The story last March was grim. One Saturday night, a 64-year-old Westport woman supplementing her income by driving for Uber Eats picked up an order at Golden Pizza, in Westfair Plaza.
Inside the restaurant, she saw someone enter her unlocked car. When she went outside to prevent the theft, she was brutally assaulted. She suffered a serious head injury, and was intensive care for days.
Westporters were outraged. Quickly, a GoFundMe campaign was created. It raised over $33,000. The money paid for medical bills — she had no health insurance — and her long rehabilitation, as she learned to walk again.
The outpouring of support was “life-changing,” the woman says.
But that’s not the end of the story.
The woman’s name is Katherine “Pearl” Miller. She’s a watercolor artist, whose paintings and prints of richly detailed whimsical character hang in kids’ rooms throughout the US and Italy.
In 2020, she wrote a book. “Help Santa!!!” is a clever, light-hearted and rhythmic story about kindness, in which children get a chance to help St. Nick with a chimney problem.
Each book includes a “Magic Key” that — when young readers hold it in their hands and think “magical thoughts,” then hang on their door on Christmas Eve — can help them “help Santa.”
But this is not a story that suggests you buy “Help Santa!!!” for your child.
It’s far better than that.
Pearl has agreed to sell 250 of the books for $12.99 each. (The price on her website is $19.95; on Amazon, they’re $16.95.)
Right now, the books are in a storage unit. They can be distributed this Friday at 5 Bridgeport elementary schools: Curiale Elementary, Geraldine Claytor Magnet Academy, Barnum, Skane and Luis Muñoz Marin.
Bridgeport school administrators are thrilled. Usually, donors offer used books. This will provide brand-new hardcover books to 250 children, right before Christmas. And they’ll feel empowered “helping” Santa get down the chimney.
This is where “06880” readers come in. The books can only be distributed if we cover the cost.
That should be easy. As noted, each book is just $12.99. Ordering one (or more) for a Bridgeport child could not be easier.
Venmo $12.99 (per book) to @katherine-miller-177.
A year ago, Westporters banded together to help a woman. We did not know her name. We knew only that she’d been beaten on a Saturday night, while delivering meals to supplement her income.
Now we know her name. We know her back story. We know how far she’s come — and how eager she is to help others.
The next step is easy. Once again, here’s the Venmo: @katherine-miller-177.