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Make a Difference: Care & Share

Agency: Care & Share of East Lyme, founded in 1989 and staffed by volunteers, offers a year-round food pantry, financial assistance both short and long term, scholarships and camperships, holiday food baskets and gifts, filled backpacks for students, and a winter coat program for East Lyme and Salem residents.

Who: Brian, 53, and Mary, 35, and their three children ages 8, 6, and 2.

The situation: Brian has worked full time at the same company for 15 years, long hours outdoors, and still the family struggles to cover its expenses. Mary said, “Rents are high in this town. We could move, but my special-needs son is in a good program here. My daughter loves her school, and we have family in town. Child care is expensive, too, and I can’t make enough at a job to cover it.” They dream of having a place with a yard for the kids. “We’re very crowded here. It’s hard to see a different future when every month is a struggle, deciding which bills to pay. My health issues are stressful, too," Mary said. "We can’t seem to get ahead."

What to give: Grocery store gift cards, Walmart and Target gift cards, generic gift cards, checks made out to Care & Share. The children like Pokémon, Baby Shark and fidgets. 

To donate: Checks made out to Care & Share, gift cards, and grocery cards may be mailed to Care & Share of East Lyme, attention Pat Payne, president, P.O. Box 114, East Lyme, CT, 06333. Gifts may be brought to the pantry on Roxbury Road, Niantic or call (860) 739-8502.

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