One of the ongoing initiatives here at the Rotary Club of Middletown is our partnership to Amazing Grace food pantry in Middletown.
Our Club regularly supports Amazing Grace and its efforts, and recently made a $1,050 contribution to assist those in need of food during the pandemic. The Club has been supportive of the food pantry and the St Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen for many years, but recognized the need for increased support due to unprecedented recent challenges.  “This spring has been especially difficult for those who have lost jobs due to virus related business closures, for those with health issues who can no longer head to a grocery store safely and for hundreds more who find themselves in need of our support…your support", said Maryellen Shuckerow, Executive Director of Amazing Grace.
While the forty-year-old mission of Amazing Grace remains the same - to feed the hungry in the Middletown community - the way in which it operates has changed. Volunteers have switched from escorting guests through the pantry to packing boxes with fresh healthy food that people can pick up easily out front, under a tent.   This keeps volunteers safe while increasing capacity needed to meet current needs.
This past March, the pantry partnered with the Middletown Senior Center to feed area seniors who, for health or other reasons, need to stay home. Over 130 seniors have taken advantage of this bi-weekly home food delivery program at no cost.  “We are absolutely convinced that this program has saved lives by keeping people out of public transportation and grocery stores” Shuckerow stated, adding that “another 200 or so families are also receiving home delivered groceries due to immune deficiencies, disabilities and other health conditions which put them at high risk.”
Cheryl Duey, 2019-2020 Co-president of the Middletown Rotary Club, presented the check on behalf of the Club.  “We are proud to join local churches, companies, service providers and individual volunteers to help meet this most basic need in our community”, she said, and added, “Although the demand for service has increased by over 100%, Amazing Grace has been able to assist the most vulnerable among us without increasing staff or overhead because of volunteers and financial support from community leaders.” Anyone wishing to volunteer or contribute to Amazing Grace can contact them at (860) 347-3222. 
Pictured here are Maryellen Shuckerow, left, and Cheryl Duey, right.