In the last weeks of 2011, parishioners at in Gales Ferry managed to pool together $5,000, which will be donated to the social services department at 11 a.m. today.
Pastor Brian Converse said the amount of money raised for the Christmas-time appeal was double what it has been in the past.
“It’s good that we have the opportunity to help those who are less fortunate that we are,” he said. "It’s a wonderful experience to share within our community."
Converse said the church regularly contributes to Catholic Charities and the soup kitchen in Norwich and CareNet but this year the church decided to give the donations to Ledyard.
“We decided we’d do something with the Town of Ledyard because there’s a tremendous need within our own community,” he said.
Doris Fonner, the assistant to the director of social services, agreed.
“They’re amazing,” Fonner said while holding back tears. “I get emotional…if it weren’t for things like this, I don’t know how we could help people.”
The cash donations will be made in gift cards to local grocery stores and Fonner said the social services department will use them to buy perishable goods like milk, eggs and fresh vegetables.
“It will last us the better part of the year,” she said of the anticipated donation. “I depend on that generosity. People are so generous and without their help, we couldn’t run this department. We just couldn’t.
Fonner said in 2009 the social services department distributed approximately 35 holiday food baskets and that number increased to 110 in 2011.
“So the need is there,” she said.
Converse said the church’s congregation is about 4,000 people, most of whom are residents of Ledyard and Gales Ferry.