Editorial: As Corbin Cares comes to an end, the lesson is there can never be too many helping hands
In March, our world as we know it was completely upended due to the closure of much of the state to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Quickly rising behind the initial tidal wave of fear for the health and safety of ourselves and our loved ones came the follow-up waves to further knock us down — the impact of the pandemic on our jobs, our local businesses, and the ability for the vulnerable to eat.
It was at this moment that Baywater’s David Genovese, facing these challenges, called upon local businesses and other local nonprofits, to help come up with a solution to try to address all of them. How could the Town of Darien find a solution that would help feed health care workers on the front lines, food insecure families, and seniors advised to stay home, while also helping keep local eateries viable?
The answer was Corbin Cares, which partnered with the Darien Foundation, the Community Fund of Darien, the Darien Lions Club and Food Rescue US, and after three hardworking months, comes to end this week. Kicked off with a generous grant from the Darien Foundation, Corbin Cares used a variety of creative fundraising techniques, including at home Zoom concerts, an auction of local artwork donated by Darien artist Nobu, and others.
Restaurants working with Corbin Cares, including Bodega Taco Bar, Ten Twenty Post, Baldanza Bistro, Four Forks, Jake’s Place and UCBC, provided hundreds of meals to local health care workers, families in need, and the senior center. Seniors were able to do a drive-thru bagged lunch program that was distributed by restaurant ownership, town hall staff and the hardworking staff of the senior center. Bagged drive-thru lunches will go back to being prepared by senior center staff after this week.
Separately from Corbin Cares, Megan Ruppenstein of Four Forks was also kept extremely busy with donations of meals. Various neighborhoods on their own got together to donate nearly 3,000 meals in total to health care workers from her Tokeneke Road eatery.
And Palmer’s Market, being the true community mainstay that it is, rapidly adjusted to the trying times by putting its staff to work to make sure the vulnerable still got their groceries. A curbside pickup and delivery service was put into effect — staffers shopped via lists placed by phone, and often these deliveries were made by Darien emergency responders.
Corbin Cares’ initiatives, along with town leaders and nonprofits, and other efforts like those above, not only kept many fed, and many restaurants busy and viable, it gave the community desperately in need of hope something to focus on.
It gave so many in isolation the ability to still feel like a tight-knit community and connected to one another. It gave us a chance to think of better days and that we might get through this together.
We are far from putting this pandemic behind us, but as Darien begins to slowly reopen, the light is beginning to emerge from the end of the tunnel.
Regardless of what is to come, let us never forget the lessons learned in the darkness of the last few months — no idea is too small, hope can never be underestimated, we are all stronger than we think, and that there can never be too many helping hands.