On Saturday, November 26th, 27 store owners on Main Street participated in Wreath Extravaganza, where each store decorates and auctions off a wreath to the highest bidder. Wreath Extravaganza takes place for two reasons: to encourage people to shop locally during the holidays and to fund Feed Branford Kids, which helps hungry children.
“Feed Branford Kids has gotten a lot of attention in our community, so we thought that if we were going to decorate these wreaths, it would be cool to auction them to the highest bidder and raise money for this charity,” said Karen Jensen, Director of James Blackstone Memorial Library.
Jensen co-founded this event with Lisa Daniele, co-owner of Polished Boutique. “It’s such a great cause. It’s something new, something fun and exciting and also a good way to draw people into their store,” Daniele said. “I really hope this encourages people to shop local this holiday season, and encourages people to get out and check out local merchants and even find a merchant they hadn’t shopped before.”
The Wreath Extravaganza will coincide with Branford’s tree lighting this year as well as with Small Business Saturday.
Daniele and Jensen hope this event will become an annual tradition, knowing its impact will be long-lasting. “When we think about the holidays and we think about people in need, kids who don’t have food on the weekends, just struck such a chord with us. I think it was something that some of the merchants, when they heard about it and they actually thought about it, it was heartbreaking,” Jensen said.
Feeding Branford Kids has been providing elementary schoolchildren with meals on the weekends for the past two years. The organization is entirely self-funded and relies on monetary and food donations and serves children in the town’s three elementary schools – John B Sliney, Tisko and Mary T. Murphy. The program started out with just seven children and now serves 156 students.
“This time of year is kind of difficult being the holidays. People have to make a choice between buying groceries or Christmas presents,” Feed Branford Kids volunteer Carol Stewart said.
Bids for the wreaths can be made until December 3rd and starts at $10, and will increase in $5 increments. Winners of the wreaths will be announced at 2pm on December 3rd at the Branford Art Center Gallery and Art Workshop located at 1227 Main Street. Winning bidders must be present to pay for the wreath and receive a receipt for pickup at the merchant’s location.
Wreaths available for auction will be located at the following store: Beneath the Gown; Branford Art Center Gallery and Art Workshop; Branford Building Supplies; Butterfly Effect Boutique; Ciarleglio Ralph Jewelers; Coldwell Banker; Common Grounds; CT Modern; Epic Hair Salon; Foe Foods & Catering; Fired Up!; James Blackstone Memorial Library; Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio; Myers Flower Shop; North Light Gallery & Framing; Pinky Nail & Spa; Polished Boutique; Possessions; P.S. Fine Stationers; Salon Refuge; Shoreline Chamber of Commerce; soundRUNNER; TGS Outdoors; Rock Garden; Towne Pharmacy; Trailblazer; and Vincent Palumbo Salon.
If residents wish to make a donation to Feed Branford Kids instead of placing a bid on a wreath, checks can be mailed to P.O. Box 651 in Branford. To make a food donation, email firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Feed Branford Kids, visit www.feedbranfordkids.com.