By Sue Wilchinsky
All School Service Coordinator
When school began, I was working from home and feeling so sad that I wasn't able to be there to help out in any way that I could. After 25 years of beginning the school year with all kinds of all-grade service activities, I was feeling the need to do something — but what?
I spoke to Jane Verlin in LS and she invited me to help out with LS lunch — and that was the beginning. I so enjoyed seeing all my LS friends who kept asking when we would do service projects! So we kept up the tradition and collected Halloween candy donations to send to the troops.
The second opportunity came when one of the fifth-grade teachers asked me if I knew where all the extra lunches could go. We worked with our food-service friends who now fill up my car each Friday with the week's leftovers. The leftovers from GFA have happily been feeding hundreds of people in four shelters and a fire station. It's such a blessing. Last year, we provided lunches for the Gillespie Shelter on a weekly basis through our former US Service program, and now we were feeding people each week at the Open Door Shelter in Norwalk, Gillespie/Hoskins place in Westport, Operation Hope Fairfield, the Fairfield Fire Station and the Bridgeport Rescue Mission. GFA should be so proud that they are providing much needed, prepackaged, nutritious food that people in need can take home since they are no longer able to eat meals at the shelters/food pantries.
As if this wasn't enough, one day as I passed through the school, and met with Drew Meyer who asked if I would like to cover MS study halls. It was as if I was being given a gigantic gift — not only would I be able to interact with all of the MS students, I would have countless opportunities to work with them on service projects. Being present in the school, I have had students come up to me with all kinds of suggestions for service activities — Halloween candy drives for the shelter children, winter clothing drives, reading aloud to LS students virtually and many more to come!
The challenge for me, and for all of us, is to look ahead with enthusiasm when life takes its turns and twists — I am so blessed to be at GFA working with such amazing people. I still get weepy when I pull into the parking lot — it's as if I am doing it for the first time. I can't imagine a time when being on campus wouldn't fill my heart with joy!