The holidays are finally here. The smell of delicious food, along with the sound of laughter from friends and family are what it’s all about. But for some, on Thanksgiving or any day—it can be a challenge to find a warm meal. That’s where Eversource volunteers and the United Way come in.
Eversource volunteers participate in dozens of events across the state every year. In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, they helped with three events which all supported the United Way’s mission to give back to the community: the annual Thanksgiving dinner at Community Baptist Church in Norwalk; a turkey giveaway at Greater Waterbury Interfaith Ministries soup kitchen; and a healthy snack-pack drive for children in need at Eversource’s Waterford work center.
Annual Thanksgiving dinner in Norwalk
Dressed in blue shirts, Eversource volunteers carved turkeys, sliced hams, and warmed up all the fixings for Keystone House’s annual Thanksgiving dinner at Community Baptist Church in Norwalk. Trays and trays of food filled the ovens and pies were ready for dessert. The event starts at noon every year, but Keystone’s clients always shuffle into the church hall around 10:30 a.m. to get a spot at the table. Close to 100 people come for a warm meal each year.
“This is by far our most attended event all year. They’ve been talking about it for weeks,” said Development Officer for Keystone House Kim Carter. “We wouldn’t have been able to do this without Eversource’s help.”
Keystone House provides services, such as transitional housing programs, to people with disabilities. Eversource is proud to have contributed to Keystone’s annual dinner, and to have prepared and served the meal for those in need.
Thanksgiving meals in Waterbury
Two days before Thanksgiving, hundreds of people stood in line at the Greater Waterbury Interfaith Ministries to take home a turkey and the holiday meal essentials. This event helped put a Thanksgiving meal on the table for close to 900 people. Some taking home a turkey, or side dishes or both.
“It’s so inspiring watching everyone work together,” said Executive Director of Greater Waterbury Interfaith Ministries Barbara Ann Dublin. “It’s a special thing when everyone can receive turkeys and the fixings for their families. It means everything to me to know families will have a table full of food for the holiday.”
With such a large operation, Eversource volunteers worked with volunteers from other companies make sure everyone at the soup kitchen got what they needed. Eversource employees also prepared hundreds of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so people not only had their Thanksgiving essentials, but lunch for the day too.
“The impact this event has on the community is huge,” said Jeffrey Bruneau, a board member with Greater Waterbury Interfaith Ministries. “It’s really a privilege to be here and to have so many hands giving back.”
Healthy snack packs in Waterford
Protein bars, popcorn, pretzels, fruit gummies, graham crackers, and more made it into large Ziploc bags with the help from Eversource volunteers. They spent a day in November putting together more than 600 snack packs for children in support of the United Way’s campaign to help others.
“It’s very hard to work and learn when you’re hungry,” said Laura Stamatien, the community engagement specialist with United Way of Southeastern Connecticut. “The snack packs are super healthy snacks that will help kids during the day. Eversource took on this project by buying all the snacks and filling the packs. They are supporting these kids and their families, and we love that Eversource wanted to do this.”
In addition to healthy snacks, each package also came with hand-drawn cards made by employees—cards with messages of encouragement, hope, positivity, and even a few jokes. Eversource employee Steven Tomczik drew an apple on a card with a joke on it that said, “so what do you call an apple that plays the trumpet? A tooty fruity.”
Four school districts, Waterford, Ledyard, Montville, and Voluntown, received the donations that surely put smiles on the children’s faces.
‘Tis the season to serve the neighborhoods where we work and live, and Eversource is proud to give back to local communities not only during the holidays, but year-round!