EAST WINDSOR, CT — Three months after organizing an online event designed to aid fellow artisans being severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, Erica Giroux and her family have taken on another project to help people in need.
Giroux and her husband Mike, owners of The Playful Peacock and Giroux Woodworking, have joined the efforts of a young man dedicated to eradicating hunger in nearby communities. South Windsor resident Tiernan Cabot, now 12, founded Hartford Bags of Love in 2017 to assist homeless persons in their efforts to find work.
On the organization's website, Cabot wrote, "Our 'bags of love' include items such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, soaps, socks, and deodorant."
The effort to aid those in need has expanded to include multiple locations for "Free Little Pantries." Cabot wrote, "Due to the pandemic, many more people are dealing with food insecurity, and we want to do our part to help those in need."
A pair of Free Little Pantries opened in East Windsor in September, and the Giroux family has provided a third at their home at 186 Depot Road. It is the 22nd pantry opened this year by Hartford Bags of Love in Hartford and Tolland counties.
Girl Scouts from South Windsor built the cabinet as a woodworking badge project, Giroux said. The pantry contains items such as soups, canned vegetables, pasta and sauce, and an attached sign encourages visitors to "leave what you can, take what you need."
Giroux told Patch, "Although we are all socially distancing, I feel so close to our community and all the wonderful people I have met this year, between our virtual craft fairs and the little pantry we have in front of our home. I think everyone is realizing that if we all work together and support one another in this tough time, we will come out as a stronger community on the other side. I am so grateful to all the people I have virtually met and the camaraderie we now share supporting local small businesses and the members of our community. There’s no better feeling than that!"
This story is part of Patch's new partnership with Feeding America. Patch has partnered with Feeding America to help raise awareness on behalf of the millions of Americans facing hunger. Feeding America, which supports 200 food banks across the country, estimates that in 2020, more than 54 million Americans will not have enough nutritious food to eat due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This is a Patch social good project; Feeding America receives 100 percent of donations. Find out how you can donate in your community or find a food pantry near you.