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Friends of Ferguson Library Used Book Shop

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One Public Library Plaza, Stamford

I come from a long line of book lovers. My dad used to bring home cases of dusty books from local library sales with such provocative titles as “Twelfth and Thirteenth Annual Reports of the Bureau of Animal Industry for the Fiscal Years 1895 and 1896.” I… never read it. Nor, I suspect, did anyone else except my dad and the author. But I do, as many of you, read anything on the Top 10 bestseller list. Which you can get on the cheap at the Friends of Ferguson Library Used Book Shop, operated by Stamford library volunteers.

Who they are: Volunteers who stock and sell “quality used books at reasonable prices to provide financial support for the mission of the Friends of Ferguson Library.” (website)

What they do: Proceeds from sales of music and books support special library programs and, through their Friend-to-Friend Program (F2F), provide free books to select Stamford non-profit agencies to “serve as a free community literacy resources.” Special gifts to the library include transportation for children to and from the library and a special reader for people with macular degeneration. Through F2F, the library has donated over 200,000 books to agencies since 2003.

What you may not know but should:
  1. FF has a rare and collectible book section, including a free training program to teach volunteers how to recognize and value prized publications.
  2. Since 1981, FF has sponsored author luncheons as a “thank you” to the community it services. They have hosted such literary luminaries as Frank McCourt and Elizabeth Strout.

How you can help:
  1. Volunteer your time.
  2, Buy books.
  3. Donate clean, interesting books in readable condition.
http://www.friendsoffergusonlibrary.org

Give     Stamford    
Monday, April 14, 2014 • Permalink

Wakeman Town Farm

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134 Cross Highway, Westport
http://www.wakemantownfarm.org

When we first moved to Fairfield County I thought it’d be fun to grow our own Halloween pumpkin in our little garden next to the fence. I planted one or two seeds and watched its first baby leaves peep out and, eventually, take over the entire patch. In no time, it had clambered up the fence, crawled into the neighbor’s garden, and was poised to take over their entire yard before I hacked it down with an axe. The next day it had become bigger and stronger and was clearly preparing itself for world domination. 

Long story short, I’m now the proud farmer of chives, weeds, and an unsettling crop of pale leafy carrots.

Now, I could go to Wakeman “organic demonstration homestead” and learn how to grow vegetables in an environmentally responsible way. Which I easily can, because they offer all sorts of ways to educate people on how not to destroy plants. But they also offer children’s camps and classes, so I’ll save the thrill of nurturing organic zucchini for my kids. Plus, there are a bunch of snuggly farm animals for them to care for and cuddle, including one very fluffy white chicken.

Click to read the rest ... "Wakeman Town Farm"

Entertainment     Events + Places     Home + Garden     Give     Westport    
Wednesday, April 09, 2014 • Permalink

Homes With Hope

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http://www.hwhct.org

The “joke” in Westport is that the town has the only homeless shelter in the country that’s four doors down from a Tiffany. I bet the executives at Tiffany get a good chuckle over that one.

Homes With Hope offers housing, over 30,000 meals a year, Masters-level counseling, and an opportunity for independence to homeless and mentally challenged people and their families. A lot of Tiffany customers volunteer at HwH, and the success stories are worth their weight in gold.

Robin’s Note: Currently, there are 86 people sleeping every night in close proximity to the jewelers. 30 of these people are children. Also, the HwH board appoints two high school student members, a junior and a senior, who volunteer for 2 years.

Who they are: “Homes with Hope provides facilities and supportive services in a structured environment that enable homeless people in the communities we serve to achieve an independent and self-sufficient life.”—ihawestport.com

Click to read the rest ... "Homes With Hope"

Give     Westport    
Wednesday, April 02, 2014 • Permalink

Little Black Dog Rescue

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http://www.littleblackdogrescue.org

We adopted a dog last summer - Addison, rescued from Puerto Rico. He’s a hybrid of, oh, 5 or 6 indeterminate breeds and it’s no exaggeration to say he’s the most amazing dog in the entire history of the world. So I was researching Playa Lucia, aka Dead Dog Beach, from where he hails. And I feel like someone just punched me in the stomach. Warning - the next paragraph is graphic.

Dead Dog Beach is a dumping ground for satos, or stray dogs. Up to 300 dogs at a time “live” there, abused and neglected, foraging for food, starving to death, and much worse. Not infrequently, men with guns or cross-bows use these dogs for target practice or hack them up with machetes. Others are poisoned or run over for by ATVs “for fun.” Those that don’t die from torture, starvation, or sickness are euthanized and tossed into the trash with hundreds of other dead dogs and puppies.

