Branford Donors Provide $10,000 for 3rd Annual Holiday Gift Card Program
For a third year, $10,000 will help spread holiday cheer in the form of 500 $20 gift cards to local businesses; to be used by residents in need just in time for Christmas. The cards will be provided thanks to a grassroots effort started by a local attorney and supported by local donors, merchants and continued assistance from Branford's Parthenon Diner Restaurant.
East Haven attorney Andrew Amendola has once again gathered $10,000 in support from the combined contributions of several local business owners and individuals in order to offer $20 local gift cards that will be given out through local programs to residents supported by those groups. The effort follows up a third year of free Thanksgiving meals provided to Branford veterans, seniors and residents in need, through a similar effort organized by Amendola, community contributors and Parthenon Diner.
“I do this because to whom much is given, much is expected,“ said Amendola. ”I want to thank the donors and all of the supporters, past and present.“
Parthenon Diner will give one $20 gift card per family to each family that registered to receive a free Thanksgiving meal in November. Family representatives are welcome to call the diner at (203) 481-0333 to verify their information and receive a $20 holiday gift certificate (one per family). Parthenon is located at 374 East Main St.
In addition to working with Parthenon Diner, Amendola is coordinating with Branford Counseling & Community Services, Orchard House Adult Medical Day Center, Branford Early Learning Center, Feed Branford Kids, BHcare Branford Clothing Bank, and St. Mary's Church so that each will receive a number of $20 gift cards to give out to those they serve, as part of their holiday outreach programs.
In all, 500 $20 gift cards have been purchased for use in Branford businesses including those for Stop & Shop, Walmart, Kohls, Five Below and Parthenon Diner, said Amendola.
Amendola has also put together a similar program in East Haven with Twin Pines Diner and several local donors in order to provide another $10,000 in gift cards to assist East Haven seniors, veterans and residents in need.
Amendola thanks this year’s generous donors who joined in assisting him with making monetary contributions to bring about the 2022 holiday gift card effort in Branford. Program donors include John Sousoulas, owner of Parthenon Diner; Bob and Jeanette Mobeck; Patrick and Barbara Molloy; Elaine Parisi of Possessions; Mike Piagentini of Boar's Head Brand-Cross Island Provisions; Gary Vogel of Vogel Glass; Dr. Jack Kelley; Melodie Lane O'Connor; Anthony Sciallia of Marcum Group; Dino Maniatis of Hornets Nest; Don and Jesse Herzog of East River Energy; attorney Andrew M. Amendola; Whitney and Angela Mack of Whitney Mack Painting; Dave and Pam Snetro, John and Gerry Nicholson; Jamie Weiland of Coastal Cleaning, Mike Iannuzzi of Tyco; Ryan Torello and Bud Torello of Progressive Benefits Solutions; Crowley Family of Stony Creek Brewery; and generous anonymous donors.
Amendola started the free holiday meal program during Thanksgiving 2020, followed by the Christmas gift card program that December, and a free Easter meal program instituted in 2021. All three programs have continued annually in both towns, which was Amendola’s intent from the start.
As Branford restaurant that's been a part of the community for over 37 years, Sousoulas said he's grateful to be able to continue assist Amendola in an effort to support local residents who need a little help making ends meet.
“We’re very fortunate to be in the community for so many years, so we love to give back,” said Sousoulas. “This year, from what I’m seeing due to the rising costs of food, energy and gas, people are struggling more. I think that every little bit can help.”