September 24, 2002 - The Publicscript: Ecuador RPCV Kathy Stamski is co-director of Fish and Loaves

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Ecuador RPCV Kathy Stamski is co-director of Fish and Loaves

Read and comment on this story from the Public Spirit on Ecuador RPCV Kathy Stamski , co-director of Fish and Loaves, an organization that serves people of Ayer, Devens, Groton, Harvard, Littleton and Shirley by providing food, emergency shelter, resource referral and other temporary services at:

Loaves & Fishes adds leaders as need rises*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Loaves & Fishes adds leaders as need rises

By C. David Gordon

DEVENS -- As if in answer to growing needs in the communities it serves, Loaves & Fishes has attracted additional leaders and still looks for more volunteers, food and cash donations.

From its location at 43 Buena Vista Street, Devens, Loaves & Fishes serves "people of Ayer, Devens, Groton, Harvard, Littleton and Shirley by providing food, emergency shelter, resource referral and other temporary services." An economy continuing to sputter has brought additional people to L&F for assistance with the basics of food, clothing and in some cases shelter. While L&F had been assisting 25 to 30 families on any given Wednesday when clients come to the Devens location, that number jumped in August to 50.

The organization depends on donations of food and money in order to be able to assist those in need, and the state of the economy affects donations. Add to that the fact that summer and early fall have traditionally been a time when people do not think of giving as they do at Thanksgiving and Christmas and one understands the exceptional difficulty L&F has in meeting the needs of a growing group of clients.

Needed are nonperishable foodstuffs, especially jellies and jams; cereal; baked beans; coffee; white sugar; canned chowders, stews and beef soups; hash; canned corn or peas; spaghetti and pasta sauce; canned pineapple slices and apple sauce; ketchup, yellow mustard and mayonnaise; saltines; and canned meats (ham, Spam, chicken, etc.). Also needed are non-food basics such as shampoo, toilet paper, feminine products. Helpful too would be donations of seasonal clothing and new toys, and cash.

Beginning Sept. 3 Loaves & Fishes started opening its doors for clients one evening a month, on the first Tuesday. This is in addition to its regular opening times of each Wednesday and Friday of the month from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and the first and third Saturdays of the month from 9 to 11 a.m.

Loaves & Fishes continues strong under the direction of new co-directors Kathy Stamski and Pamela Jay ("P.J.") Stewart-Martin. In addition, three new members of the Board of Directors have been named.

Stamski, a Harvard resident who moved to this area from Acton five years ago, started as co-director in June. A Pelham, N.Y., native, she became a nurse associated with women's health care after receiving her Registered Nurse degree at Middlesex Community College. In 1970 she earned a Bachelor's degree in psychology at Tufts University. For a decade more recently she had been an independent real estate appraiser. From Feb. 2000 to March 2002 she and her husband Bruce served in the Peace Corps in Ecuador. The couple has two grown children.

Stewart-Martin, a Pepperell resident, started as coordinator of volunteers at Loaves & Fishes in January before recently becoming the organization's co-director. She grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, and earned a Bachelor's degree with a major in cognitive science at Wellesley College in 1987. Following work especially in the areas of human resources and finances with a number of different nonprofit organizations, she worked training newly hired individuals at a for-profit high-tech company. Stewart-Martin has two young children.

New members of the organization's Board of Directors are Joan Pena of MediaPower Inc., on Devens; Marie Allen of the Ayer business Stemson's; and Attorney Christopher Lilly, with the Ayer law firm of Bowmar Larkin Lilly & Barton.

These three join Trustee Emeritus Rev. Phil Goff of Ayer and nine others continuing on the Board. Frank Harmon of Ayer is the Board's president, Lisa Martel of Shirley is vice president, Betsy Bohling of Littleton treasurer, and Bob Hewson and Dick Packard, both of Littleton, round out the five-member Executive Board. Others on the Board of Directors are Kris Churchill and Louis DiMola of Groton, Sharon Flatgard of Harvard and Paul Martel of Shirley.

Fundraising and food collecting events are ongoing. The Good Friday Walk yielded over $11,000 and the first L&F Golf Tournament brought in $2,500. Money also came from an evening cruise on North Shore waters. With special concern for back-to-school needs, Groton's Union Congregational Church donated a "shopping cart load" of new backpacks and school supplies.

Individual donations may be brought to Loaves & Fishes at Devens during open hours or to North Middlesex Savings Bank in Ayer, Fidelity Bank in Shirley, A.M. Transportation on Main Street in Groton, the Harvard Congregational Church or Harvard Post Office.

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