Thanksgiving is already in our rear-view mirror. But this story from last week will keep you smiling through Christmas.
From noon through 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, the Westport Housing Authority delivered 376 holiday meals to residents at 4 sites: Canal Street, Hidden Brook, Sasco Creek and Hales Court.
Boston Market on Black Rock Turnpike supplied the turkeys, hams, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, mac and cheese, salads, cornbread, and apple and pumpkin pies.
Housing Authority officials Amanda Sayegh and Andrea Santamaria organized it all, and distributed the meals with the help of interns.
“Our residents are fabulous,” says WHA executive director Carol Martin. “This made them so happy. A little bit of safe, social contact — and a Thanksgiving meal — goes a long way.” (Hat tip: Jim Ezzes)
How windy was it yesterday?
Westport had nearly 750 power outages at 2 p.m. By 4:45, that number was below 5.
At the storm’s height, even heavy sandbags could not keep Finalmente’s outdoor dining tent down.
That’s not what any restaurant needs now, for sure. But then again, what do you expect from 2020?
And finally … December 1 is World AIDS Day. This song is dedicated all the men, women and children, taken far too young by this dreadful disease.
Westport is a place where we live by, and teach our children, the values that we cherish — values that embrace equality, inclusiveness, open-mindedness, and mutual respect.
This Thanksgiving, we reflect upon these qualities in light of a tumultuous year that has, quite frankly, brought heartache, anxiety, and turmoil. There are many among us who are isolated and alone. Emotions and situations brought about by an unseen virus and other national events have caused all of us to re-think how we behave and how we react as a society. No doubt, it has taken its toll and has caused significant adjustments in how we live our lives.
However, recent news and guidance from scientists and health officials is very promising. If we continue to stay aware and respectful, actively follow the protocols in place such as wearing a mask, keeping distance and avoiding gatherings, we can see a path to where we can once again enjoy a way of life without fear of harming our neighbors, friends and family.
Masked up, at the Westport Y’s child care program.
And I would like to echo Governor Lamont’s request to please keep your in-home Thanksgiving celebrations to immediate family and to 10 persons or fewer.
Besides COVID, there were other events that caused upheaval, unrest and concern in this country and on the local level. Westporters have historically been leaders in social movements, and this year was no different. We will continue to have the difficult dialogues about social injustice while encouraging and setting an example of mutual respect for all humankind. We remain grateful and thankful for those in our community who have led the way in standing firmly against hate and intolerance, and for those who protect our health and safety.
Thanksgiving reminds us to be grateful for our freedoms and our good fortune while recognizing that there are others who are less fortunate. I am personally thankful for our extraordinary teachers, civic leaders, clergy and volunteers of all kinds. They, along with many other residents, work tirelessly and diligently to care for and help meet the needs of those who require additional emotional, family and economic support.
Religious, civic, educational and other institutions are more important than ever. (Photo/Anthony Evans)
COVID has caused us to adjust the manner in which their work is accomplished, but they remain steadfast in their commitment to helping. I want to acknowledge their contributions – they are valued and appreciated.
I wish all the residents of Westport a safe and healthy Thanksgiving Holiday. Thanks to all of you for your ongoing contributions to making Westport an inclusive place where all feel welcome. We are proud to call it “home.”
But no matter where we are — and no matter how tough this year has been — it’s time to give thanks.
I am thankful to be surrounded by wonderful friends and a fantastic family. In trying times, there is nothing more important.
I am thankful to live in a beautiful, supportive town. I am thankful our resources are so bountiful, and our residents so generous and kind.
I am thankful that 2020 is nearly over. No one knows what 2021 will bring. But the “06880” community — in-person in Westport, and online all over the world — is strong. We will lift each other up. We will carry each other along. We will get through whatever the world throws at us.
And next Thanksgiving, we will gather, once again, all together.
Westport illustrator Stevan Dohanos’ “Saturday Evening Post” cover, 1941. Two weeks later, the US entered World War II.
