Fall 2009 Newsletter - PDF

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                                                            OPUS for Person-to-Person
                                                                        Fall 2009 Newsletter
     September 2009          www.opus4p2p.org

   The 7th Annual Big Rig Gig
                                                                             2009 Campership Picnic
    is on Sunday, October 4th!
                                                 On July 22nd, OPUS was once again thrilled and honored to treat 40 ROSSCO campers and
Get out your hard hats and mark your calen-      20 Horizon youth-group volunteers to a great afternoon of fun, food and games at the an-
dars! The 7th annual Big Rig Gig will be         nual OPUS Campership Picnic. Guests enjoyed the festivities on the lovely front lawn of
held Sunday, October 4, from 11 AM to 3          Saint Luke’s Parish. The kids had a ball playing tug-o-war, sack races and traditional lawn
PM at the Darien Town Hall — rain or             games of years past. The event was en-
shine. The event is a big hit for the entire     hanced with the addition of a new kara-
family. Kids of all ages can climb behind        oke dance party and the many toys and
the wheels of big trucks, play on bouncy         moon bouncies loaned to us from OPUS
castles, dance to musical entertainment by       board members, thank you! The many
the Bossy Frog Band, get their faces painted     wonderful Horizon volunteers helped the
– and so much more! Don’t miss out on            ROSSCO campers with arts and crafts
winning terrific items from the raffle and       including tattoos, sand and bead brace-
silent auction, and stay for a yummy lunch       lets, foam visors and sticker photo fun.
and snacks!                                      As in years past, the OPUS board came
                                                 out in large numbers to help serve the
Tickets are $35 for a family of 6 members        guests a delicious chicken tender lunch
($5 per additional family member). The           provided by Stew Leonard’s. The big hit
ticket price includes the bouncy castles,        of the day was the cold and yummy pop-
face painting and the Bossy Frog Band. Be        sicles that cooled everyone down during
sure to mark your calendars and buy your         the hot day.
tickets for this fun-filled, family day. Tick-
ets are available online at                      This annual event is a wonderful oppor-
www.opus4p2p.org.                                tunity for OPUS members to have a per-               ROSSCO campers line up
                                                 sonal contact with the children who di-
Volunteers are always needed and are wel-                                                             for a turn on the roller coaster
                                                 rectly benefit from our fundraising ef-
come. Please contact the Big Rig Gig Op-         forts. This year OPUS helped Person-to-
erations Co-Chairs Caroline Hanley at            Person send 450 children from low-income families to over 20 local day camps. The camp
cnhealy@yahoo.com or 202-2509, Katie             experience for these children is a necessity, not a luxury, as the camps provide a safe, fun
Kern at crashdavis@optonline.net or              and nurturing environment for children while their parents are at work. It is through Bal-
202-9248 and Lauren White at                     loon Day that the most funds for the OPUS Campership program are raised. Through the
laurenwhite2@gmail.com or 202-7249 to            2009 Balloon Day event, OPUS was thrilled to contribute $17,000 to Person-to-Person for
find out how you can help.                       the Campership program.

                                                    MARK YOUR CALENDAR

 •The 7th annual Big Rig Gig on Sunday, October 4, from 11 AM-           •The OPUS Membership Meeting on Wednesday, November
  3 PM at the Darien Town Hall. For more information contact Kait-        4, at 9:30 AM in the St. Luke’s Parish Hall. For more informa-
  lyn Troy at kaitlyntroy@optonline.net.                                  tion, contact Alicia Lyon at alicialyon@optonline.net.
 •The popular Fall Member/Guest event on Thursday, October               •An evening with New York Times best-selling author Wally
  22, at 7:30 PM. For more information, contact Debi McGahren at          Lamb on Thursday, November 11, at 7:00 PM at St. Luke’s
  debim1@optonline.net.                                                   Parish Hall. For more information, contact Marla Chandler at
 •Baby Basics Drive on Saturday, October 24, from 10AM –
  3PM at Shaw’s in Goodwives Shopping Center. Gently used baby           •The Person-to-Person Toy Store from Wednesday, Decem-
  supplies especially onsies, crib sheets, new pacifiers or bottles,      ber 16, through Saturday, December 19. For more informa-
  winter clothing and sleepers are greatly appreciated. For more info     tion, contact Alicia Lyon at alicialyon@optonline.net.
  contact Kristine Miller at kristine_p_miller@hotmail.com.
                                 Co-Presidents’ Message

