Local Coffee Shop Raises Money for Those in Need

Katie Suddy , Staff Writer

NFA’s clay class made mugs of all shapes and sizes to be sold at the Empty Mugs event. A spin-off of the Empty Bowls event, mugs were sold at Craftsman Cliff Roaster’s in Norwich, with any beverage of choice, and the money raised went to NFA’s very own food pantry.

Owner of Craftsman Cliff Roasters, Matt Dutrumble, said, “I’ve always been moved by  the Empty Bowls, and if we can extend the Empty Bowls movement to Empty Mugs with our participation here, then I think we can just keep building the program. It’s fantastic!”

According to Connecticut Food Bank’s website, ctfoodbank.org, “Nearly half a million Connecticut residents struggle with hunger, more than 127,000 children are food insecure.” And NFA is trying to lower those numbers, “one student at a time.”

The event raised over $600. 

Shirley Kutia, NFA’s food pantry coordinator said, “It was such a success! All of the money goes towards food for the food pantry. [The food pantry] allows kids on campus to bring food bags home every weekend. We try to put in the bag balanced meals which the kids get for the weekend.”

NFA’s Director of Student Affairs, John Iovino, thinks that empty mugs has more benefits than meets the eye.

“It makes our students know that all students are important to us, and that we care about all students. We have students with a lot of needs. One of the greatest things about our school is the diversity we have, and I don’t mean diversity, ethnicity, religion, but social economic diversity. We have students.that don’t want for anything, and we have students who need so much, so our students need to know that they are important to us. No matter who you are or where you come from, were going to be a part of your life and help you while you are a student,” explained Iovino.

2011 NFA graduate, Nicole Bellise said, “I think it benefits the community by us purchasing the mugs. It’s going to help people in need… I hope the event happens in the future.”

Kutia added, “Knowing that the kids are going home for the weekend with food [is a great thing]. Here on campus, we feed them all day long. They get breakfast, lunch, snacks, now we’re even doing dinners. So, during the week, everyone’s getting fed. On weekends, not so much. So just knowing that the kids are getting food, balanced meals, that makes us, as a food pantry, successful.”