Wreaths Across America, Darien VFW join forces to seek support
DARIEN — The pandemic has hit hard for many individuals, organizations, and causes across Connecticut this year.
Wreaths Across America normally raises the majority of funds for Spring Grove Veterans Cemetery through retail collecting at various locations by the Darien VFW. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was too risky to send seniors out to collect donations. Darien’s committee has raised enough funds to provide for only 149 wreaths.
The VFW is also struggling to maintain its solvency. A large contributor to its annual budget was the annual Fourth of July Push/Pull Parade, which was canceled this year. The funds cover a large portion of the VFW’s annual operating costs. The private club normally covers the remainder, but its sales are down significantly. The VFW is seriously in jeopardy of becoming insolvent, according to one member.
“As a member of the VFW and the site coordinator for Wreaths Across America, I can attest that both are struggling significantly,” Darien resident J.C. Carter said.
Wreaths Across America coordinates wreath-laying ceremonies at more than 2,100 locations across the United States. This year’s ceremony is scheduled for Dec. 19.
Wreaths Across America began in the early 1990s, when Worcester Wreath in Maine had extra wreaths at the end of the holiday season. The owner, Morrill Worcester, made arrangements with a state senator to have them placed at Arlington National Cemetery. The campaign began to receive national attention, and in 2006, simultaneous wreath ceremonies were held at 150 locations throughout the country in December.
By 2010, Wreaths Across America placed 220,000 memorial wreaths at 545 locations.
Started in 1946, Darien VFW Post No. 6933’s headquarters was relocated to the chapel of Darien’s Fitch Home for Soldiers, the first soldiers’ home of its kind in the country. The Darien VFW has been an active participant in the community life of Darien and Connecticut since it began.
Members make hospital visits to the VA Medical Center in West Haven and the State Veterans’ Home & Hospital in Rocky Hill. Members participate in history programs in the schools, sponsor a little league team and a Cub Scout pack. Their Commander’s Food Drive donates hundreds of dollars’ worth of food to the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County. The VFW is also host to the state’s Soldiers, Sailors & Marines Fund, where veterans can apply for emergency assistance from that fund and supports active duty families.
This year, residents can support both causes at the same time by donating a wreath for the Spring Grove Cemetery ceremony in December. The VFW will receive a small portion of the overall cost for each wreath donated.
Wreaths can be ordered from the WAA website with the Group ID code of CT0007P and the location code of CTSGVD. If paying by check, please note the codes above on the check /order form so that the wreaths arrive at the Darien location. The mailing address is WAA, P.O. Box 249 Columbia Falls, Maine 04620.
Residents with questions can reach out to JC Carter at Wreaths06820@gmail.com. For more information on Darien VFW, visit darienvfw.org