SOUTHINGTON, Conn. — A new organization is looking to help locals going through difficult times with day-to-day chores or tasks.
Members of the Miceli family formed Southington’s Neighbor Brigade chapter after a relative living in Massachusetts got help from her local chapter this winter while fighting cancer.
Annette Brown, of Bedford, died in March. She is the sister-in-law of Dawn Miceli, a Town Council member.
Another of Miceli’s sisters-in-law started Connecticut’s first Neighbor Brigade chapter in Suffield. Miceli said the family was moved by the support given to Brown.
Polly Mendoza, Neighbor Brigade executive director, said volunteers, who had helped the family with chores and tasks, showed up at Brown’s door around Christmas to sing carols.
“They tried to bring joy during a very difficult time,” Mendoza said.
This spring, Miceli and her cousin Jolene Miceli started forming a Southington chapter of the Neighbor Brigade.
Dawn Miceli said volunteers can choose to take tasks suited to them, whether it’s mowing the lawn, running errands or preparing a meal. The goal is to help families through a temporary crisis.
“When people go through a crisis, they may not know what’s available for them,” she said.
At least one resident has already been helped by the volunteers, Dawn Miceli said.
The Neighbor Brigade is based in Lexington, Massachusetts. The group’s founder Pam Washek wanted to continue the help and support she’d received when battling cancer, according to the Neighbor Brigade website. She died in 2012.
The organization has 31 chapters in Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
For aid requests or to volunteer, contact Jolene Miceli at 860-302-9319.
“I’m really excited to bring this program to my hometown to help our residents,” Jolene Miceli said. “I think it fits in perfectly with the other organizations our town has to offer to help our residents get the help they need.”
Dawn Miceli said Southington residents are eager to help, but sometimes don’t know how.
“This organizes the process,” she said.
The Southington group is looking for grants from the Community Foundation to fund the $50 background checks on new volunteers. Dawn Miceli said she doesn’t want the cost of that check, a necessity since volunteers will be in clients’ homes, to dissuade people from helping.
Information from: Record-Journal, http://www.record-journal.com