Connecticut auto body shop gives food to community

Dec. 26, 2012
Local business organizes food giveaway during holiday season to help those in need.

Tears, joy and the spirit of gratitude were sentiments of some Newhallville residents as ADT Automotive and Auto Body Shop kicked off its first holiday food pantry giveaway.

The shop is in the heart of the Newhallville community,  in Connecticut.

"This is a blessed day for the community and a blessed day for us, because we believe in giving back and doing what is good for our neighbors," said shop owner Jose Carrero. "We are in this community, our business is in this community and we believe in the value of the people in this community."

The Saturday food give-away started at noon and more than 280 bags of healthful food were distributed to families. Auto body shop staff said they purchased the food from the Whalley Avenue Stop & Shop because it is known as a community store.

"This is the first time I have experienced an auto body shop doing something like this for the community," said store assistant manager Gary Jones, who along with two other Stop & Shop employees volunteered to bag the items.

Stop & Shop donated 500 reusable bags and three volunteers a day before the event to help organize the items in the bags.

Metropolitan Business Academy student and Stop & Shop employee Jorgieliz Casanova said she knows what hard times are and had to come to support the effort.

"I like helping the community and understand the necessity of it because I've lived through being hungry," she said.

Tim Lawhorn, a Stop & Shop employee, said, "My boss Anne asked me to volunteer because she knows I need a 100 hours of community service to graduate from high school," said the student at Metropolitan Business Academy. "I already have my 100 hours of community service, I'm just doing this for the people."

"These are really good people to do this for the community with so many folks in need," said Laquando Cooke of New Haven. "I get my car fixed here and for them to do this ... is good,"

Al Sanders of New Haven said because of the food giveaway he will begin to bring his car to the shop.

"I think this is wonderful and God is good," Sanders said.

The shop specializes in collision repair, auto detailing, custom painting and mechanical needs, and is a licensed car dealership with a second location at 872 Dixwell Ave., Hamden.

Danny Padilla, a shop technician said, "We are feeding folks that need a little help in these times; things are tight for folks."

"When I read about this in the newspaper, I just had to come out to see it to believe it, an auto body shop," said Michael Johnson of New Haven. "My mother lives in this community and I wish my insurance company would have told me about these guys, I would have brought my car here when I had my wreck."

Shop staff said they will make this an annual event and hope to reach more families next year.

Arlene Putterman, manager of public and community relations for Stop & Shop, said she previously had not heard of an auto body shop reaching out to fight hunger.

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