A Mansfield resident has been recognized by State Rep. Gregoy Haddad as a community hero for creating a community fund at the beginning of April to help those who have difficulty affording groceries during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Louis Goffinet, a Lebanon middle school teacher, has raised over $8,000 after starting a community fund to help low-income and at-risk households afford groceries. He was nominated for the title of community hero by two residents of his community, Emmet Teran, Press Aide for the Connecticut House Democrats, said in a press release
“Louis is a middle school teacher and Mansfield resident who is contributing his time to assist low income and at-risk households with grocery shopping. Louis’ volunteering started with a few families but has since grown to serve more with the creation of a community fund, which has raised over $8,000,” Teran said in the press release. “All of the proceeds assist families facing difficult financial situations in the Mansfield area.”
Goffinet began by simply grocery shopping for elderly or immuno-compromised neighbors who were hesitant to grocery shop for themselves.
“After doing this for a few weeks, I was contacted by a family whose two parents had been furloughed due to the crisis, had serious medical concerns, and were reluctant to pay a delivery service to buy groceries for them,” Goffinet said. “I considered simply buying the family’s groceries and surprising them with free groceries, but instead set up a fundraiser in hopes of having the community support this family. In just two weeks, the fundraiser has completely taken off.”
Goffinet continues to increase the monetary goals of the fundraiser, as he continues to help more families in need.
“As the donations continue, I’ve been able to buy some families gas, offer gift cards to unsuspecting families shopping in the store, and buy even bigger quantities of groceries for families,” Goffinet said.
While he volunteers his time supporting local families in need, he continues to teach from home.
“As an eighth-grade science teacher at Lebanon Middle School, I continue to teach full time through all of this. I wake up, teach from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. online and then shift into ‘fundraiser mode,’” Goffinet said. “I’m currently shopping five days a week, at about five to seven hours a day. It’s certainly a significant time commitment, but it’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever been a part of.”
Goffinet was hesitant to accept the nomination of “community hero,” as he felt that his help in the community is just a “human response” to help others in need.
“I’m reluctant to accept the title of ‘community hero’ because I really feel that this is just the human response to seeing others in need,” Goffinet said. “What’s really exciting to me is to see local high schoolers see news of the fundraiser and volunteer to help in any way they can.”
For those who want to support his community fund, the best way to donate is to his Facebook Fundraiser: “Neighbors Grocery Relief.”
Amanda Kilyk is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.