With the help of family and friends, Coginchaug High School Junior Kasey Scibilia raised $2,007 in a two-day Valentine’s sweet sale and collected 181 pounds of non-perishable food items for
Scibilia, 16, sold items at in Middletown and on Feb. 13 at a booth in the lobby of , 213 Court Street.
“I’ve been volunteering at St. Vincent’s ever since I was little,” Scibilia explained. "With increasing academic demands and activities, Scibilia said, “I found it more difficult to volunteer and serve, and I wanted to do something.”
With the help of her mother, Suzanne, encouragement by parishioners at Church of the Holy Trinity, and the teamwork of fellow students at Coginchaug, the project took form.
Days before, she and a team of school friends created and assembled homemade goodies. “We baked for hours and hours at my house and wrapped the items. There were sugar cookies, heart-shaped cupcakes, truffles! We had a party of it, listening to music and having a good time.”
They also hit the pavement, seeking donations from local chocolatiers and businesses.
“We visited chocolate companies and emailed them for donations,” she said. Tschudin Chocolates of Middletown offered reduced pricing on chocolate heart boxes and Rosie-Blake Chocolates of New Britain Thompson and Chocolates of Meriden donated items and offered discount on others. Companies such as Cromwell Concrete Products, Incorporated, Midfield Corporation, Halloran & Sage, LLP , Davis, Mascola & Phillips, CPA's, and Oggi Hair Salons all contributed to the cause.
Scibilia and fellow students organized a three-day food drive at school and her mother’s office building at 213 Court Street. “I was amazed at all the food that came in,” she said.
The youth promoted the drive using posters, Facebook and texting. Sciblia even talked it up on the Phil Mikan Radio Show, WMRD, 1150-AM. “The basic message is that you are not too young to make a difference,” she said.
“I didn’t expect it to do as well as it did," Sciblia said. "I think people were surprised that someone my age would organize such a project. They seemed encouraged. People don’t always get the opportunity to do good because our lives are so busy. They have an opportunity to donate when it is right there in front of them.”
St. Vincent’s Amazing Grace Food Pantry, located at 16 Stack St., Middletown, serves about 845 households each month. The pantry is opened four days a week where recipients “shop” and receive approximately three days worth of nutritious meals determined by the size of their family
“We are very grateful for Kasey’s heart-felt project and her donations to Amazing Grace Food Pantry,” said Ron Krom, executive director at St. Vincent De Paul Middletown. “Our agency has experienced an 11 percent increase in the number of people we served compared to the previous year.”
St. Vincent DePaul Middletown, founded in 1980, also operates a community soup kitchen providing 75,500 meals, a Community Assistance Program that connect hundreds of people to basic support services and emergency funds to overcome and avoid homelessness, and supportive housing programs that allow 62 formerly homeless people to have their own home.