NORTH STONINGTON – Sarah Vaillancourt wanted to do something good to support the front-line workers who are working so hard to keep us and our loved ones safe during this relentless pandemic.
Vaillancourt is a senior consultant with Thirty-One Gifts, a national direct sales or network-marketing company. She runs her own business selling Thirty-One Gifts products and finding others who also want to sell Thirty-One gifts. She saw on Facebook that a “sister” with Thirty-One had done a fundraiser to get “Care Kits” donated to these health workers.
She thought she would do that, and set a goal of donating 25 Care Kits.
“I mentioned it to my amazingly talented friend, Erica Green,” Vaillancourt said, “who graciously offered her help in this cause by donating hand sewn masks and straps.” Vaillancourt and her daughter Lily sewed buttons onto headbands (donated by friend Nancy Bergel) to hold the masks in place, “giving these workers a break on their ears,” she added.
And it grew from there.
Shelly Neddeau offered to crochet some fasteners with buttons. Bergel, who gave the headbands, also donated a slew of snacks. Another friend, Bryant Meyer, donated lotion samples to help the sore spots on their ears, from her direct sales business, Beautycounter. Emily Knowles created a beautiful message to include in each pouch.
“We had a tremendous amount of support from our community,” Vaillancourt said.
They raised $2,000 and received lots of additional donations of snack foods from the Leonards and Banks families. Denise Collard donated gift cards.
By the time they were done, they’d raised enough to donate 130 Care Kits and made enough in commissions on the additional Care Kits they sold at $20 a piece to provide more snacks for employee lounges.
“The magnitude of this project was huge,” Vaillancourt said, “and could not have been done without the help, generosity, and kindness from so many working together. These Care Kits have had donations come from all over our country. From Arizona, Colorado, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and lastly, Maryland.”
The Care Kits are being distributed as they are completed. All should be out “by weeks end,” Vaillancourt said. Among other places, they will be going to:
North Stonington Emergency Services – 15
Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London – 20
Backus Hospital in Norwich – 2
Reliance Health in Norwich – 15
Avalon Health Center in Stonington – 6
Yale New Haven Westerly Hospital – 5
Westerly Health Center – 10
Brightview Commons in Wakefield, RI – 10
Harbor Village in New London – 10
Centers for Advanced ENT Care, Havre de Grace, MD – 5
“Anonymous Hometown Heroes” – 5
“Gosh,” Vaillancourt said, “we all have done amazing things for so many people.”