                                                                                                                                     2010 OPUS
Welcome to the 2009-2010 OPUS for Person-to-Person                                                                                  Beach Benefit
year! We’re thrilled to be kicking off the year with such a
wonderful group of caring volunteers who are working                                                           5.1.10
hard to make all of our fundraisers a tremendous success.                                                                            We are thrilled to
While the economy still presents challenges, we are                                                                                  announce that the
strongly encouraged by the level of commitment,                                                                                      2010 OPUS for
excitement and creative ideas from everyone. Together we                                                                             Person-to-Person
are making a tremendous difference in the lives of over                                                   Annual Spring Benefit will take place on
22,500 people each year.                                                                                  May 1st and is moving to the Wee Burn
                                                                                                          Beach Club in Rowayton. There are no
We are proud to announce that after 13 years of service
                                                                                                          lack of creative ideas surrounding what we
OPUS has reached the $2 million milestone in funds we
have provided Person-to-Person! Not only does this
                                                                                                          are affectionately referring to as the
speak volumes of the work you are all doing, but it is a                                                  “Benefit at the Beach” and planning is un-
tribute to the alumnae who established such a strong              Missy Radin & Liz Koons                 derway for what’s sure to be a terrific eve-
foundation that we continue to build upon today.                                                          ning!

Another exciting milestone is that Person-to-Person is finally going through a much-needed                If you are interested in joining the fun in
renovation and expansion to allow easier access for their clients to receive food, clothing and other     planning this event you can sign up at the
emergency assistance. Our Baby Basics Loft will have a new home in this new facility with more            OPUS Member/Guest event on October
storage for the growing number of requested layettes. We will need your help getting organized and        22nd or to learn more, contact Kerri Larkin
stocking up!!                                                                                             at 202-2527 or klarkin913@yahoo.com.
Below are some new changes and additions we are making to help keep our membership informed:

    NEW OPUS All Membership Meeting on Wednesday, November 4, at 9:30 AM in the St.                          Donate a bag of groceries to the
    Luke’s Parish Hall. All OPUS members and anyone interested in learning more about OPUS are
    invited to come and hear updates about the activities that we are planning for the coming year. It                      Person-to-
                                                                                                             food pantry at Person-to-Person
    will help all of our members understand who we help, how we help and how to get involved on
    any level! Coffee and refreshments will be served. We encourage all members to attend.                Last year Person-to-Person provided over
                                                                                                          100,000 meals to 3,096 families. This year,
    Improved interactive website and new online directory at www.opus4p2p.org . With the                  the demand is even greater and we need
    help of OPUS members Katie Adams and Katharine Calderwood, we now have a more                         your support. Please help us feed those in
    informative and interactive website allowing each OPUS member to access our online directory.         need by donating funds for a bag of grocer-
    Members can now log into the site to update personal information, read news on a message board,
                                                                                                          ies. 100% of your donation will go directly
    purchase tickets, pay dues and make donations through PayPal.
                                                                                                          to the Person-to-Person food pantry. Gro-
    New Alumna Benefactor Membership Level which was created for OPUS Alumna members                      cery bags may be purchased for $10 each at
    who, after 4 years of membership, are no longer able to remain actively involved in our               www.opus4p2p.org.
    fundraising efforts, but still want to support OPUS. For more information please contact Dana
    Marchiony at djmarch@optonline.net.

