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Finding her niche

Robin Brennan at the Salvation Army food hub in Ashford, Conn.

Robin Brennan couldn’t just sit on the sidelines when COVID-19 hit. She wanted to get involved. In the end, she found her niche as a volunteer with The Salvation Army.

“With the craziness that started since COVID, I just felt like I had to give back,” said Robin, who lives in West Hartford, Conn.

As a realtor, Robin had a flexible schedule that allowed her the time to volunteer. She saw the need of individuals and families struggling with food insecurity and wanted to find an organization that would be able to help them. She contacted the Connecticut Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (CT VOAD) and was paired up with The Salvation Army. It turned out to be a perfect fit.

Robin started at the Salvation Army’s hub in Ashford. She also brought her daughter Leanne along to join the experience. Together, they packed the emergency food boxes that would eventually make their way for distribution to various Salvation Army food pantries.

The following week, there was an opening for a volunteer at a Salvation Army location in Hartford, Conn. Brennan took that opportunity and has been there every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. She enjoys the camaraderie of working with the other volunteers to help their neighbors in need. Many families are coming in for the first time.

“It’s heartbreaking to see the families that come—a single parent with four children or a husband and wife with six kids. It’s just heartbreaking,” Robin said. “When we see that they have kids, we try to give them a little extra sweets or fruit if we have it and diapers for babies.”

“Robin has been essential to the food pantry operation at the Hartford Salvation Army,” said Katie Perrett, volunteer coordinator for The Salvation Army’s Southern New England Division.

“She helps run a smooth operation, helps to train new volunteers, enjoys greeting the recipients of the food boxes, and has such a joyful spirit. This experience has been fulfilling for Robin and has shown her the various other programs that The Salvation Army can provide to people in need.”

For example, Robin has taken interest in the Bloom Initiative Anti-Human Trafficking program and will begin preliminary training to volunteer there.

“She is a blessing” Perrett said. “The Salvation Army thanks Robin for her support and for her willingness to help her neighbors in need.”

by Laura Krueger

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