Nancy Coughlin isn't a stranger to working to help those less fortunate.
And today Coughlin embarks on a new venture.
The Darien resident has been named executive director of Neighbor to Neighbor, the anti-poverty, social services agency at Christ Church Greenwich. Even though she officially assumes the helm Oct. 1, Coughlin hit the ground running last week. On Friday, she and several other staffers and volunteers from Neighbor to Neighbor attended the grand opening of Kings Food Market in Old Greenwich where food donation bins for the agency will be set up for two weeks.
Coughlin says, "This is a dream job. It will help me put my money where my mouth is—to make the world a better place than what you found it."
A former civil litigator in New York City, Coughlin and her husband moved to Darien 13 years ago, where they now raise their four children. Her involvement in volunteer work began in 2005 at the Darien YWCA where she joined the board of directors in 2008 and served as its interim executive director from 2010 to 2011.
Years ago she worked for a shelter for battered women in New Hampshire where there was a food pantry for clients. "It was direct, service-oriented for the clients with its own food pantry. I have also done a lot of poverty work and work with women and children."
Coughlin said she expects to spend the next few weeks, "getting my feet wet and meeting with the stake holders."
Coughlin said the "tremendous passion of the board and its volunteers" are impressive and part of her desire to lead the agency with its food pantry that serves 275 families a month, and helps distribute clothing and other necessities to families in the Greenwich and Port Chester region,
"Everybody is united with the same goals. There is a sense of community to collaborate and help," Coughlin said. "It's nice to know you can go to bed at night with a sense of accomplishment."
She plans to continue to grow community awareness of the need for food and clothing in the area through Neighbor to Neighbor's vast network of food drives in collaboration with local businesses. "I do love that food drives not only meet the needs, but spread the word too," Coughlin said. "It's empowering that you're doing something about it and you do feel that you are a part of the community when you do it."
Coughlin replaces Cathy Lynch who left in June when her family relocated out of the area. In the interim, Neighbor to Neighbor has been lead by Jody Breakell and Wendy Blumenthal, who operate the nonprofit management firm B&B Consulting of Greenwich.
"We are very lucky to have her," Blumenthal said.