In addition to all of the exciting new things happening in OPUS, we are looking forward to a fabulous
fall with so many ways for everyone to get involved. We want to thank the Big Rig Gig event co-
chairs, Tina Devir, Kim Sullivan and Beth Williams and their committee chairs and members who
have been hard at work during the summer months to make October 4th a big success. Please see our
                                                                                                                                     OPUS Fall
list of events coming this fall in the "Mark Your Calendar" section of this newsletter to learn more!                                  Member/
We also want to thank everyone who volunteered their time to help at the annual Campership Picnic in                                 Guest Event
July. At this event, OPUS volunteers had the privilege of meeting over 40 children who we help to
send to camp each year. For many of us, meeting these kids helped drive home why we dedicate so
much of our time to OPUS. It was a truly special day with lots of fun for everyone. A special thanks to
Alicia Lyon for organizing the day!
                                                                                                          Be sure to mark your calendars for this
As we enter our 14th year, we want to thank everyone for their ongoing support of OPUS for Person-        year’s Fall Member/Guest event. We have
to-Person. As demand at Person-to-Person continues to grow, we ask you all to please continue your        an exciting evening planned, which will
support, and also help to spread the word about OPUS. With your help, regardless of how large or          take place on Thursday, October 22, at the
how small, the lives of the more than 22,000 clients whom Person-to-Person serves each year can be        home of Gretchen Davis at 74 Salisbury
changed for the better.                                                                                   Road. The festivities will begin at 7:30 PM
                                                                                                          Current members and women looking to
We hope you will contact us with any questions, ideas or feedback throughout the year.                    become involved with OPUS for Person-to-
                                                                                                          Person will be treated to a fun girls night
                                                                                                          out! Please RSVP for you and your guest(s)
Liz Koons (koons@optonline.net) and Missy Radin (missyradin@optonline.net)                                to Pam Cappella 656-0072 or
Co-Presidents of OPUS for Person-to-Person                                                                cappella71@optonline.net.

                                OPUS Author Event                                                  Welcome New OPUS Members
                 Who needs Oprah--when you have OPUS?                                                       Anne Barnard
                                                                                                            Hope Barton
                     Back by popular demand, OPUS will be hosting our 2nd Author Event
                                                                                                             Libbie Bock
                     on Thursday, November 11, at 7 PM in Saint Luke's Parish Hall. We
                     are excited that best selling author Wally Lamb is coming to Darien to              Allison Boeckmann
                     share his latest novel and lend a helping hand to Person-to-Person.                 Colleen Davenport
                     The author of “She’s Come Undone” and “I Know This Much Is                             Susan Demark
                     True,” both selections of Oprah’s Book Club that spent considerable                   Katriena Devlin
                     time on the New York Times best-seller lists, Lamb has just released
   Wally Lamb                                                                                                Sara Ernst
                     his newest novel, “The Hour I First Believed" in paperback.
                                                                                                             Jennifer Hite
And what about the novel itself? Over the course of more than 700 pages, the narrative
                                                                                                              Kelly Kelly
takes on major events (the Columbine High School shootings, the Iraq war, Hurricane
Katrina) and weighty issues (motherhood, marriage, alienation, psychological trauma, drug                    Nicole Knox
addiction, chaos theory, prison reform, grief, the connection between ancestry and identity                   Beth Lane
— to name just a few.)
                                                                                                           Laura O'Grady
Get your copy now at Barrett Books and get reading--we'll see you in November for what is                  Pamela Prichard
sure to be an enlightening conversation with one of America's most revered writers of our
                                                                                                             Jill Stelben
time. Tickets will be available online at www.opus4p2p.org and at Barrett Books.
                                                                                                          Jen Smith-Tunnell

