FARMINGTON — The Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministry presented their annual Salt and Light Award for 2015 to Richard T. Bjorn on Monday during its Martin Luther King Jr. Day service.

More than $17,000 for the Care and Share Food Closet was raised by community members after Bjorn offered to match donations up to $10,000 this fall, the Rev. Alexis Fuller-Wright of Old South First Congregational Church said while presenting the award.

The Farmington food closet serves about 700 people a month. Previously, he made a similar $5,000 match offer for the Wilton Food Pantry, which serves more than 300 people each month.

The community came to the plate donating $17,000 in Farmington and more than $7,000 in Wilton. That’s about $40,000, including Bjorn’s match, Lory Zamboni, from Kyes Insurance, said of her employer.

“Amazing things have been made possible by churches working together with caring individuals in our community to overcome food insecurity,” the Rev. Susan Crane said.

Letters, supplied by Bjorn, were mailed to households in Farmington this fall promising the match. Based on the song, “Share Your Goodwill,” sung Monday by Academy Hill student Caitlin Zamboni, the letter invited area residents to express their goodwill with donations to feed their neighbors.

The award was based on a special partnership with the wider community to raise significant dollars for local food closet, Fuller-Wright said.

“Thank you, Dick, for ‘walking in the light of creative altruism’ and encouraging the whole community to walk with you,” she said.

“Dr. King once said, ‘Every person must decide at some point, whether they will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness,'” Crane said.

“He went on to say, ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?'” she said.

The Farmington Area Ecumenical Ministry is comprised of churches in Farmington, Wilton and Industry. Their ministries include the Care and Share Food Closet, Franklin County Ecumenical Heating Fund, a housing assistance fund and the Farmington Warming Center.

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