Project Outreach and Community Caring “POCC”
Project Outreach is unique to Tootin’ Hills. The Project maintains a charitable relationship with ImmaCare Shelter on Park Street in Hartford. ImmaCare is a long-standing institution that supports the homeless population in the Hartford area. POCC was created 30 years ago by Tootin’ Hills mom, Mary Hasmi, in conjunction with then-Principal Ron Perrault. A program goal is encouraging students practice Tootin’s character ideals: Respect, Responsibility, Caring and Integrity.
The entire Tootin’ student body participates with along with faculty, staff and parent volunteers. On Fridays from October-April, the school provides 200 PBJ sandwiches, along with food (nonperishables), clothing and toiletry donations to ImmaCare. The sandwiches are made by 4-6th grade students and parent volunteers. The other items are contributed on an ongoing basis by the school population and collected by children in grades K-3. Donated items are used to support not just the people that come into the shelter, but those who live in the woods, under bridges and by the tracks in the Hartford region. Fitzgerald’s Foods of Simsbury allows POCC to purchase sandwich-making ingredients at cost.
Once a week, teams of students and parents collect, organize, and pack these items in preparation for their transport to the shelter. At the same time, classrooms rotate the (enjoyable) task of making and bagging hundreds of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, assembly line style. The children prepare the area, make the sandwiches, and completely clean the area and utensils. Soon afterward, shelter personnel pick up these items and every item is ultimately used to improve the life of someone less fortunate. Special occasion and holiday projects add to our giving, as well.