Happy National Kindness Day!
To celebrate, “06880” shares the story of a local business that embodies kindness, and pays it forward every day.
And today they’ve got some good, kind news, about what’s ahead.
The Porch at Christie’s opened in May of 2021. Westport owners Bill and Andrea Pecoriello — inspired by their 3 kids’ volunteer efforts while at Staples High School — had already founded Sweet P Bakery.
The Norwalk non-profit teaches baking skills to people with disabilities, then hires them.
The Porch on Cross Highway — which since 1926 was known as Christie’s market, then cycled through several owners (with a very brief spin as a dry cleaners) — had 2 missions: to be a gathering place for the community, and to train and employ people with disabilities.
The Porch at Christie’s, on Cross Highway
Working with organizations like STAR, and local school systems’ special education and transition programs, to teach job skills, The Porch models inclusion, acceptance and kindness, to employees and customers alike.
Plus, it’s a retail outlet for Sweet P.
The bakery employs 6 people. All are graduates of their first baking program. Six more graduate next month.
They’ll be needed. Sweet P’s cookie wholesale operation — whose customers include the Westport Library and Westport Country Playhouse — is robust.
They’re also building an online operation to sell nationwide. They’ll hire people of all abilities for packaging and labeling, along with baking.
“One shift a week can change a life,” the Pecoriellos say.
“For 2 1/2 years, our community and beyond has embraced the Porch and Sweet P Bakery, and our message of kindness and inclusion.
“We have already made a significant impact in creating employment and internship opportunities for adults with disabilities at both locations.”
But they want to do more.
They’ve combined both businesses into one 501(c)(3) non-profit. Now they’ve launched a GoFundMe campaign.
Donations will help the Pecoriellos triple the size of Sweet P’s commercial kitchen; hire the 6 students about to graduate from their baking program; add more jobs for the online business; hire new Porch employees of all abilities, and ensure that The Porch continues as a “community treasure.”
Porch sales do not cover operating expenses. Fundraising and grants can close the gap.
Finally, the Pecoriellos say, fundraising will help them “model kindness in our community. It is needed now more than ever.”
Happy Kindness Day!
(Click here for more information on the Porch/Sweet P GoFundMe campaign, and to contribute. GoFundMe does not allow American Express donations; to use that card, or donate by check, go to the Sweet P website.)