trott, her assistant Lynne Gomez, and their holiday gift drive coordinator, Peggie Kennedy, are inspired by the generosity in the town. Ms. Trott says, “Sherman residents are notoriously generous and caring. It is what Sherman is all about. People of all socioeconomic backgrounds come forward to give in Sherman. That’s the inspiring thing. People just give. You can see it in our volunteer fire department and all our community organizations, the JCC, and churches. They are givers. It is inspiring during the holidays, but the giving goes on all year round in Sherman.” She says that the list of groups, such as Matthew 25 and Sherman Cares, plus individuals who give in Sherman is so long that, “We can’t name them because we would miss someone.”
Likewise, Ms. White went on to say, “It is a beautiful thing to see the giving,” when she described the efforts of the town employees who donate items for, and assemble, giveaway baskets. She also remarked on the scores of volunteers who recently stacked the shelves to capacity at New Fairfield’s food pantry after Stop & Shop donated box upon box of food.
Ms. Trott said that it feels good to help families in Sherman, “especially with people who could really use a little cheer. This is a small community but there is a lot of struggle and suffering. There is loneliness, health issues, job losses, all kinds of loss. We don’t really call them ‘families in need,’ but they are families who are human and living the human experience…with all the ups and downs that being human entails.”
She describes the season with a touch of magic, stating “when the office is full of wrapped gifts from our Holiday Gift Drive, and young families and seniors come in to collect their gifts, the generosity of the Sherman community makes your heart swell. The tears of joy and gratefulness are wonderful to see!”
Both departments would welcome the holiday spirit extending throughout the year, in terms of giving. In New Fairfield, Ms. White says that especially in summer the food pantry is typically in desperate need. Also, she is always looking for volunteers to help with the food pantry. Whereas in Sherman, Ms. Trott says, “Donations are critical.” They don’t have a food pantry in town, but “the donations for our seasonal outreaches are vital.” She explained that if anyone wants to donate money to any of the town’s charitable groups they can drop off a check or give electronically. She also said that gift cards to local grocery stores and gas stations are always welcome. They can be mailed to Sherman Social Services, PO Box 261, Sherman, CT or dropped off at the office.
By Sarah Opdahl