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How to help the helpers

Locally and nationally, nonprofit organizations are being stretched to their limits by the COVID-19 pandemic. Social services groups are helping more people with fewer donations, and entertainment organizations have been forced to cancel dozens of events in accordance with the state's executive orders.

In the spirit of the annual Make a Difference series, Day staffers have collected a sample of what area nonprofits need to get through the ongoing crisis. If your organization would like to be included, email Amanda Hutchinson at


Always Home, 119 High St., Mystic.

Monetary donations to support families at risk of or experiencing homelessness. Through its Mother's Day campaign, the organization is suggesting a $25 donation to help families pay for rent, utilities, food, childcare or other expenses. Donations may be made at or by calling the office at (860) 245-0222.

The Arc Eastern Connecticut

iPads and headphones with 3.5 mm jacks, which clients and team members are using to stay connected. Donors also can give puzzles, games, crafts and gardening supplies for use in the agency's 23 residential homes, and volunteer performers are wanted to give an outdoor show to residents inside. Donations can be made by calling Chief Development Officer Andrea Kaiser at (860) 889-4435, ext. 118; via mail to 125 Sachem St., Norwich, CT 06360; or online at

Care and Share, Inc. of East Lyme, 12 Roxbury Road, Niantic

Donations of nonperishable food items and $10 Stop and Shop gift cards can be dropped off 10 a.m.-noon on Tuesdays or 2-4 p.m. Wed.-Fri., and monetary donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 114, East Lyme, CT 06333. Clients in East Lyme and Salem who need help from the food pantry can leave a message at (860) 739-8502.

Covenant Shelter

Donations of paper products, disposable utensils and containers, and other food service items to continue serving fully cooked meals to its older and medically compromised clients, who have been moved out of the shelter to hotels to reduce the risk of virus transmission. Donations may be delivered to the office at 42 Jay St. in New London.

FRESH New London, which runs community gardening programs throughout New London

A dollar-for-dollar match from Sustainable CT Community Match Fund through May 15. Donors can find the campaign, as well as ongoing donation information, at FRESH New London is also selling spring seedlings online or its full collection during the May Plant Sale, which runs May 23-30.

Gemma E. Moran United Way/Labor Food Bank Food Bank, which distributed the equivalent of more than 2 million meals and snacks through 76 distribution sites last year.

To make a donation visit or mail a contribution to P.O. Box 375, Gales Ferry, CT 06335. To volunteer or find more information visit

The Groton Department of Human Services, which runs the Groton Food Locker

Donations of nonperishable food as well as gift certificates to local restaurants and grocery stores. The department also is offering short-term counseling for children and adults living in town. Donors should call at (860) 441-6760 before dropping off items at the office, at 2 Fort Hill Road, as it is closed to the public; gift cards and checks also may be mailed to that address.

The Groton Senior Center

Donations of nonperishable food items as well as paper products and cleaning supplies to help seniors sanitize their home spaces. The center also is collecting money for its meal fund and cards to cheer up its clients. Items can be dropped off at 102 Newtown Road from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Checks also may be mailed to that address, and people wishing to donate via credit card can call (860) 441-6785.

H.O.P.E., Inc.

Monetary donations are accepted to provide rent assistance to low-income tenants who are out of work or are taking care of a sick family member. Donations may be mailed to 187 Williams St., New London, CT 06320.

The Ledyard Food Pantry, run in partnership with the Ledyard Congregational Church

An up-to-date list of most-needed items are on its Amazon wish list at; Amazon and Target e-gift cards can be emailed to Physical donations can be dropped off at 722 Colonel Ledyard Highway from 9 to 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday and on Thursdays from 4 to 6 p.m.

Ledyard Citizens Helping Animals in Need

Needs 3- to 5-pound bags of dry dog food, canned dog food, dog treats and gift cards to stores that sell pet food; C.H.A.I.N. doesn't have a dedicated building, so donors can call President Cindy Eilenberger at (860) 287-3504 to coordinate a contactless pickup or delivery. Monetary donations can be made at

Madonna Place, Inc., 240 Main St., Norwich
Monetary donations to help families cover basic expenses can be made at Donations of masks, hygiene products, baby wipes, formula, nonperishable food and grocery store gift cards are also accepted; donors can call (860) 886-6600 to arrange a drop-off.

Montville Senior and Social Services

Grocery store gift cards, especially those for Stop & Shop, as well as nonperishable food items such as cereal, pasta and peanut butter and monetary donations. Donations may be dropped off at 12 Maple Ave. in Uncasville; donors can call (860) 848-0422 for more information.

Mother's Retreat in Groton

Baby items such as diapers, wipes, clothing, toys, linens and furniture to help several clients who will be giving birth in the next few months. The agency also is accepting clothing and activities for children under age 5, art and craft supplies and hygiene products for women, and gardening supplies for all ages. Donors can call (860) 405-2107, ext. 7100, to arrange a drop-off.

