Farmington Cares Day touched many lives this year on Saturday, May 11. And if the event needed a spokesperson, Virginia Novak would be the one.
“I feel so connected. If you grow old, Farmington is the place to do it,” she said as volunteers greeted her and later washed her windows. At 94-years-old, Novak is no newcomer to Farmington Cares Day as well as Farmington elderly services. “I live alone, but I do not feel alone,” she emphasized.
Other recipients of the services provided by the volunteers of Farmington Cares Day echoed Novak when she asserted “the volunteers are enthusiastic and giving.”
This annual event, organized by the Farmington Community Chest (FCC), is a day of service and caring to Farmington elderly and disabled residents who need help with home repairs, yard work and household chores. Its success is dependent on getting requests for household and yard assistance from town residents who are trying to stay at home, matching those requests with capable volunteers and securing the necessary equipment.
A little sweat, lots of determination, and big smiles from volunteers are essential to success. This year a few dozen people displayed all three as they volunteered in some way to make the event a success.
Farmington resident Lois Pease said, “The volunteers made me optimistic about our community. The yard work they did would not have gotten done if they did not do it.” This year is the fourth year that Pease has counted on volunteers to clear her yard and pull up brush.
“It’s all wonderful,” said Susan Gibson, a first-time volunteer this year. A local pastor, she said it was good to see such community spirt.”
Donna Ferteck lives at Westerleigh where a large group of volunteers worked on landscaping. She seemed to delight in watching the improvements that will enhance her daily life.
Wayne Fromback is a member of the Westerleigh Board of Directors and is its liaison to FCC. He said, “Over the past 3 years, Westerleigh senior housing has had the good fortune to receive beautiful plantings, edging, pruning, mulching and restoration of outdoor benches through the generosity of the Farmington Community Chest and Farmington Cares Day. Many residents have commented on how beautiful the grounds are after Farmington Cares Day activities have been completed. They truly have made a significant difference.”
Ion Bank Foundation, students & Eversource “all in” for Cares Day
Ion Bank Foundation sponsored the event. FCC President Amy Palumbo said, “As a newcomer to our town, Ion already has its philanthropic finger on the pulse of our community—stepping up as the sponsor of this year’s event. We are very grateful because the donation helped in so many ways. For example, FCC doesn’t just need to build a team of volunteers for the event, we also need to secure the necessary tools and equipment to get the jobs done. We also provide food and water for our volunteers.”
Eversource also showed that its corporate heart is in the right place by providing free lightbulbs for many of the elderly who were helped during Farmington Care Days. Palumbo, an Eversource employee, requested lightbulbs for the residents being helped on Farmington Cares Day. Eversource stands behind and supports its employees who donate their time and effort to give back to the community and subsequently was happy to help with the request.
Noah Gordon, a seventh grader at Farmington’s Irving A. Robbins school, said: “I was impressed with how well managed it was. Everyone had a job and knew what to do.”
Zach Gordon, his twin brother, added: “There was a lot of work. But we had a big team and we were so organized. We got it all done.”
See you next year!
Planning is already underway for next year’s event. “The possibilities for projects are almost endless,” says Palumbo. “Face-to-face interaction, authentic caring, and tangible contributions are our magic formula for effective community building. FCC urges people right now to start thinking about next year’s Farmington Cares Day.”
Denise Gordon, a member of the FCC Board of Directors, said, “I’m excited to help out because it’s an organization that has all different ages and backgrounds of people coming together. This is our big community event. This is a day where we are hands-on and roll up the sleeves.”
Volunteers interested in participating can sign up as individuals or as part of an organization. It may sound trite, but it’s true: Farmington Cares Day wouldn’t be possible without people who care.