While this depravity is most pronounced in Puerto Rico, dogs are horribly mistreated and abused all over the United States.

To think this easily could have been our Addison’s fate is hideous.

Anecdotally, black dogs have the most difficulty finding adoptive homes. Reasons for this are conjecture, but theorires for “Black Dog Syndrome” include the Hollywood typecasting of black dogs in “evil” dog roles and that they don’t photograph well for promotional materials.

Amy Scarella, founder of Little Black Dog Rescue, has devoted herself to finding homes for these dark and deserving pups. She works with shelters in Puerto Rico, Georgia, and South Carolina to bring dogs to her home and foster families in Connecticut before matching them with the right families. All dogs are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and deemed healthy before they’re placed.

Robin’s Note: Adopt a dog this Sunday! On March 23, Doggone Smart, 15 Cross St, Norwalk, is hosting Little Black Dog Rescue and a posse of their cutest pooches, all eager for adoption. Please swing by between 12-3. http://www.doggonesmart.com


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Click to read the rest ... "Little Black Dog Rescue"

Give     Darien     Fairfield     Greenwich     New Canaan     Norwalk     Stamford     Weston     Westport     Wilton    
Friday, March 21, 2014 • Permalink

Project Return

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124 Compo Road North, Westport

Ah, springtime. The weather warms, the crocuses pop, and tin birds that seemed to have sprung from a Blue Meanies and Yo Gabba Gabba cross-mating experiment lurk on random roadways. Yes, they appear (most) every March to herald the Annual Project Return Birdhouse Auction. And the cause makes those freaky creatures worth tolerating.

Who they are: Since 1986, Project Return has housed troubled adolescent girls. “Girls who are victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse as well as those who suffer from eating disorders, depression, homelessness and other traumas make Project Return their temporary home.”

What they do: “7 girls at a time live in this family-like atmosphere. In the process of mending broken spirits, our teens regain a sense of their own power to change their lives for the better.” (website) Girls receive the education and attention they need to empower themselves and mend their lives. They receive counseling, drug screening, educational and hospital services, DBT skills training, 12-step area meetings for addiction, special education if needed, cultural enrichment, and much more.

Click to read the rest ... "Project Return"

Give     Fairfield     Westport    
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 • Permalink

CSA - Community Supported Agriculture

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http://www.stoneledgefarmny.com/locations/

My husband and I decided to go organic when we started a family. Now that our kids are older, they really appreciate all the trouble and expense I go to to serve top-quality organic produce. They also fold their own laundry, balance my checkbook, and hold hands while singing “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” when guests visit.

If your kids aren’t perfect like mine, but you still want to go to the trouble and expense of serving them organic produce, I have good news: it’s no longer expensive.

Community Supported Agriculture, CSA, has opened a Southport branch. It’s a wonderful way to support local farms and literally reap their harvest of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables.

Who they are: A core group of dedicated volunteers and certified organic local farmers.

What they do and how it works: “CSA is a means for consumers to buy a share in a farm’s seasonal production directly from the farmer. Consumers benefit from buying local, farm fresh, high quality produce at an attractive price and farmers benefit from pre-selling the harvest. CSA members pick up their weekly shares either at the farm or a location in their community.

Click to read the rest ... "CSA - Community Supported Agriculture"

Cooking     Give     Fairfield    
Monday, March 17, 2014 • Permalink

Fresh Air Fund

Fresh Air Fund

http://www.freshairfund.org

Last year my husband and I decided to host a 6 year old boy, Eddie*, from the Fresh Air Fund. For two weeks that summer I became the mother of 4 instead of 3. It was a living hell. Imagine a playdate that lasts 334 1/2 hours too long, riddled with late-night bouts of homesickness.

However, I liked Eddie. So, despite all reasons to the contrary, we invited him back this year. When my husband picked him up in New York, he exclaimed, “I can’t wait to see Miss Robin!” (Yes, I’m still waiting for my own kids to share such delight in seeing me.) He ran into my arms as though his whole year culminated in being with us once again. This time, we loved being together: the arguing mitigated dramatically, as did his homesickness. Eddie swam every day with us, went to the playground, went to parties, played baseball, and was genuinely and visibly thrilled with every thing we accepted as part of our normal summer routine. As difficult as the past visit had been, through it we had learned how to interact and succeed as a “family.”

Toward the end of his visit he popped his head out of the swimming pool and I saw he was drooling. He laughed and wiped his face and exclaimed, “I slobbered on the tire swing yesterday, too! I slobber when I’m having fun.” With that, he popped back into the water. I never thought I’d be so happy to see someone slobbering in my pool. That must be why God created chlorine.