                  OPUS Elves Needed                                                                  New Alumnae Benefactors
                                                                                                             Stacie Allen
While Santa and his elves are busy getting ready for the Holidays                                           Brooke Beck
at the North Pole, Person-to-Person needs our help here! The an-
nual Toy Store at Saint Luke’s Parish in Darien will be open this                                            Kelly Belloli
year from December 16th through the 19th to provide new toys                                                Katie Benson
and books to low income families from Stamford and Norwalk.                                                 Nicole Eades
Last year 1,600 children received a new toy and book, and 451
families received a board game or family gift to share. The joy                                              Susan Hamill
brought to all these children from the Toy Store is immeasurable,                                           Kelly Hoffman
especially in these tough economic times.                                                                 Jennifer Kennedy
This is an extraordinary opportunity for OPUS members to work                                             Whitney Lancaster
with the Person-to-Person clients and assist them in picking out gifts for their children, gifts           Barbara Moody
that they would not be able to otherwise afford. We are asking that each OPUS member
donate a few hours of their time to come help wrap gifts on the December 16th wrap-up day,                 Elaine Pizzarelli
or come help the clients shop at the Toy Store December 17th through the 19th. Especially                    Amy Powless
valuable are volunteers who can speak Spanish with the clients. Volunteering in the Toy
                                                                                                          Stacey Sauerberg
Store is a great way to help remind us all the true meaning of the Christmas Season. Please
look out for upcoming sign-up information coming via e-mail, the OPUS website, and post.                    Nicole Stone
If you are interested or have questions about helping at this year’s Toy Store, please contact               Kelly Rouse
Alicia Lyon at 203-202-9410 or alicialyon@optonline.net. Ho! Ho! Ho!
                                                                                                         Lia Von Stuelpnagel

                                                    OPUS Launches Coat Drive

The last days of summer are but a memory and soon the leaves will start to change. As you get your kids ready for the coming snow and
cold, please think about children and families who will be struggling during the coming months with the cold weather. You can help!
OPUS will be spearheading a new clothing drive for Person-to-Person by having our very own coat drive. We will be accepting both gently
used and new coats for children and adults throughout the fall and OPUS will deliver them to Person-to-Person in late October. The follow-
ing is a list of places and events where you can bring your coats for donation:

                  October 4th — Big Rig Gig                                   October 24th – Baby Basic Drive at Shaw’s

                  October 22nd – Fall Member/Guest Event                      November 4th – OPUS Membership Meeting

And feel free to drop any coats at Alicia Lyon’s home: 11 Overbrook Lane

Thank you for helping to make a difference!

                                                            Did You Know...
•    Last year P2P provided assistance to over 22,000 people in        •    With school starting P2P is in need of backpacks, children's
     lower Fairfield County through emergency assistance, Cam-              clothing and school supplies.
     pership and scholarship programs.
                                                                       •    Local families have been burdened with a 10% increase in utility
•    P2P sent 450 children of low-income families to camp this              bills. P2P provides assistance to families unable to afford this
     year.                                                                  increase.

•    The OPUS Baby Basics program provided over 300 layettes           •    This Fall, as many as 1.5 million jobless Americans will exhaust
     for newborns last year.                                                their unemployment insurance benefits. As benefits run out and
                                                                            unemployment rates stay high, the demand for emergency assis-
•    The demand for food at P2P is up 32% over last year.                   tance could increase dramatically.

