Les Russo, 93 years young, has lived at Parsonage Cottage for over 10 years. Like everyone, Les and his fellow Parsonage residents are looking to a return to normalcy, which includes getting out and about in Greenwich.
Penny Lore, Executive Director of Parsonage, said, “They not only want to be active and involved, but they also need to be.”
Unfortunately, Parsonage’s primary mode of transportation, a van that can transport small groups of residents to various sites, is over 18 years old and, while well-loved, needs replacing.
“The Parsonage community desperately needs new, safe and reliable transportation. Everyone is ready to try and resume pre-pandemic activities safely, and that includes the residents of Parsonage Cottage,” Lore continued.
External activities and engagement are essential for the elderly. Parsonage Cottage has launched a community-wide fundraising campaign to make new, accessible transportation a reality in response to the need.
“The staff at Parsonage prides itself on doing our very best to give the residents what they need and keep them safe,” said Lore. That effort became even more challenging during the pandemic and especially under lockdown. “Now, we want to be able to take them to the beach, Greenwich Avenue, the doctor’s office, church, and productions performed by students at Greenwich Country Day, as a few examples,” stated Lore.
Since launching the campaign, Parsonage has received several very generous donations, including a $10,000 gift from The Resource Foundation. Alison Allen, the foundation’s Managing Director, said that the Resource Foundation has always been impressed with the way Parsonage cares for its residents. When she heard about their need, she said, “it’s only natural to want to support this effort. What can be more basic than supporting our seniors and giving them the best quality of life.”
Other residents have leaned in thoughtfully contributing to the effort. Parsonage Cottage, a division of Greenwich Communities, is more than halfway to its $60,000 goal, but they still need support and are asking the Greenwich community to join their van effort.
The youth in town are also supporting the cause. Lore expressed gratitude for the Parsonage Cottage Junior Advisory Boards, one comprised of high school students and the other of 8th graders, whose support has significantly positively impacted the residents, especially during the pandemic.
The 8th grade Junior Advisory Board includes seven 8th grade members, including Hayden Santry, Holden Vintiadis, Jack Peters, Winston Rose, Will Stern, Peter Costantino, and Owen Lavin.
Inspired by the love of his grandparents, Holden Vintiadis has been supporting Parsonage Cottage, which he described as a caring elderly home for residents who may not have a place to stay or someone to care for them.
Holden and the Parsonage Cottage Junior Advisory Boards have been planning and running events at the Cottage over the last few years, such as a mini-golf Tee Party fundraiser in June 2021 and the Parsonage Cottage Holiday Parade and Gift delivery just last month for Christmas. “My favorite was the mini-golf charity event because I had a team with my friends and the course was really fun,” Holden said.
Now their attention has turned to a dire need for the residents, “we saw the old van, and it made us realize how important it is that they have a safe way to get around town,” explained Holden, adding that the 8th grade Junior Advisory Board will continue to support Parsonage after the van campaign with an additional fundraiser this spring.
The effort to raise funds to replace the van is not the first time the group answered a need at Parsonage. In the spring of 2020, a technology drive by the Parsonage Cottage Fundraising and Junior Advisory Boards resulted in 30 donated iPads, which helped residents stay connected to families, friends, and the outside world during the pandemic.
“We miss seeing all the various attractions that Greenwich offers,” added Russo. “Being able to visit all the wonderful parts of Greenwich, to interact with new people and just to get a change of scenery really makes a regular day something special. I can’t wait to get mobile again!”
To make a secure donation, visit Give our Seniors a Lift – Van Campaign
or send your mail your tax-deductible contribution to Friends of Parsonage Cottage, 88 Parsonage Road, Greenwich, CT 06830, attention Penny Lore.
For questions, contact Penny Lore at (203) 869-6226 or [email protected].