Employees of Capital One’s Stamford office joined Laurel House and the staff of Così in Stamford to deliver 70 box lunches to participants in Laurel House’s supportive programs for people living with mental health disorders.
Laurel House’s annual Memorial Day picnic is a favorite holiday event for clients. Many look forward to it weeks in advance. This year, planning began in early February when Capital One Relationship Manager Kathlene Makara contacted Laurel House to offer up the services of employees from their local office for a Volunteer Day. An initial plan was made for them to attend the picnic to help serve clients and celebrate the holiday.
The annual Memorial Day picnic is usually held outside at Laurel House on the Thursday before the holiday. This year’s date happened to fall one day after Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont began the lifting of restrictions for the coronavirus pandemic. Laurel House could not accommodate its many clients, plus servers, under the new coronavirus guidelines. A quick decision had to be made whether, for the first time ever, to cancel this year’s celebration.
With days to go before the event, Capital One came through with a donation to cover the major part of catering a meal for delivery to clients where they live. The Stamford Così restaurant and caterer at 1209 High Ridge Road agreed to provide twenty free box lunches, and a personal donation from one of the Capital One team topped off the amount needed to purchase a total of 70 lunches for local clients who live closest to our Resource Center.
On Thursday, May 21, Laurel House direct service staff and managers personally delivered the meals to clients in their homes. The positive response from clients was overwhelming. Many had not left their apartments since stay-at-home orders went into effect and were amazed that Laurel House staff came to them this year to deliver catered meals for the Memorial Day celebration.
Laurel House counselors had delivered activity books and masks to clients just two weeks earlier, so participants were pleasantly surprised to receive additional gifts so soon. Staff who made the deliveries said it was an equally gratifying experience for them. They heard many thank yous and bless yous, intended for them and Laurel House as much as for the teams at Capital One and Così.
A message on each of the boxes read…
“Capital One employees were planning to volunteer at Laurel House’s Memorial Day picnic, but unfortunately, the picnic had to be canceled this year. The volunteers still wanted to help, so Capital One and Così generously donated boxed lunches to 70 Laurel House program participants in honor of the Memorial Day holiday. Enjoy!”
Shortly after returning from her delivery run, Supported Education Counselor Jennifer Sagastume received a text message from one of her grateful clients. “Thank you, Jen and Laurel House! Your help is highly appreciated. Have a blessed day!”
Mary, a senior citizen who, due to her disabilities, is not able to visit Laurel House’s Resource Center even in the best of times, was deeply touched when Clinical Director of Social Rehabilitation Eileen McAndrew showed up at her door with the special lunch. She told Eileen, “Thank you for remembering me.”
Although Memorial Day is a special day we set aside to remember and honor those who served in the military, it is appropriate this year to also recognize and honor the frontline workers who wage a different kind of war. This Memorial Day, we remember everyone affected by the coronavirus pandemic – especially those who have toiled and sacrificed for the health and safety of us all.
Laurel House, Inc., the sponsor of www.rtor.org, thanks Capital One and Così for donating the boxed lunches in honor of the Memorial Day holiday. It also thanks its staff for making the deliveries to program participants in their homes this year.
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