    OPUS for Person-to-Person’s Annual Balloons for Campers Day                                                         NEW Annual
    Event Celebrating 41 Years of Campership Raised Over $17,000                                                            OPUS
On May 16th, more than 400 OPUS red balloons were flying high in the Darien                           11.4.09             Membership
skies. The 2009 OPUS for Person-to-Person’s Annual Balloons for Campers
Day Event raised over $17,000. Thanks to the hard work of our co-chairs
Alex Eising, Sara Franzese, and Diana Nehro, board members, and count-
less other OPUS volunteers, all balloons were up and out starting at 6am!
                                                                                                The OPUS Board of Directors will be hold-
A big thanks also goes out to our corporate sponsor, Palmer’s Market for                        ing an annual Membership Meeting on
their generous donations of all our supplies, and St. Luke’s for sharing their                  Wednesday, November 4, at 9:30 AM in
space with us for the morning’s “inflation station”. Many thanks to all the                     the St. Luke’s Parish Hall. This will be an
Block Captains and to the members of the community who participated in this                     informative meeting with an opportunity for
great event. Each donation helped send 450 children to summer camp. What a                      all members and potential members to gain
difference it makes in their lives.                                                             a better understanding of who we help, how
We are gearing up for 2010’s Balloon Day with co-chairs Caroline Hanley and                     we help and how to get involved on any
Amy Walton. Mark your calendars for May 2010 and remember to sign up to be a Block              level! In addition to covering an overview
Captain!                                                                                        of OPUS and how the funds we raise helps
                                                                                                Person-to-Person clients, we will also pro-
                                                                                                vide updates on our upcoming Balloon Day,
                                                                                                Spring Benefit, Baby Basics program and
                                          Baby Basics                                           exciting Membership Events. We will look
                            The Baby Basics program provides and delivers layette items         forward to hearing your feedback and an-
                            and other newborn essentials to new mothers in need at Stam-        swering any questions you may have.
                            ford and Norwalk Hospitals. Items in our layettes include new-
                            born outfits, sleepers, crib sheets, blankets, bibs, burp cloths,   Coffee and refreshments will be served. We
                            onesies, diapers, pacifiers, blankets and toys. Last year, Baby-    encourage all our members to attend and we
                            Basics delivered more than 300 layettes.                            look forward to seeing you there! Look for
                                                                                                email reminders this fall.
                            In addition to baby donations, we need people to volunteer as
                            Room Managers to help assemble these layettes. Demand for
                            our services has grown substantially this past year and we need                                 Holiday
your help! Being a Room Manager is a great hands-on volunteer experience that you can
do on your own time - even just once a year! Sign up with a friend or bring your child.                                    Shopping
Volunteer for a couple of hours one day or volunteer every day of the week that you pick.            12.3.09
You decide your week and your hours - it’s that easy and flexible! If you are interested in                                  Event
signing up for a week, please contact Meredith Carre at mcarre@optonline.net.

New and gently-used newborn items are always appreciated and can be dropped off at P2P.         OPUS for Person-to-Person will be hosting
We are especially in need of onesies, sleepers, winter clothing, crib sheets, new pacifiers     its Annual Holiday Shopping event
and bottles, and blankets.                                                                      Thursday, December 3, 2009. Join us at
                                                                                                the Darien Sport Shop for a day of holiday
We will be having our annual Shaw’s (Goodwives River location) Baby Basics drive on             shopping. OPUS members will be treated
Saturday, October 24, from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM, so any donations may be dropped off              to an exclusive "sneak peak" visit with
there as well.                                                                                  Santa Claus himself so bring the kids
                                                                                                along too! The Darien Sport Shop will gen-
Contact Meredith Carre (202-9131), Ellie Edwards (662-9206), or Kristine Miller                 erously give back 10% to Person to
(662-0464) with any questions.                                                                  Person on all purchases that day.

                          A Word from Ceci Maher, Executive Director of Person-to-Person

Dear OPUS,

As you know this year we have been very busy at Person-to-Person. We have seen an unprecedented number of clients coming for finan-
cial assistance, food and clothing. And, as unemployment benefits run out for many this fall, we can expect to see more clients turning to us
for help. We are working hard, with your help, to meet these needs!

While meeting immediate needs we are also working on improving how we provide our services. This fall we hope to open a new Food
Barn located in our former garage. Clients will be able to select the foods their families most want to eat, increasing the impact of food
orders and decreasing waste. In early winter we will take over the third floor of our building with the goal of renovation to provide in-
creased privacy for clients, in part through creating individual casework offices.

I am delighted to share the news that with our additional building space we will have a room dedicated to OPUS, including the important
Baby Basics program, housed on the second floor. It will be a warm place in winter to pack layettes. We look forward to seeing more of
OPUS at P2P.

