Feeding the Hungry Along the Shoreline

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get helpThe Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries is an interfaith service that provides food and fellowship to those in need and educates our community on hunger and poverty.

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If you are having difficulty making ends meet, we are here for you.  You are welcome to join us for food and fellowship at our daily meal sites, and weekly at a pantry.  
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Our mission is made possible because of the generous support of our community.  You can make a difference: volunteer, hold a food drive, or make a financial contribution.  
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SSKP is excited to announce the launch of this year’s Gowrie Challenge through Risk Strategies, a leading national specialty insurance and risk management firm. The Gowrie Challenge - now in its 20th year - will run from November 1st to December 31st, 2023 with a goal to raise $300,000 for SSKP in response to rising needs along the Connecticut shoreline. “For 20 years the Gowrie Challenge has connected businesses and individuals to ensure our neighbors have access to food,” said Amy Hollis, SSKP Executive Director. “My heart is filled with gratitude as we join together in sharing food and fellowship. Thank you!”

Gowrie Group – Risk Strategies is donating $30,000 in matching funds and Carter Gowrie, the retired founder of Gowrie Group, is once again personally donating an additional $30,000 in matching dollars. Our generous Partner Sponsors – BrandTech Scientific, Essex Financial, Essex Savings Bank, L. C. Doane Company, Lenny & Joe's Fish Tale, Sound Rigging, and Tower Labs – have pledged an additional $90,000 in matching funds. This brings us to an incredible $150,000 available in matching funds. Please donate to the Gowrie Challenge generously so we can feed our shoreline community. Go to https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/SSKP  and choose “Gowrie Challenge” – thank you!

For the 11th year, Connecticut shoreline fire departments will partner with SSKP to host a one-day food drive on Saturday, April 15th, 2023 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. collecting non-perishable food for shoreline residents in need at participating fire stations as well as several grocery stores and businesses along the shoreline.

This year SSKP is especially grateful for such a community-wide effort because the number of those visiting their food pantries this year is currently 26% higher than in pre-pandemic times. Last year SSKP distributed 1.7 million pounds of food – more than ever before in their 34-year history. Every item of food donated will make a real difference to local families who are struggling with food insecurity.

Fire departments already committed include Old Saybrook, Essex, Westbrook, Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Old Lyme Fire Station at 69 Lyme Street, Old Lyme and North Madison. Watch for announcements as other fire departments join in this special food drive.

Teams will be collecting donations at their firehouses as well as local grocery stores including Robert’s Food Center in North Madison; Stop & Shop in Old Saybrook and Clinton; Big Y in Old Saybrook and Clinton; ShopRite in Clinton; and Walmart in Old Saybrook. In addition, after March 25th, donations can be brought to, Mirsina’s Restaurant in Old Saybrook, the Parthenon Diner in Old Saybrook, Sal's Pizza & Pasta in Old Saybrook, the Little Pub in Old Saybrook and Scotch Plains Tavern in Essex will be accepting non-perishable food donations, along with the Essex Savings Bank and Staples in Old Saybrook. Please note that these additional locations are accepting non-perishable food donations during their regular business hours through Saturday, April 15th.

This large annual food drive will help to restock the pantries and ensure that everyone in our local communities will have a place at the table. Please join the effort by donating food or by holding a food drive in your neighborhood, workplace, or club, and then bringing the food donations to one of the participating shoreline firehouses. Please note that these participating fire departments can only accept food during the food drive on Saturday, April 15th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please do not drop off food at these firehouses before that date.

The most needed food items are canned soup; canned fruit/vegetables, boxed meals, (such as mac and cheese), meals-in-a-can, cereal/oatmeal, canned tuna/chicken, pasta and sauce, white rice, and beans.

In addition, donations can be made by check. Please make the check payable to SSKP (with “FD Drive” in the memo field) and drop off the check on Saturday, April 15th, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at one of the participating fire stations.

This year's food drive will feature local TV and radio personalities, including Gil Simmons, Chief Meteorologist for NEWS 8 WTNH, and talk-show host Lee Elci, the morning personality on his popular Lee Elci Show on 94.9 FM News Now-Stimulating Talk. Both Simmons and Elci will be joining firefighters and volunteers on Saturday morning collecting food items at the Old Saybrook Fire Department Headquarters at 310 Main Street in Old Saybrook.

