Offering grants to organizations that improve the health, safety and well-being of Canton residents, for over 25 years.

Spotlight on Community Partners


Canton Food Bank

CCHF Board member Janot Bente with Bristol Farm Market co-owner Josh Bristol & Canton Food Bank Director Jennifer Herbek pick vegetables to be used as meals for Canton residents seeking assistance.

Canton Food Bank Client
“The Canton Food Bank has been fabulous to me. The volunteers and donations are overwhelming being that I love to cook. The fresh produce is opening new doors to me. Thank you again!”

Jennifer Herbek, Director, Canton Food Bank
“What I find admirable is that our client is dealing with the stress of food insecurity and somehow she’s turning this into a positive in her life. We talk regularly, at Canton Food Bank, about recipes and creative ways to use the donated food items in meal prep and planning. In just this one case, having the fresh fruit and produce options brings out our client’s creativity as a home chef, fuels her body with healthy, nutritious meals and lightens her spirit as she feels more inclined to host friends and share with others. The Canton Food Bank thanks Canton Community Health Fund for granting the funding to offer eggs and fresh, local fruit and produce to feed Canton families in need, through our ‘Fresh Initiative.”

Healing Meals Community Project

CCHF Vice Chair Deirdre Lloyd with Healing Meals Community Project volunteers Anna & Arin.

Healing Meals Community Project offers organic meals to families experiencing a health crisis in Canton & the Farmington Valley. Their unique programming also provides hands-on opportunities for youth to create these special meals, from harvest, to prep, to cooking, to packaging, to the writing of supportive notes to clients.

HMCP Client & Volunteer, Bonnie D
“I’m a Canton resident for 57 years & have volunteered with many Farmington Valley organizations. Healing Meals is a very different experience. Everyone at HM truly believes & understands their mission to help & support anyone who is ill & needs a special meal. This is so evident in the care each person puts into their part of the process. My family was on the other side of receiving when my husband was ill. It’s a pleasure to work side by side with such caring volunteers & staff.”

Founder & CEO, Sarah Leathers
“Since 2016, we’ve stayed true to our mission & provided more than 130,000 meals, made with love, to our greater community, including families in Canton like Bonnie’s. None of these meals could be made or delivered without the incredible support of our dedicated volunteers – including more than 25 youth from throughout Farmington Valley & beyond. We’re grateful to Canton Community Health Fund for their support & look forward to growing our partnership & nourishing Canton families while engaging the youth of Canton in our kitchen and gardens.”

Canton Police Department

Life Vests & Throw Ropes
Because seconds count during emergency situations, the Canton Police Department made an application to Canton Community Health Fund for Life Vests & Throw Ropes, equipment that is typically used during water rescues. Police Captain Andrew Schiffer recalled that in 2017 an Officer, in an effort to prevent a potential drowning, entered the swift water of the Farmington River prior to arrival of Fire & EMS personnel. At the time, few Police cruisers were equipped with either Life Vests or Throw Ropes. Because the Officer’s cruiser had neither, he responded to the emergency scene without this safety equipment.

Canton Police Captain Andrew Schiffer
“This year, with the help of CCHF, all Canton Police cruisers will be outfitted with Life Vests & Throw Ropes so that Officers will be better equipped to help in any water rescue.”

Stop the Bleed Kits 

Using a grant provided by Canton Community Health Fund, Canton Police Dept purchased Stop the Bleed Kits that will now be standard equipment on all cruisers. These ‘enhanced model’ Kits include a ‘Go Bag’ which carries: tourniquets, Quick Clot (as opposed to a bandage without the hemostatic agent), an emergency Survival Blanket, Responder Flat Dressing, Compact Chest Seal & other vital lifesaving tools that can be tossed to individuals who are unable to evaluate immediately due to an ongoing threat or injury and prior to EMS personnel being able to reach them.

The Department has committed to offering basic training, on how to use the Kit, to Town employees & other interested Community groups.

Captain Schiffer demonstrates proper tourniquet placement on CCHF Board member Allie Southworth Eck.

Gifts of Love

(l-r) CCHF Board member Sandi Trionfini with Gifts of Love volunteer Alessandra Walmsley and Volunteer & Outreach Manager Nancy Carlson.

School Backpack Program

Over the last 35 years, Gifts of Love has been committed to assisting working families in Canton, the Farmington Valley and in Greater Hartford, who are experiencing financial difficulties. Clients receive assistance with clothing, food, utilities, Holiday gifts and Back to School supplies.

Nancy Carlson, Volunteer and Outreach Manager 
“At Gifts of Love, it is our strong belief that all students should begin the school year with the necessary tools to be successful. In 2023, nearly 500 students, 50 from Canton, received brand new bags, lunch boxes, and supplies to start the new school year right!”

Gifts of Love Client 
“Words can’t express the joy I have in my heart for all of the much-needed help you provided for me and my family. Every need was met! Your loving, giving and kind ways make me speechless.”


Gifts of Love Development Director Kris Welch surrounded by backpacks awaiting supplies.


FAVARH participants  Kashay, Tammy and Cameron enjoy their new gliding bench provided with a grant from CCHF.

Gliding Bench

Sean McCarthy, Development Director
“FAVARH’s new gliding bench is a great example of how a small gesture of support can make a big difference in people’s lives. The rocking motion of the bench and the opportunity to be outdoors offer a peaceful and relaxing experience, allowing participants to unwind from their daily activities and connect with nature.”

