Since the early 1990s, Night to Care has helped make the holidays a little brighter for North Branford and Northford families in need. Started by Judy Bannon and Janet Ferraro, the program, which is run out of , has 68 families on its list this year, which includes 131 children, which is up five families from last year.
Jackie Rodriquez is chairing this year’s Night to Care with Lynn Riordan of , which recently to the cause. Nicole Park and Julie Shadman take care of organizing the gifts, while Sherry Ardine works with the families in need.
“Night to Care is a heartfelt event run by Jerome Harrison School,” said Rodriquez. “It is a food and gift drive benefiting North Branford and Northford families in need.”
Choose a Snowman
In the lobby of Jerome Harrison, there is a snowman display with each snowman representing one of the 131 children in need with the gender and age of the child on each.
Rodriquez has seen the numbers grow over the years. When she started volunteering with the program a few years ago, there were just 18 familes; two years ago, there were 33 in need. This year’s number more than doubled, meaning Night to Care needs even more people to give.
“Anybody can come to pick a snowman–all town members are welcome to participate,” said Rodriquez.
In addition to the gift drive, Night to Care also collects food for holiday meals. On Sunday, Nov. 13, there will be a in Branford from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to collect non-perishable food items, not only for the 68 families but also for the North Branford Food Bank.
Monetary donations are also accepted as the food boxes also include a Stop & Shop gift card for families to purchase a turkey or other main course.
“Matt’s Mission very generously donated $1,500 to purchase more food items if need be and Stop & Shop gift cards for each family’s holiday dinner,” said Rodriquez.
On Friday, Dec. 9, JHS students and volunteers gather to wrap the gifts and box the food. The 2nd-grade chorus will sing holiday songs directed by Mrs. Humphrey and Mrs. Bannon.
"During times like these, it is heartwarming to see our community pull together supporting such a wonderful event such as Night to Care," said Rodriguez. "People go above and beyond."