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries and participating shoreline fire departments also want to extend their special thanks to this year’s Food Drive Media Sponsors including Shore Publishing/Harbor News; 94.9 FM News Now-Stimulating Talk; Soft Rock WBMW 106.5; and Jammin' 107.7 FM, which will host a live broadcast from the OSFD Headquarters during the April 15th food drive.
SSKP has received a generous $5,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Middlesex County (CFMC) through the River View Cemetery Fund, the Ivoryton Congregational Church Human Services Fund, and the St. Luke’s Home Fund. This funding will purchase fresh and non-perishable food to be shared with those in need on the shoreline through our food pantries in Clinton, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook.

"SSKP is so grateful for this generous support through the Community Foundation of Middlesex County. This donation helps assure that all our neighbors will have access to the food their family needs," said Amy Hollis, Executive Director of SSKP.

The Community Foundation of Middlesex County is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Middlesex County, and to help Good People Do Great Things. The mission of the Community Foundation of Middlesex County is to improve the quality of life for the people of Middlesex County now and in the future by developing endowments, making grants that have impact, and assisting donors in meeting their philanthropic objectives. Their interests are your interests, including animal welfare, arts and culture, health and social services, education, history, the environment, civic improvements, recreation, and economic security and opportunity. They welcome conversations with good people who want to do great things. For more information, contact CFMC at 860.347.0025 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The 2022 Gowrie Group Challenge was a record-breaking success! Together, through the generous support of nearly 500 individuals, companies, and our Partner Sponsors, we raised $300,000 to benefit the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries (SSKP) and serve our neighbors in need!

Gowrie Group, now a part of Risk Strategies, a leading national specialty insurance and risk management firm, began this annual Challenge in 2004 to benefit the SSKP. Over the 19-year history of the Gowrie Challenge, we have raised over $2,600,000 for the SSKP, which equates to providing nearly 11 million meals to people in need in our community. The 2022 Gowrie Challenge which raised $300,000, shattered our $200,000 goal, and our previous challenge record of $290,390 which was achieved in 2020.

Amy Hollis, SSKP Executive Director said, "Inspired and grateful is how I feel when I try to process the generosity from Carter Gowrie, Gowrie Group, Risk Strategies, Partner Sponsors, and community. Each act of kindness and support is transformative in ensuring access to food for our neighbors in need. Thank you!"

Hunger exists on the Connecticut Shoreline and the long lasting COVID-19 pandemic continues to drive the need for food services to unprecedented levels. The rising cost of groceries along with the increased cost of many basic services, is resulting in more of our neighbors experiencing or being at risk of food insecurity. In 2022, the SSKP shared over 1.7 million pounds of food, 26% more than pre-pandemic years.

Carter Gowrie, Gowrie Group Founder, shared, “I am very excited to announce that the Gowrie Challenge raised $300,000 for the SSKP. A special thank you to all that donated, our Partner Sponsors, and media sponsors. The SSKP continues to work tirelessly to fight hunger along the shoreline despite rising costs of groceries.”

To meet this significant increase in need for food services, the Gowrie Challenge once again doubled their support with a matching gift of $60,000, of which $30,000 was a personal pledge from Carter Gowrie. Six local companies stepped forward as Partner Sponsors: LC Doane, Tower Labs, Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale, Sound Rigging, BrandTech Scientific, and Essex Financial. The Partner Sponsors all increased their donations over past years. Together, Gowrie and the Partner Sponsors donated over $100,000 in matching funds to double the impact of all other donations, dollar-for-dollar, to help our neighbors. The Gowrie Challenge was fortunate to also receive significant donations from the Clinton Rotary Club, Essex Rotary Club, CHUBB, Essex Community Fund, George Schmitt & Company, Liberty Bank Foundation, Lee Company, Essex Garden Club and Risk Strategies Foundation.

Stephen Brinkmann, BrandTech Scientific President & CEO, shared, “Congratulations to the entire team who helped the 2022 Gowrie SSKP Challenge again exceed its goals! BrandTech Scientific is so proud to be part of this effort year after year. We have a formula where our employees contributions are internally matched, and then our company matches those combined dollars. In this way each dollar contributed by our team members become four to benefit SSKP. Our team is so thrilled to support this vital resource for our community.”