Odds are your celebration will be smaller than usual. You’ll miss loved ones, friends, and the random strangers who sometimes make it to your table.
It’s our first COVID Thanksgiving, thanks to some guy in China who ate a bat last year.
But if this year looks different, much remains the same. Turkey, stuffing, pies, getting stuffed — that stuff doesn’t take a holiday, just because we’re quarantined, locked down and nasal swabbed up the wazoo.
And of course, all those turkeys, stuffingses and pies don’t magically fall from the sky. This is the time of year when caterers are kings (and queens).
It hasn’t been easy. Caterers have done the pandemic pivot. They’re cooking for smaller groups. They’re finding new ways to operate, from the kitchen to delivery. Some regular customers have said “sorry — not this year.”
Perhaps you brought a prepared dinner from a gourmet outlet, like Mystic Market or Garelick & Herbs. They too have had a rough time. They’ve pared back hours, addressed customers’ concerns, dealt with suppliers who have coronavirus issues at their own farms and factories.
If you’re having dinner out — and some restaurants are open tomorrow — you know the entire industry has taken a hit. Owners are doing whatever they can for their customers, and their creativity knows no bounds. This has been an astonishingly tough 8 months — and what’s traditionally the slowest time of year is not far away.
So this week’s Unsung Heroes are everyone who has anything to do with providing tomorrow’s dinner. If you helped put a turkey, stuffing or pie on our table: We know it wasn’t easy.
But when we sit down at Thanksgiving to give thanks, we’ll be thanking you too.
Yesterday, Governor Lamont announced that 145 of Connecticut’s 169 municipalities are in the red zone alert level, the highest of the state’s 4 alert levels on the weekly COVID-19 Alert Map. This indicates municipalities with an average daily COVID-19 case rate over the last 2 weeks of more than 15 per 100,000 population.
This week Westport is calculated at 33 cases out of a population of 100,000, compared to 22.4 cases last week.
According to the CDC, more than 1 million COVID-19 cases were reported in the United States over the last 7 days. This is alarming, and demonstrates that we must remain vigilant. We must anticipate that cases will continue to spread as individuals travel, return home from college, gather and shop in the weeks ahead. Wearing masks, social distancing and avoiding gatherings is a must if we are to control this pandemic.
This year, many traditional activities surrounding Thanksgiving and the upcoming holidays have the potential to threaten our health and safety. I urge all residents to refrain from typical large holiday gatherings.
This Stevan Dohanos Saturday Evening Post cover — modeled on a Long Lots Road home — shows a scene that (for many reasons) will not be repeated this year.
As of November 6, the statewide cap on gathering in private residences is 10, down from 25. Please keep your Thanksgiving celebration to no more than 10, and preferably celebrate at home only with the people with whom you live. Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of contracting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu.
Avoid crowds on Black Friday, or prepare for strict adherence to the 50% capacity rule at retail stores. Consider Cyber Monday as an alternative. Always maintain a 6-foot distance from others, and wear a face covering.
Review the CDC and state Department of Public Health guidelines for the Thanksgiving holiday, including traveling, gathering, and alternatives to gathering and protocols for college students returning to or visiting Connecticut:
For information on testing sites, please click here for a list of local test sites, or click here for the state-wide listing.
If you have a pending test due either to symptoms of COVID or exposure to COVID, please refrain from going out into the community until you have received results.
St. Vincent’s Health Center is one of several places offerin COVID-19 tests. (Photo/Adam Stolpen)
Much of the increase in COVID cases and the resulting school closures are a result of gatherings, parties and sports team activities. Effective Monday (November 23), the governor has ordered all club and team sports, including CIAC sports, to postpone all organized events until January 19.
Staples High School, and Bedford and Coleytown Middle Schools, are on distanced learning through the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Westport Public School Superintendent Tom Scarice and I remind everyone that the ability for our schools to remain open for in-person learning depends primarily on the actions of our entire population. We continue to urge all to follow the appropriate protocols so that our community can remain open, but safe.
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