There will also be additional volunteer opportunities in our new Food Barn – clients will need assistance choosing
food and we anticipate setting up shorter, time-limited shifts for volunteers to help; we hope you will consider
taking a shift.

Thank you for all you do through OPUS – we truly could not operate without your help! There are exciting times
ahead and I look forward to working with you this year.

All the best,
Ceci                                                                                                                   Ceci Maher

                                         OPUS 2009-2010 Board of Directors
Co-Presidents                                   Corporate Development                            Baby Basics
Liz Koons                     655-5088          Alex Eising                    355-2711          Meredith Carre                202-9131
Missy Radin                   202-9419          Sara Franzese                  588-0767          Ellie Edwards                 247-8677
                                                Cara Gately                    202-9501          Kristine Miller               662-0464
Vice President
Alicia Lyon                   202-9410          Fundraising Events
                                                                                                 External Publicity
                                                Kerri Larkin                   202-2527
                                                                                                 Christa McNamara              655-2997
Membership Events                               Kaitlyn Troy                   202-9708
Pam Cappella                  656-0072          Elena Whidden                  655-7100
Marla Chandler                656-3060                                                           Co-Treasurers
Debi McGahren                 655-0756          Event Logistics                                  Suzanne Bell                  359-3823
Justine Mullin                655-4554          Kallie Hapgood                 202-9354          Stacey Smith                  656-1158

Membership & Recruitment                        Internal Communications                          Secretary
Dana Marchiony                353-9600          Katie Adams                    655-1616          Barbara Napoli                202-9186

                                                                                       OPUS Board of Directors
                                                                        Front row left to right: Kristine Miller, Alicia Lyon, Missy
                                                                        Radin, Liz Koons, Suzanne Bell, Elena Whidden. Second
                                                                       row: Meredith Carre, Ellie Edwards, Stacey Smith, Barbara
                                                                      Napoli, Alex Eising. Third row: Katie Adams, Pam Capella,
                                                                       Marla Chandler, Cara Gately. Fourth row: Justine Mullin,
                                                                         Debi McGahren, Christa McNamara. Fifth row: Kallie
                                                                        Hapgood, Sara Franzese, Kaitlyn Troy, Dana Marchiony.
                                                                                    Missing from photo: Kerri Larkin

    O PU S f or Pe r s o n - t o - Pe r s on                                                    U.S. Postage
         F a l l 2 0 0 9 N e w s le t t e r                                                         PAID
                                                                                                 Darien, CT
             1864 Post Road                                                                     Permit No.116
      Darien, Connecticut 06820

                                               In This Issue
  2009 Big Rig Gig…………………….. 1                                       Fall Coat Drive………………………. 3
  Campership Picnic…………………... 1                                      New Members………………………... 3
  Upcoming Events……………………. 1                                         Did You Know……………………….. 4
  Presidents’ Message…………………. 2                                      Balloon Day…………………………... 4
  OPUS Beach Ball…………………….. 2                                        Baby Basics…………………………... 4
  Fall Member/Guest Event…………... 2                                   Fall Membership Meeting…………... 4
  Wally Lamb Book Signing………….. 3                                    A Word From Ceci Maher………….. 5
  OPUS Holiday Toy Store……………. 3                                     OPUS Board of Directors…………… 5

   Please visit our newly updated website at www.opus4p2p.org for the latest information and activities.

The purpose of OPUS is to support Person-to-Person through fundraising efforts and public awareness. Person-
to-Person is a volunteer driven, community based agency that through a sharing of goods and talents, responds to
our neighbors who lack basic human necessities or resources to improve their lives. Person-to-Person provides
rapid response to client emergencies, as well as access to interconnected services that support their clients’
journey towards self-sufficiency. These services include practical help, advocacy and education. As a nonprofit
agency, Person-to-Person serves over 22,000 people annually in the greater Stamford/Norwalk area.