CCHF Board Member Jim Gavin enjoys a laugh with FAVARH participant Cameron.

Town of Canton & EMS Department

Canton Fire & EMS Department Executive Officer, Gerry Holland
“CCHF’s support has paved the way for the Department to engage modern technology as we respond to threats to people’s safety, property loss and environmental risks. In effect, contributing to the health, safety & well-being of the Canton Community.”

Along with Health and Well-Being, Public Safety is a key component of CCHF’s Mission. In 2023, we provided partial funding for the purchase of a SIRAS drone for our Community Partner the Town of Canton Fire & EMS Department. Since going into service in July, the Department’s three FAA certified Part 107 drone pilots have spent a significant amount of time training on safe flight operations, flight protocols, privacy regulations, drone technical systems, fire ground communication and weather restrictions. “Real-life” training scenarios have focused on search and rescue on the river, major motor vehicle accidents, woodland and structure fires. As it documents firefighter movements, the drone will be an invaluable tool for after-incident debriefing to improve firefighter skills and performance.

Recognizing the benefits of seeing both heat-generated thermal images alongside visual imaging, the Department built an auxiliary support case that houses a 15″ remote monitor, power supply, spare batteries, charger and minor tool kit to service the drone in the field. The remote monitor allows incident command, mission support or other scene staff to see the same images as the pilot, without interfering with the flight controls.

CCHF’s investment in the drone has already paid off with its deployment to the scene of a rollover accident on Route 202/Route 179 involving a truck with trailer carrying a piece of heavy equipment. The drone offered Incident Command an expanded POV, which enhanced operational safety and efficiency. The drone has also been called on twice by Canton Police Department to assist in searching for multiple crime suspects who were on the run.

Canton Fire & EMS Department’s Executive Officer/Remote Pilot Gerry Holland, and CCHF Board member Sandy Trionfini reviewing fire crew’s skills revolutions and structure hot spots (in orange), on the remote monitor developed to enhance incident command, mission support or other scene staff to see the same images as the drone pilot without interfering with the flight controls.

Remote Pilot Leo Leboeuf operating the drone.

Canton Fire & EMS Department’s Drone 1 deployed 85 feet into the air over a Live Burn drill on November 20th. ‘Hot spots’ in building appear in orange.

Focus on Canton

And, as the need continues to grow, their compassion and resourcefulness grows with it.
Long-time CCHF Community Partner FOCUS ON CANTON continues to be one of our Town’s most important social safety nets. Working in close collaboration with Canton Social Services, their volunteers have nurtured and supported many of our neighbors, families and friends who find themselves in temporary need of assistance paying for anything from: their rent, car repairs, medication/medical supplies, utilities or other items that create a healthy and safe environment in which to live.


Canton Parks & Recreation

Two New Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), purchased by Canton Community Health Fund Community Partner Canton Parks & Recreation, were recently installed by Canton Department of Public Works. The AEDs are strategically placed at Bicentennial Park, at the DPW 50 Old River Road, & at Mills Pond Park, by the pool at 14 East Hill Rd.

 These life-saving tools not only enhance public safety, but also increase accessibility & emergency preparedness for both Canton’s First Responders & Good Samaritans.


SpiritHorse Therapeutic Riding Center of Canton

 “To the Best of Their Ability”

When asked what he likes best about his riding lessons at SpiritHorse Therapeutic Riding Center of Canton, 21-year-old Jason Levine replied, “it feels normal.”

In 2023, SpiritHorse provided Jason and 22 other Canton residents, ranging in age from 4 to 42 years old, across a wide spectrum of abilities and challenges, with its unique brand of equine assisted therapeutic programming that focuses on each student’s individual emotional and physical needs, abilities, and their potential for personal growth.

Jason’s mom Casey: “What it’s done for Jason is the pride he can’t get anywhere else.  When he first started riding with SpiritHorse, he wasn’t very conversational. Though SpiritHorse, he was provided with opportunities to communicate without necessarily having to speak. Ten years later his confidence and ability to communicate have grown to the point that he recently became a published author of poetry.”

SpiritHorse President/CEO Cheryl Cleaves: “This past year, CCHF’s Community Partner grant allowed the largest group of Canton residents to have lessons. For the 2nd year in a row, in the 11 years we’ve been serving the Canton community, we didn’t have a waiting list, and we had additional staff that accommodated new riders into the program.”

At SpiritHorse the focus is on the individual student, to the best of their ability, from the basics of grooming and saddling their horse before or after their 1-hour lesson, to leading, walking and riding their horse. SpiritHorse’s equine therapy includes programming that addresses speech, sensory, balance, behavior, cognitive processing and more, for individuals with autism, spectrum disorder, ADHD, depression, impaired vision, Cerebral Palsy, veterans and others with PTSD, Down’s Syndrome, to Traumatic Brain Injury and developmental delays.


The physical aspects of balance, posture and core strength, combined with working and communicating with a large, powerful animal builds confidence and maturity.


SpiritHorse encourages family participation from simply viewing their student’s progress, to training for more hands-on assistance with riding lessons. (l-r) SpiritHorse Therapeutic Riding Center of Canton President/CEO Cheryl Cleaves with Jason, Casey & Aaron Levine.


A series of Jason’s poems were included in an anthology titled: Spellbound. The Voices of the Silent, edited by Judy Hope Chinitz.


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