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Bridgeport's Norden Club Donates $8,000 to Black Rock Food Pantry

Black Rock Food Pantry leaders Sheila Dunn and Bernie Lee accept a large donation from Norden Club President Ray Corby.
Black Rock Food Pantry leaders Sheila Dunn and Bernie Lee accept a large donation from Norden Club President Ray Corby. Photo Credit: Meredith Guinness

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — The Black Rock Food Pantry may be small, but organizers estimate it provides the ingredients for a staggering 100,000 meals for Bridgeport families in need each year.

And that figure is made possible, in large part, by a fundraiser that has become a heartwarming tradition at the neighborhood’s S.S. Norden Club.

This month, the 114-year-old social club presented the pantry’s leaders with a check for $8,000 from its annual Christmas ornament campaign organized by club President Ray Corby.

“To be very frank, this is a major help,” said pantry President Bernie Lee. “This has been a huge windfall for us.”

For the fourth year running, the club sold ornaments for several lit Christmas trees along its waterfront property on Seabright Avenue. Participants donate $5 for each ornament between Thanksgiving and Jan. 1.

Corby said he also received donations from local contractors and businesses who wished to support the pantry, which is about eight years old.

The fundraiser is one of many the club holds for charity.

“We always try to keep our efforts local,” Corby said. “They do good work and it’s all part of Black Rock.”

The club raised about $6,000 last year, and Corby said he hopes the figure will continue to grow each holiday season.

“Now this means we’ll have to make more for next year,” he said. “I’m hoping for $10,000.”

Lee said he is grateful for fundraisers like the one held by the Norden Club. The pantry spent about $15,000 in the first six months of this fiscal year to provide for its growing client base, he said.

“We’d be in dire straits without donations like this,” said Lee, who said the pantry also secures grants and other funding throughout the year.

Corby called on residents to visit the Black Rock Food Pantry’s website and consider making a donation.

“The need continues all year long,” he said.

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