Gowrie Group's parent company, Risk Strategies, also believes strongly in the need to give back and support local communities. The Risk Strategies Foundation generously donated to the 2022 Gowrie SSKP Challenge. We would also like to thank those who spread the word about this effort. Morning radio personality, Bob Muscatel of WLIS/WMRD, updated the community throughout the Challenge from his radio station. Shore Publishing provided a series of print advertisements in local papers across the shoreline.

Pictured (left to right): Claire Bellerjeau (SSKP Director of Development), Laura Maxson (Gowrie – Risk Strategies Sr. Marketing Coordinator), Amy Hollis (SSKP Executive Director), Stephen Brinkmann (BrandTech President), Whitney Peterson (Gowrie – Risk Strategies Director of Marketing) and Carter Gowrie (Gowrie Group Founder).

On November 1st, to kick off the Gowrie Challenge to benefit SSKP, Gowrie Group, a division of Risk Strategies, made a $60,000 donation to the SSKP. The goal of the 2022 Gowrie Challenge is to raise $200,000 before the end of the 2022 year. To help reach this important goal, Gowrie Group is challenging local businesses, members of the community, and shoreline friends to come together to help support the SSKP and our neighbors.

Giving to the Gowrie Challenge means your donation will be doubled to help our shoreline neighbors in need. Gowrie Group’s donation of $60,000 includes $30,000 which is a personal pledge from Carter Gowrie. Six local companies have again stepped forward as Partner Sponsors: LC Doane Company, Tower Labs, Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale, Sound Rigging, BrandTech Scientific, and Essex Financial. The Partner Sponsors provide an additional $40,000 in matching funds, bringing the total available matching funds to an impressive $100,000 in donations which will be doubled dollar-for-dollar to help our neighbors.

Since the Gowrie Challenge began in 2004, Gowrie’s efforts have raised over $2.4 million to benefit SSKP. Carter Gowrie, Gowrie Group’s Founder, shared, “Food insecurity continues to rise on the Connecticut shoreline. The SSKP continues to need our support which is why we are once again giving a $60,000 donation to launch this year’s challenge. Together, I know we can reach our goal of $200,000 and support the SSKP’s mission of feeding those in need along the shoreline.”

Hunger exists on the Connecticut Shoreline, and the long lasting COVID-19 pandemic has driven the need for food services to unprecedented levels. The rising cost of groceries along with the increased cost of many basic services, is resulting in more of our neighbors experiencing or being at risk of food insecurity. The increase in demand for food services along with the rising cost of groceries has greatly impacted the SSKP’s ability to purchase the necessary food to feed our neighbors in need. As of the end of October, the SSKP had served over 1.3 million pounds of food, which equates to over one million meals. The need to provide food services is acute and critical, and the Shoreline Soup Kitchen & Pantries needs the financial support of the community to meet the continued demand.

Amy Hollis, Executive Director of the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries said, “We are grateful to every member of the Gowrie community for their amazing support; first during the pandemic, and now as rising food prices create a new challenge, both for us and for those we serve. Everyone at Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries is truly thankful for the generous support of the Gowrie Challenge.”

Gowrie Group’s parent company, Risk Strategies, also believes strongly in the need to give back and support local communities. The Risk Strategies Foundation, which also supports the Gowrie Challenge, encourages all Risk Strategies’ employees to actively participate in charitable activities to support the communities in which they live and work.


Donations can be made online at: donatenow.networkforgood.org/SSKP (select “Gowrie Challenge” as the designation)

Donations can be mailed to: The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, Attn: Gowrie Challenge, PO Box 804, Essex, CT 06426 (note “Gowrie Challenge” on the check).

Join Us

Grocery Distribution
St. John’s Episcopal Church-Niantic
400 Main Street, Niantic
Jun 13th, 2:30pm-4:30pm
Meal Site
Deep River Congregational Church
1 Church Street, Deep River
Jun 13th, 5:00pm-6:00pm
Meal Site
Trinity Lutheran Church 
109 Main Street, Centerbrook
Jun 14th, 12:00pm-1:00pm
Meal Site
Westbrook Congregational Church
1166 Boston Post Road, Westbrook
Jun 14th, 6:00pm-7:00pm

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Program Listing We provide meals from 8 meal sites and distribute groceries from 5 food pantries.
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