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The Drive to 100. Help LCS get 100 food gift cards by December 20 for students in need at Torrington High School.

POSTED December 11, 2018
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

TORRINGTON: When I first saw the story of the Torrington High School Care Closet on an NBC Connecticut news program, the details of the needs of the students at THS stunned me.

I understood the need for clothing, coats mostly, at this time of the year and the idea of the closet was just another example of the big heartedness of the student body and their advisors at THS.

People helping people.

What floored me was the statistics that came with the report that talked about the number of young people in our community that were in the “endangered” category as it pertains to housing and food.

Claire Pepper, a social worker at the high school, spoke of how 1 in 8 students at the high school that has an enrollment of 850 were in need of some of the basics that most of us take for granted.

These students are staying with different friends or relatives on a given night or in a hotel, shelter or even on the streets, an unacceptable reality to me and I’m sure to so many in the Torrington community.

The Care Closet has been around for a few years, but this year Pepper took it over after being transferred to THS, a win for THS.

Her positive, upbeat nature is just what the doctor ordered at a school that is moving in the correct direction with consistent leadership from the top down, something that wasn’t the case for many a year.

In the Care Closet, students can stop in and grab whatever they need, no questions asked.

A coat, clothing or toiletries and most importantly, gift cards for food.

Most of these students don’t have a place to cook food so having pre-made meals is a must.

Enter Torrington and their generous citizens.

A drive is now underway to gather 100 gift cards to give to Pepper who will distribute them to students who need them.

As of this story being written at 8:47 on Tuesday, December 11, we have 43 gift cards, a great start.

After I read the story last Thursday night, I was on phone on Friday morning with my networking group, Northwest Business Referral with a request for $250 dollars to purchase 10, $25-dollar cards.

All dues that we pay at NBR go back to help the community, so it was a no-brainer for us.

Next, I wanted to get matching funds for the donation, so I called my good friend, Robbie Persechino to see if he could match the funds and within seconds, the answer was of course.

We purchased 10 of the $25-dollar certificates and Robbie gave up 10 to match.

People helping people.

My next call was to another good friend and champion of all things Torrington, Ed Arum who also didn’t hesitate for a moment, contributing $250 as well.

I’ll be working today to find a matching deli or restaurant.

My mother, Holley Gaffney, was visiting this weekend from New York and was touched by the situation as well and donated $25 dollars to keep the numbers growing.

My wife Deb got on the phone on Monday and received 2, $25-dollar donations from our friend and Vietnam veteran George Schuster.

That puts us at 43 gift cards in just four days, but we need to get to 100 by Thursday, December 20 so the cards can be distributed before the students leave for the Christmas break the following day.

One thing I know about this community. When there is a need, we come through, so I have no doubt we will hit our goal of 100 by next Thursday.

If you are interested in donating, please contact me at 860-480-5776 or by email at

No child should have to worry about where their next meal is going to come from.   


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