The day before we drove him back to the city, he said, “Miss Robin, wouldn’t it be fun if I could stay here all summer?” Well, maybe. But I can’t wait to see him again next summer.

Click to read the rest ... "Fresh Air Fund"

Give     Darien     Fairfield     Greenwich     New Canaan     Norwalk     Stamford     Weston     Westport     Wilton    
Monday, March 10, 2014 • Permalink

Green Demolitions

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15 East Putnam Avenue, Greenwich
19 Willard Road, Norwalk

At first blush, it seems like a typical success story: suicidal drug addict recovers, makes a wad of cash, sells used kitchens. But wait – “used kitchens”?

Who they are: Founder and President Steve Feldman is a drug addict survivor. He began selling used, overstock, and showroom kitchens and appliances in 2005 to give back to All Addicts Anonymous (AAA), the program that saved his life, through Recovery Unlimited. To date, he owns 4 Green Demolition stores in 3 states and hires 37 people, 35% of who are recovered addicts or family members of recovering addicts.

What they do: In addition to kitchen cabinets and appliances, GD sells objects for the entire house: lamps, toilets, sinks, furniture, candlesticks, etc. Pretty much any decent donated item. But mostly kitchens and appliances.

How to donate: If you wish to donate, they’ll send over a truck to pack up your old kitchen, etc. and haul it to the nearest GD store. You don’t have to pay a dime in disposal or moving costs and you get a tax deduction and you get a warm fuzzy.

The good stuff they sell: They do a brisk business with Christian Clive cabinetry and Viking stoves. Their new “Luxury Room” and “Gold Mine” boasts pewter and silver plate accessories, Tibetan rugs, “finer” furniture and that ilk. And if you want a Viking stove, don’t buy it retail: GD gets a bunch of them. But it’s hit or miss, so be prepared to come back regularly to find what you want.

Click to read the rest ... "Green Demolitions"

Home + Garden     Give     Greenwich     Norwalk    
Thursday, February 13, 2014 • Permalink

Coleman Brothers Foundation

Coleman Brothers Foundation
http://www.westportsoccer.org

What they do: Founded in memory of two Westport brothers, Keith and Scott Coleman, who died in the 9/11 World Trade Center attack, the Coleman family and the Westport Soccer Association “support soccer players and others actively involved in youth soccer programs, who demonstrate a meaningful commitment to sportsmanship, leadership and integrity on and off the field.

Support provided by the Foundation includes college scholarships to graduating high school seniors and grants to provide opportunities for boys and girls from families with financial needs to participate in travel and other youth soccer programs, coaching or refereeing.” (website)

Who they are: “Keith and Scott Coleman grew up in Westport, Connecticut, playing soccer, baseball and wrestling. As adults, Keith and Scott worked together at Cantor Fitzgerald as colleagues, brothers and friends. Keith and Scott died in the World Trade Center attack on September 11, 2001.

Click to read the rest ... "Coleman Brothers Foundation"

Give     Westport    
Wednesday, September 07, 2011 • Permalink

Association of the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp

http://www.holeinthewallgang.org

When asked why he created Hole in the Wall Gang Camps, Paul Newman replied, “I wanted, I think, to acknowledge Luck; the chance of it, the benevolence of it in my life, and the brutality of it in the lives of others, made especially savage for children because they may not be allowed the good fortune of a lifetime to correct it.”

It gives me goose bumps, too.

Paul certainly had luck but, more important, he was a good man and a hard worker. To credit luck with his achievements wouldn’t be giving him enough credit, and his camps are further proof of his success and largesse.

What it is: Movie buffs may recognize “Hole in the Wall Gang” from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, referring to a “ragtag group of bandits.”

Each camp is for “children diagnosed with cancer, sickle cell anemia, HIV/AIDS, hemophilia and other serious and life-threatening conditions enjoy more than they or their parents ever thought possible. Activities include archery, mini golf, swimming, boating, fishing, horseback riding, arts and crafts, sports, theater and camping; all are designed to include every child and ensure that no child will fail. A zero-entry pool provides water fun for all campers, regardless of any mobility challenges they may have. A special warming room or ‘French fryer’ allows children with sickle cell anemia to enjoy swimming – many for the first time in their young lives. An exceptional tree house, mini golf course and multiple trails are specially designed to be wheelchair-accessible, ensuring an inclusive experience for all youngsters.”

All campers attend free of charge.

Give     Westport    
Friday, June 17, 2011 • Permalink

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