COVID-19 Roundup: Westport Marketplace; Farmers’ Market; Near & Far Aid; More

Three of Westport’s biggest business boosters — the Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Merchants Association and Our Town Crier — have joined with town officials, to launch a virtual “Westport Marketplace.”

The goal is to provide information about — and links to — all local businesses (retail, restaurants, professional services and more). It’s free, and a great way to promote Westport businesses at a time when they most need it.

Westport Marketplace needs 10 to 15 teenagers for unpaid internships. They’ll communicate with business owners and managers regularly to update information like hours and availability, services provided, contact info, images and links, etc., and upload it into the database. 

Interested students — who can start as soon as possible – should email

For over 65 years, Near & Far Aid has been helping area residents and organizations in need. Their all-volunteer work is astonishing: The most recent cycle ended this week, with nearly $1.1 million granted to over 100 nonprofits.

But that’s not all. Just 3 weeks ago, Near & Far Aid established a Covid-19 Emergency Relief Fund. It provides immediate assistance to agencies on the front lines addressing food insecurity, shelter, and mental and physical health.

Already, they have distributed $118,000 in emergency funding to 30 groups (including Westport Department of Human Services and Homes With Hope).

Board members meet weekly. They recognize the fluidity of the crisis and the changing needs of nonprofits, so Near & Far Aids reacts with speed and generosity

Of course, they need assistance too. Click here for more information on the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund; click here to donate.

Right now, the Westport Farmers’ Market should be gearing up for its annual mid-May opening.

It will be a while though before the cherished Thursday event returns to Imperial Avenue.

But — at a time when farmers are struggling, and home-bound cooks are looking to make healthy meals — the Market thrives across the river.

Since April 2, Gilbertie’s Herbs and Garden Center — where the Farmers’ Market had just closed after another great winter season — is the site for the social distance version.

Vendors stay at least 10 feet from each other, and wear (of course!) masks and gloves.

Shoppers click on the website, select a Thursday time slot between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., then shop online (Sunday 10 a.m. to Tuesday 4 p.m. only).

Pickup stations are 10 to 2 feet apart. Shoppers wait until their name is called. All items are prepackaged by vendors, and delivered to a central table. A delivery option is available for shoppers who don’t want to, or can’t, leave home.

It’s a clear, common-sense — and well-run — system.

“We have a responsibility to our farmers, food producers and communities to make the healthiest and safest local food available, using a model that will survive should a second wave hit when state restrictions are lifted,” says Farmers’ Market director Lori Cochran Dougall.

“We’d rather be safe now than sorry later.”

Some updates on yesterday’s story about Staples High School’s “We the People” team’s Northeast Regional championship.

Final results show advisor Suzanne Kammerman’s team placed 5th overall — just 2 spots away from a national prize.

And 2 of the school’s 6 units finished 2nd in the entire country. Our constitutional future is bright indeed.

In addition, there was a Westport national champion — well, sorta. Alice Wanamaker –daughter of 1986 Staples grad Lynne Marie Wanamaker was a junior on the Easthampton, Massachusetts team that placed 1st overall. Congrats to the proud family, including Westport grandmother Barbara Wanamaker.

Westporter Joseph Sequenzia writes that his branding company milk* and a partner agency, Real Pie, have teamed on a social awareness campaign. Called #keepittogetherct, the goal is to help people feel more connected, despite being disconnected physically.

They ask residents, teachers, small business owners, front line healthcare workers, pharmacy and grocery store employees, delivery drivers — anyone in the state — to submit photos and videos of what they’re doing to, well, keep it together.

Using the hashtag #keepittogetherct on an image or video on social media will give you a chance to be featured on News 12, and become a part of the Keep it Together CT campaign. For more information, click here.

Terri Henderson spent 20 years in Westport. She’s now in Houston, but retains a deep affection for our town. Saddened by how deeply Fairfield County has been affected by the coronavirus, she shares a website she created.

It’s filled with resources in 8 wellness areas: physical, financial, mental, social, environmental, intellectual, occupational and spiritual. Click here to see.

Teresa Henderson

And finally … just look over your shoulder!

2 responses to “COVID-19 Roundup: Westport Marketplace; Farmers’ Market; Near & Far Aid; More

  1. Patsy Fissell

    Dan, you are a wonderful source of information through this awful pendemic but your “and finally” makes my day. Thanks for the music.

    • Thanks, Patsy. I’m having fun with it. If it brings smiles to people, then I’ve done my job. In another life, I would have been a DJ …