Westport town workers act as Secret Santas for the food shelf

Dawn St. Louis, Robin Crandall and Shelia Borden stand near the presents at the Westport Town Offices.

Dawn St. Louis, Robin Crandall and Shelia Borden stand near the presents at the Westport Town Offices. Photo by Katherine Clark.

— As holiday office parties ensue and “Secret Santas” work their magic, one group decided to put away the gifts and bring in food and essential items for the local food shelf.

The women of the town of Westport offices have decorated the Christmas tree in the entryway of the town offices and placed gifts underneath. The boxes contain several boxes filled with pasta, soups, non-perishable food items, paper products, Dove deodorant and much more Christmas cheer and day-to-day necessities.

For the past two years, they have given packages, and one year the items were strictly “job interview essentials”

“We just did Elizabethtown before because we felt they had a real need,” Town Clerk Sheila Borden said. “This year we felt that Westport had a stronger need and we had heard of some families that were in need here.”

The collection of gifts for the food shelf began three years ago.

“Through conversations, we all agreed it was a better thing to do, to give for the food shelf instead of gifts to each other,” Robin Crandall said.

Crandall said the gifts to the food shelfs beat out the small inconspicuous gifts which usually are exchanged between officemates every year. So instead of giving small, not-always-needed items, they decided to make a difference.

“We try to think outside the box a bit, and in the box,” Crandall said.

Borden said the gifts aren’t just food. One year the group collected items needed to prepare for a job interview.

Another year they concentrated their collections on paper products.

This year, the group is trying to focus on collecting non-perishable food products such as pasta, peanut butter, jelly, soups, and things that families in need would be more apt to use.

“In the spirit of Christmas, it feels better to give,” Norma Arsenault said.

Borden said the items are under the Christmas tree in the lobby, and if anyone is interested in dropping off a present to the food shelf, they may bring the items to her.

“The more the merrier,” Borden said.

For more information about the food shelf or to find out how to make a donation, call Nona Hoskins at the Westport Food Shelf at 962-4448.

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