On Saturday afternoon for two hours, the Diamond Hill United Methodist Church put on a rock concert with live music from SoulShine to raise money for Neighbor to Neighbor, a non-profit organization providing food, clothing, linen and small household items to Greenwich residents in need.
“The reason we support Neighbor to Neighbor is because it’s an organization that’s right here in our own community and all of its efforts are focused in this community,” said Pastor Carol Bloom of Diamond Hill Church. “It’s a great way to support the local folks.”
“Our food pantry serves primarily Greenwich. We have a weekly program, which is unusual; most programs are emergency pantries,” said Nancy Coughlin, executive director of Neighbor to Neighbor. “So once somebody is qualified to come they can come every week.”
The Neighbor to Neighbor food pantries help feed families that run out of state benefits and have nowhere else to turn.
“These are families that may be receiving SNAP, which is basically food stamps,” said Coughlin. “But those benefits always run out well before the end of the month. So, that they can come to us every week means that they can get fresh produce all month long, every week, as well as cereal, peanut butter and jelly, and tuna fish.”
“We had a nutritionist design the food pantry so that we make sure whenever a family comes, they get enough food,” said Coughlin. “It’s intended to be three days’ worth of food. But they get enough food to make healthy meals. So, it’s not just what happens to be donated. If the food is not donated, we go out and purchase it so we make sure that everybody is getting really healthy food.”
The Girl Scouts, were in attendance to do face painting for kids and help sell refreshments that included water donated from Poland Spring. The Boy Scouts also volunteered their time to set up and take down the tables and chairs.
The restaurant Little Pub, in Cos Cob, had a table where they sold pulled pork sandwiches and coleslaw for the crowd. All of the earnings were donated to Neighbor to Neighbor.
“Little Pub has been a very good neighbor of ours. Anything we do, they’re here to help us,” said Carol Wilson, chair of the church’s board of trustees and an active member.
Diamond Hill and Neighbor to Neighbor also have a harmonious relationship. “We have a long history of cooperating with this church,” said Coughlin. “They completely organized the whole thing. I had nothing to do in the planning of it. I just came and showed up. This church, as with a lot of churches in Greenwich, is tremendously supportive of our work. They do regular food collections, regular events. On Oct. 3 they’re doing a chili cook off. They donate all the proceeds to us, and it’s a tremendously popular event and a lot of fun.”
“I’d like people to come to an understanding that we don’t all have to do a lot, but all these different organizations came together and each one donated a little something,” said Pastor Bloom. “And so when we all come together and do a little something we can do a lot.”