Willimantic, CT: The season of giving lasts well beyond the holidays at Access Community Action Agency.  And “giving” takes a non-traditional path as demonstrated by the partnerships between Zahners, The Tolland County Chamber of Commerce(TCCC), Access, and American Friends of Kenya (AFK). 

“Every year we are the generous recipient of cold weather wear from Zahners Clothier in Vernon and other members of the TCCC.  This year’s donation included sweater vests in bright colors that reminded me of school uniforms. After our local community partners had taken what they felt they could distribute, we had about ten boxes left that needed a home.  I am aware of AFK because we have a local champion in Joanne Todd, CEO of the Northeast Family Credit Union”, said Kathleen Krider, Sr. Director of Community Engagement at Access.  Joanne was able to offer the vests to her contacts in Kenya and they could not have been more excited to receive them.  

American Friends of Kenya network leader Elphas Ongongo sent this heartfelt response to the offer, May I say that this is God-send?  We have eight secondary schools in our network.  Four schools use blue sweaters/jumpers while two use red ones and they will be so grateful to have them.  The cold season is around the corner and most students, especially in day schools, really struggle as they have to leave their homes very early in the morning, some without anything warm to put on due to poverty”

Access’s mission is to build equitable access to opportunities that empower under-resourced individuals, families and communities to achieve and sustain economic stability. This year, that opportunity came in the form of a joint effort between many committed community partners.  Elphas said it best, This is the most moving thing that I cannot explain here well. I thank God for having made me meet friends like you, especially when I see what I am able to do through you to support the community”.

About American Friends of Kenya (AFK)

AFK began as an informal effort to support a Kenyan couple living in Connecticut who wanted to help build school and community libraries in Kenya that resulted as a non-profit 501c3 public charity in 2005.  AFK sends regular shipments of books, library materials, school supplies, and medical supplies to schools, libraries, hospitals, and clinics in Kenya and it is a 100% volunteer organization. Visit http://afkinc.org/ to help the effort.

About Access

Access Community Action Agency is designated by the federal and state government as the anti-poverty agency in northeast Connecticut.  Access provides food, affordable housing, job readiness services, and other pathways to economic self-reliance for vulnerable limited-income families and individuals throughout the region.