Tag Archives: Make a Difference Westport

Make A Difference — And Help For the Holidays

It started out as “Make a Difference Day.” Now, the Westport event spans the entire month of October.

The goal is for volunteers to help local non-profits. They register their projects; willing hands are then matched with needs.

Projects are updated regularly. They include painting, maintenance, helping with compost piles, collecting used eyeglasses and children’s clothes — you name it. Click here for a list.

To register a project — or volunteer for one — click here.

It’s a month-long event — but Saturday, October 26 is special. Volunteers will gather at Christ & Holy Trinity Church at 9 a.m. They’ll assemble toiletry bags for homeless men, comfort bags for abused women, arts and craft kits for children in need, and Hug a Senior bags.

Click here for the full Make a Difference Day Month website. For more information, call Barbara Pearson-Rac: 203-226-1390.

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Meanwhile, it’s not even Halloween. But Westport’s Department of Human Services is already thinking about the holidays.

They see a side of town most Westporters never do. The Town Hall staff knows our neighbors are coping with layoffs, reduced work hours, even foreclosures.

For years, Human Services has facilitated a Holiday Giving Program. It’s as important today as it ever was.

Residents can donate grocery and gas gift cards of any amount, as well as gift cards to local stores.

Cash donations are always welcome. They allow for the purchase of last-minute gift cards for clients. Residents who wish to shop for a family’s actual gift requests can do so, at whatever level the donor feels comfortable.

Organizations — including non-profits, religious institutions and businesses — can donate too.

The more the “merrier,” for sure.

(To donate online, click here; select “Holiday Giving” in the the “Seasonal Program” dropdown prompt. Checks made payable to “DHS Family Programs” — with “Holiday” on the memo line — may be mailed to Human Services, c/o Town Hall, 110 Myrtle Avenue, Westport, CT 06880, or dropped off there in Room 200. For more information, email familyprograms@westportct.gov, or call 203-341-1183. Families that need support during the holidays should call 203-341-1050.)

Making A Difference

This is Make a Difference Week.  From now through Sunday, Westporters are asked to volunteer — somewhere, some time, somehow — to (duh) make a difference in their neighborhood, their town, their whatever.

The number of organizations needing help is boundless.  If you don’t know where to turn, check out the Make a Difference, Westport website.  Two special projects are listed for Saturday (Oct. 23, 9 a.m.-noon at the Senior Center):  creating hygiene bags for Norwalk Community Shelter clients, and creating comfort bags for battered and abused women at the Domestic Violence Crisis Center.

Worthy ideas, for sure.  But you don’t have to be part of a formal network to make a difference.

Anyone in town can:

  • Clean up.  The beach, Longshore, Wakeman, downtown — pick your favorite part of Westport, grab some gloves and Hefty bags, and get to work.
  • Speak up.  Tired of hearing bullying, misogynistic, homophobic or other offensive comments from a co-worker, acquaintance or your kid?  Say something!
  • Take care of a neighbor.  Offer to take an elderly woman shopping.  Clean up that brush that the couple next door never got to.  Introduce yourself to the family that moved in over the summer.
  • Say something nice.  Thank a town official for going out of his or her way to solve a problem.  Email a teacher who helped you or your kid — yesterday, last week, or a year or 10 ago.  Compliment your child or partner for something you never mentioned before.

You don’t have to do everything on this list.  You don’t have to do it all at once.  You don’t even have to do it this week.

But give it a shot some time.  You’ll do much more than make a difference in someone else’s life.

You’ll make a difference in yours, too.