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August 9, 2020
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Can All Do Our Part

Published May 20, 2020

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Branford is a restaurant town, and our restaurants are in trouble.

Dinner shifts that once required 16 employees are now down to three. Breakfast shifts that called for 11 workers now have just two. Across Branford, the story is the same: Restaurants are short-staffed, reliant on takeout, and facing an uncertain future in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Make no mistake, if these vital businesses fail, the town itself is in trouble. Restaurants shape the personality of our neighborhoods. They’re a source of energy and vitality, a place of social connection, celebration, and memories. And they’re a place of employment. How many of your readers, or their children, had first jobs at Lenny’s, the Parthenon, the Chowder Pot, or Marco’s?

To meet this challenge, Branford Rotary Club has launched HELP OUT–TAKE OUT, a public-private partnership based on a simple concept. We purchase gift cards from local restaurants, providing them with an immediate and sorely needed source of income. Then, through our partnership with Branford Counseling & Community Services, distribute the cards to Branford residents who’ve lost their jobs due to the pandemic. In other words, each dollar to HELP OUT–TAKE OUT delivers immediate support for two separate groups of people.

With donations from Rotary and the Branford Community Foundation, and contributions from people like your readers, the program has to-date raised more than $27,000. Our goal is $50,000, and we need support. Right now.

Yes, the future is uncertain, and no single program is going to change everything. But we can all do our part. We can each make an impact. Together, we can fight for Branford’s future by fighting for its restaurants and our neighbors who struggle to put food on the table. We encourage your readers to visit BranfordRotary.org and HELP OUT–TAKE OUT.

Richard Shanahan
Ellen Carucci
Co-chairs, HELP OUT-TAKE OUT
Branford Rotary Club