The Day – Make A Difference recipients enjoy their gifts, thanks to the community

In another successful year of The Day’s Make A Difference series, the community response has made all the difference in the lives of individuals through nonprofits and community organizations. region.

Laura Malone, executive director of Catholic Charities in Norwich, said on Monday that she wants every donor to be able to see the joy and relief recipients receive when they receive their gifts.

One of them, Marleny Quintanilla, collected her gifts on Tuesday.

Quintanilla is originally from El Salvador and has spent the last year separated from her husband, looking after her two young daughters, aged 7 and 3, on her own. For years, she has gone to Catholic charities to buy food that she can take home.

She said she was aware that each year the organization chooses a different family to help her during the holidays and that she patiently waited for the year she would be chosen to give her daughters a big Christmas.

Malone said Quintanilla and her daughters received three huge beautifully wrapped boxes and four shopping bags full of items they requested, such as winter coats, clothes, blankets and toys.

She also received over $ 400 in gift cards and donations.

When her social worker handed her the gift cards, Quintanilla started to cry. Speaking Spanish, she thanked God for bringing the desire to give to those who donated.

“God will always bless those who help,” she said.

At Always Home, another single mom, who was diagnosed with cancer in the past year, got the help she needed for the season.

Faith, 40, is the mother of an 8-year-old boy. After a routine mammogram, she was told she had stage 1, grade 3 invasive breast cancer and had a double mastectomy. Due to complications, she developed an infection and had to have a second surgery. Currently in chemotherapy treatment, Faith is unable to work and unpaid bills are piling up.

Always Home has asked for cash donations to provide housing stability and peace of mind for Faith and other low-income families with young children. Approximately $ 3,000 was raised from the community, which Faith will receive in a number of ways, such as rental assistance, payments for a car and new tires.

Faith’s is one of 326 families the organization has helped over the past fiscal year.

In a statement to The Day, Faith thanked everyone for their generosity and prayers during her difficult times.

“I have always been so independent, but the kindness of strangers, family and friends is heartwarming,” she wrote. “It has been a very humbling experience. I can’t wait to get back on my feet to pay forward.”

Kathryn Stauffer is the CEO of Arc Eastern Connecticut, a nonprofit organization that provides services and advocacy for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities across the region.

Stauffer said the office spent almost an entire day wrapping gifts this week for Tim and Connie, this year’s chosen recipients. The disabled married couple receive services under the Arc’s home support program, serving nearly 1,000 people in total.

Their freebies include blankets, gift cards, winter coats, hair accessories and over $ 500 in donations.

Stauffer said they would be particularly excited about a free meal at 99, their favorite restaurant, after receiving a gift card.

“The Make A Difference campaign is a huge community service,” said Stauffer. “Every year it grows exponentially. It will be an amazing Christmas for Tim and Connie and those who receive overflow gifts.”

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