Community Fund’s ‘Unsung Heroes’ honors volunteer groups
The Community Fund of Darien has shared a list of their ‘Unsung heroes’ volunteer appreciation volunteers for 2020. The Darien Times will share their individual profiles. Here is the group of volunteer profiles for outstanding volunteer teams (3 or more).
Chris Harwick, Todd Herget, Brett Tucker and Patrick Spellman
Darien Junior Football League
This group of volunteers has dedicated countless hours to the Darien Junior Football League to the benefit of boys in grades four through eight in Darien. Beyond the obvious mission of the developmental program, DJFL strives to strengthen characteristics and instill long-lasting values by affording opportunities for players to get to know and respect other players and being treated with respect as a valued member of a team. Many, if not all, DJFL teams come together for a weekly team dinner at someone's house, and they attend DHS games as a team. Chris, Todd, Brett and Patrick serve as executive board members so they go above and beyond in every facet of the program, both on and off the field. This year, they added a community service element to the program and players raked leaves for elderly residents in Darien. This positive program contributes greatly to youth development and youth asset building efforts.
The First Congregational Church of Darien — Open Doors Shelter Team
The First Congregational Church of Darien has been committed to helping our neighbors in need and has worked in partnership with Open Doors for decades. Volunteers provide willing hands and friendly faces at our pantry and kitchen throughout the year, serving people who are dealing with hunger. Three times every year, members of the First Congregational Church of Darien come together as an incredible team to help people have a happy holiday at home. More than a dozen volunteers form an incredibly organized and upbeat assembly line to put together holiday meal baskets and hand them out to over 125 households who are struggling to make ends meet. Their commitment to caring for the community means so much, and Open Doors is proud to nominate them as outstanding volunteers.
Andrew Popson, Kaitlyn Popson, Nick Hoyt, Jack Briggs and Colleen Hoyt
Helping Hands, a nonprofit organization started through the Depot in 2014, helps the less fortunate in Darien. The five members of the organization are all high school students who reside in Darien and dedicate their time to help their neighbors in need. These outstanding young men and women collect donations of household items such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning products, and personal hygiene products for the Darien Human Services home goods closet and the Back-to-School drive. The Home Goods closet provides eligible Darien families and individuals with much-needed cleaning supplies, paper goods and personal grooming products which are not covered by food stamps. Helping Hands gives low-income individuals and families in Darien access to these items by accepting donations outside of local stores such as Palmers, Stop & Shop, Walgreens, and CVS.
Because of their commitment to their community and to their neighbors in need, Darien Human Services would like to recognize the five dedicated members of Helping Hands:
Andrew Popson is president of Helping Hands. He is a sophomore at Darien High School and is a member of the junior varsity soccer team and the outdoor track team.
Kaitlyn Popson is vice-president of Helping Hands. She is a senior at Darien High School and will attend Boston College in the fall. She is a member of the varsity soccer team, captain of the indoor track team, and member of the outdoor track team. She also participates in a variety of clubs at DHS and is a member of St. John’s Youth Group.
Nick Hoyt is vice-president of Helping Hands. He is a senior at Darien High School and will be attending Xavier University in the fall. He is a member of the varsity volleyball team and president of the outdoors club.
Jack Briggs is vice-president of Helping Hands. He is a junior at St. Luke’s School and is a member of the varsity tennis team, the junior varsity squash team and co-president of the App Club.
Colleen Hoyt is secretary of Helping Hands. She is a sophomore at Darien High School and is a member of several DHS clubs including Mental Health Matters. She is also a synchronized swimmer for the New Canaan YMCA Synchronized Swim Team.
Allison Law, Christa Fitzpatrick, Lauren Stissor and Katherine Grambling
Ox Ridge Elementary School; Kids Care Club
The Ox Ridge Elementary School Kids Care Club has been involved in the foster care holiday event for nearly 20 years. This compassionate group not only organizes the menu and decorations for the party, but also generously arranges the donation of holiday gifts for all of the children in the foster care program.
Comprised of parents and students from the school, the members work together to craft beautiful decorations for the event space, coordinate a delicious menu, and consult with our staff to ensure every child receives a wonderful gift. On the day of the event, they come as a group and fill the space with so much joy decorating every inch to ensure it is a spectacular experience for all of our families. Food is bountiful and the gifts are perfect for each child. The impact this has on the foster care program is tremendous. The families are so very grateful as is our staff, and the smiles it brings to each child is truly priceless. The support given to Family & Children's Agency each and every year is amazing, and we deeply appreciate and value our partnership with Ox Ridge Kids Care Club.