Two groups that help provide food and heat to needy residents have gotten financial assistance from the organizers of the annual Christmas in Collinsville celebration.
The Canton Food Bank and the Canton Fuel Bank each received $1,000 donations Wednesday. Organizers of Christmas in Collinsville said they were able to provide more money than usual because good attendance brought in more revenue, while an affiliation with the nonprofit Canton Main Street lowered costs.
“This is probably the best we have done so far,” said Gary Roman, one of Christmas in Collinsville’s organizers. Kathy Taylor, another organizer, said donations of $500 apiece have been common in previous years.
Pat Lazauski, director of the food bank, said cash donations like the one it received Wednesday help buy perishable products like meat, dairy and produce. She said the food bank often spends $400 a week buying perishable products.
Lazauski said 127 people are eligible to get help from the food bank and in a given week between 60 and 65 show up to collect food on Tuesdays at Trinity Episcopal Church. But that does not give the full picture of how many people are helped since individuals coming to the pantry often are getting food for their entire family, Lazauski said.
“People don’t think there is need here in Canton, but we do have people who fall below that line where they are not in poverty but they are close,” Lazauski said.
Michael Langer, treasurer for the fuel bank, said the donation is an important boost for the group, which recently increased the cap on how much assistance it gives to $1,000 per family during the heating season.
“We have not had anyone hit that cap yet, but we’ll see,” Langer said, referring to the cold snap that hit Connecticut this week.
Christmas in Collinsville is a two-day event and was held Dec. 8 and 9 this year. The opening day features a champagne walk, during which people buy glasses and can tour the businesses in Collinsville. Refills of champagne along with other refreshments and attractions are available at each of the merchants. The second day includes a craft fair in the town hall auditorium.