South Windsor 12-year-old leads new effort to provide food to the needy during pandemic – Hartford Courant

When he was just 9 years old, Tiernan Cabot of South Windsor was with his family on a service project to help homeless people in Hartford.

Tiernan had a conversation with a man who talked of his life and mistakes he had made along the way. Tiernan was inspired by what the man had to say and wanted to do something to help people experiencing homelessness.

With help from his parents, Renu and Mark Cabot, and the community, he started “Hartford Bags of Love,” which provides socks and personal hygiene items, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap and deodorant, to homeless people. Tiernan works with Hartford Police Officer Jim Barrett, who has made it his business to help Hartford’s homeless.

More than 3,000 bags have been distributed since the program began.

Now Tiernan is working with his parents and the community on a new project: placing small food pantries around Greater Hartford. The “free little pantries” are not a new idea, but Tiernan said he learned of it and thought it would be a good way to help families experiencing food insecurity during the coronavrius pandemic.

“Ever since the pandemic began, there are a lot of people struggling with food insecurity,” Tiernan said.

So Tiernan and his family put together some pantries, and so far six have been placed around South Windsor. Geissler’s Supermarkets provided the initial stocking of food.

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Just like the little libraries that have popped on people’s front yards around the region, people can visit a little pantry and take something if they need it, or place something in it for someone else if they have extra.

People who have the little pantries on their property are asked to take responsibility for keeping the pantries stocked.

Since Tiernan and his family launched the project a few months ago, people and organizations, such as scout troops, have stepped forward to help build the pantries and place them. Kiernan and his dad have put together several posts and concrete bases inside orange five-gallon buckets they bought at a local home center. The buckets remain on the concrete in case the pantry has to be dug up and moved, Tiernan said.

Tiernan supplies plans and materials to build the pantries. Donations to help the effort can be made through a gofundme link on the organization’s web page,

Tiernan, who will be an eighth-grader this year at South Windsor’s Timothy Edwards Middle School, said helping the homeless and others in need will always be a part of his life. He said he hopes for a career in musical theater. He performs in musicals in schools and has seen shows on Broadway and at The Bushnell.

Mark Cabot said there are 15 requests from people in eight towns for pantries, and as soon as there is money to buy the materials the group will be able to move forward.

David Owens can be reached at [email protected].

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