Archives for November 2012

MACC Open House

How about you stop by during the holiday season to celebrate with us?

MACC is having an Open House  on Saturday , December 15, 2012  from 2-4pm. We will dedicate the new Church Mouse Thrift Shoppe location in Vern’s Place and allow you to see the new work that was completed by a grant from Hartford Foundation for Public Giving to bring our campus to a “One Stop Shop” for those we serve.  We also have a new industrial wood veneer flooring in our soup kitchen and new floor in our pantry sorting area that was provided by Siracusa Moving and Storage (Dan Siracusa)

It is a Come and Go Event – enjoy some holiday appetizers and hot seasonal drinks with us.

Please help us get the word out. All are welcome to stop by!

Food Drive

Carter Chevrolet vs. Bennet Academy

By Kyle S. Reyes, Director of Marketing

Right before the storm last week, I stopped at the grocery store for a few of the basics.  It wasn’t because a storm was coming – it was because I’d been too lazy for the past week to actually go grocery shopping.

I threw some oranges and bananas in the cart.  Limes went in next.  They weren’t a necessity, but really – have you ever tried to make a mojito without limes?

Going past the canned goods, I grabbed a few extra cans of tuna fish.  I figured if Sandy turned out to be a bust, there’s always the looming Mayan prediction / fiscal cliff / Honey Boo Boo world-takeover.

What a luxury to be able to throw a few extra items in the cart.  It’s easy to forget that there are so many in the world – and our own neighborhoods – that can barely get by.

That’s why our team at Carter Chevrolet and the kids at Bennet Academy are having a friendly competition.  We want to see which team is able to collect more canned goods and help more people.

So we need your help at Carter Chevrolet to kick those kids’ little aaaaa…..mbitions.

From November 14th to November 16th, we’re parking a 2013 Chevy Silverado in front of Bennet Academy (it will be in their courtyard on the 16th).  We’ll also have a truck parked in our showroom at 1229 Main Street in Manchester.  We’re asking people to bring donations of non-perishable items to “stuff the truck.”

If Bennet Academy collects more donations during the three day period, Carter Chevrolet will deliver pizzas to the class that collected the most donations during their in-school food drive (which runs from November 1 to November 16).

If Carter Chevrolet collects more donations during the three day period, Principal Joe Chella will have to hand-wash every Chevy Silverado in the lot….in the freezing November cold air.

All of the donations will go to the Manchester Area Conference of Churches (MACC) Food Pantry, which provides free groceries to Manchester and Bolton families in emergency situations.

We REALLY want to see Principal Chella doing some car washing…don’t you?


Psst…by the way, THE KIDS WON!


Alone, this number may not mean much to you. To us, it means a lot because this was the total deposit from our first return of FAMILY4FAMILY boxes! On each box, there is a line that reads, “$11 feeds a family of four for a week.” If you do some quick math, there was a family that was fed for 11 weeks. Or, two families that were fed for over a month. This is good news!

We’ve talked before about how the dollar goes further at MACC — how the constant efforts of volunteers and generous flow of donations allows us to feed more people for less money — and this is a perfect example. Is $128 a mind-blowing number? No. What is mind-blowing is that $128 can feed a family for over two months. Anybody who shops for groceries knows how expensive food is, so to be able to help people through hard times for $11 a week is an opportunity we shouldn’t pass by!

Thank you to those who participated in the first-wave of FAMILY4FAMILY boxes. If you want to get your family on board to help a family in your community, send us an email!

Crave Film

It takes courage to be known.

To be known means that we must in some way present ourselves as vulnerable. To be known, we must reveal ourselves, step forth from the shadows, and stare back into eyes of the world.

We recently produced a short film at MACC which featured the eyes of our clients (one or two are volunteers). At first glance, the 2-3 minutes of footage may not seem like more than a benign montage, but consider the implications of “being known” and you will realize that the significance of this film is greater than you might expect. By standing in front of a camera for ten seconds, these clients are saying, “I am willing to be known.” They are the courageous ones who offer one of the most intimate forms of human communication — eye contact — to a large and diverse audience. It takes courage to be known.

Many of those who agreed to stand in front of the camera simply hoped that this would help MACC continue to provide the services that they were using. Rather than being ashamed, they met the eyes of the audience and let you stare into their soul. I’m not sure how many of us would be so willing to bare our souls.

Take a moment to view the film. Then share it. Talk with your friends and family about the courage of being known.




Kitchen Update

She stared at the floor and you could almost imagine her wiggling her toes inside those beat-up shoes. It was her first day back in the community kitchen since renovations and the new wooden veneer floor presented a feeling of welcome, a sense of warmth. The cold tile was suddenly gone.

She walked over to one of the staff and looked up. “This floor…makes me want to take off my shoes!”

Our guests were encouraged to keep their shoes on but we knew immediately that changing the flooring was the right choice. For a while we have been wanting to change the feeling of our community kitchen. We wanted to move away from the feeling of a cafeteria and towards a home-style kitchen with wood floors, round tables and a warm atmosphere. If on the first day, people are ready to kick off their shoes then it would appear we are on the right track.

Our pantry adds dignity to those who use our services because it feels like shopping in a small market. Now, our kitchen adds dignity to those who use our food services because it fosters interaction and community.





When David walks into our shelter and empties his pockets, he puts a fistful of change into the bucket we use for monitoring what people bring in and out of our facility. The change is mostly bronze and I wonder why this man is carrying a lump of small change around. Our other staff member get’s to it first, “Why so many pennies Dave?”

He smiles and you can imagine him throwing his head back with a laugh towards the sky because that’s his demeanor. He’s somewhat of a character, always bowing before our staff, taking benign jabs at our expense, and ensuring that his cologne is nearby so that he smells “fresh”.

“A hundred pennies is a dollar! I always say that. Told that to my kids, too,” he smiles ear to ear as he talks, “I don’t see why people would just pass over them. They’re money! Doesn’t bother me though ‘cause it means more pennies for me.”

I reflect his contagious smile and nod in agreement. I am one of the offenders who won’t stoop to pick up a penny. His reasoning is sound, though. It is money. It adds up. It is an opportunity waiting for a willing soul.

David doesn’t skip over these opportunities and I leave the shelter wondering how many “pennies” I walk over every day. How many small moments do I pass by? How many words of kindness do I look past? How many smiles of encouragement do I leave on the sidewalk? How many opportunities to give of my time and resources do I ignore? These add up. The reasoning is sound.

I hope that we learn a simple lesson from David. There should be no moment too small that we would overlook it and consider it unworthy of our time. My guess is that a fistful of small change could amount to big change, we just have to be willing to stop, stoop down, and gather.

“We can do no great things, only small things done with great love.”
– Mother Teresa

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