The New London Homeless Hospitality Center

Lysol, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, gloves and masks are needed. The shelter is located at 325 Huntington St., New London, CT 06320. Email, call (860) 439-1573 or visit

New London Meal Center

The meal center is in need of food donations and evening volunteers. Contact or call (860) 536-4784. For more information, visit

Noank Community Support Services

Household items including cleaning supplies, paper products and linens, as well as masks and fresh and nonperishable food items; a complete list is available at Donors can call Executive Director Regina Moller at (860) 910-1873 to arrange a delivery, or checks can be mailed to 306 Thames St., Groton, CT 06340.

Norwich Human Services

Gift cards for groceries, gas and other stores, as well as phone cards, are needed. Cash donations are welcome for prescription copays, rent or car payments, and the city's recreation department also is accepting money for summer camp scholarships. Donations can be mailed to Norwich Human Services, 100 Broadway, Norwich, CT 06360, or dropped off at that address; donors are asked to note any preferences to which populations they want their contribution to help.

Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center

Monetary donations are accepted at or by sending a check to P.O. Box 1697, Pawcatuck, CT 06379. Clients may call (860) 599-3285 for unemployment, heating or other financial assistance.

Riverfront Children's Center

Store gift cards, fresh fruit and vegetables, 1% milk, disinfecting wipes, and diapers, especially sizes 4 and 5. Cash donations for the Riverfront Family Hardship Fund also are accepted. Donors can call (860) 445-8151 or email Michele Dean at; checks may be mailed to 476 Thames St., Groton, CT 06340, or dropped off between 8:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

S.T.E.P.S. Inc.

Monetary donations to support after-school empowerment programs for girls in grades 6-12 in Groton, New London and Norwich. The program is currently operating online as schools are closed. Contributions can be made at

Waterford Youth and Family Services

Fresh and nonperishable food for the Waterford Inter-Faith Food Locker, as well as monetary and gift card donations. Checks and gift cards may be mailed to 200 Boston Post Road, Waterford, CT 06385, or donors can call the office at (860) 444-5848 to schedule an appointment to drop off donations. Volunteers also are needed to assist with food distribution events.


The Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestra

Subscriptions and individual tickets are available for its 2020-21 season. Current ticketholders can donate the value of their unused tickets back to the orchestra or turn them in to be used for essential workers next season. The orchestra also is hosting a virtual gala fundraiser on June 6. For more information, visit or call the New London office at (860) 443-2876.

The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center

Memberships can be purchased through summer 2021 at or by mailing the development office at 305 Great Neck Road, Waterford, CT 06385. Patrons also can purchase O'Neill merchandise online at Gene's General Store. The center, which will be running its 2020 season events online, continues to provide updates via social media.

The Florence Griswold Museum, 96 Lyme St., Old Lyme

A Preparedness Fund will help the museum stay operational during the closure. Donations as well as membership renewals can be completed in the museum's online shop at, which also offers items related to its exhibitions and other products.

The Garde Arts Center

Tickets are for sale for future events at or by calling the box office at (860) 444-7373, ext. 1, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Donors also may contribute a tax-deductible gift or drop off masks and thermometers for staff and volunteers returning to work at the theater, 325 State St. in New London. The office, as well as the marquee, also are available for rent.

Goodspeed Musicals

Donations for its Footlights Fund can be made at, and patrons can purchase a gift card for tickets to a future show. Those with unused tickets also may donate those to the office. Donations may be mailed to P.O. Box A, Main Street, East Haddam, CT 06423, or call the box office at (860) 873-8668.

Hygienic Art

Hygienicards, a 54-piece set of playing card-sized works by local artists, are for sale for $25, which supports both the gallery at 79 Bank St. in New London and the artists to be featured in the 2021 exhibitions. Donors can visit to purchase a set or give a general donation.

The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, 300 Main St., Old Saybrook

Accepting new memberships and renewals. Tickets for future events or general gift certificates are available for purchase at or by calling (860) 510-0453.

La Grua Center

Monetary contributions are needed as well as volunteer help from individuals in the community who have experience with livestreaming services. Donations can be made online at or by mailing a check to P.O. Box 342, Stonington, CT 06378.

Lyman Allyn Art Museum, 625 Williams St., New London

Donate, start or upgrade a membership, or purchase tickets to the Soaring and Scrumptious outdoor fundraiser this summer. All can be done at

Mystic Museum of Art, 9 Water St., Mystic

Purchase or renew a membership, which will be valid through October 2021, or shop in the museum's online store at

Musical Masterworks, based at the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme

Donations are sought to support its 2020-21 season, which is slated to run from October through next May. Donations can be made online at

The New London Maritime Society, located at the Custom House Maritime Museum, 150 Bank St., New London

A membership campaign is on GoFundMe where each membership purchased or renewed sponsors two additional memberships for essential workers. Information on the campaign, the society's Amazon Smile donation information and general donation link are available at

The Norwich Arts Center, 62 Broadway

Memberships, sponsorships and donations at The gallery also is offering artwork, handmade gifts and greeting cards; interested patrons should email or call (860) 887-2789.

The Stonington Historical Society, based at the Palmer House

Museum merchandise at Patrons also may donate or purchase a membership, which confers free admission at the Palmer House and Lighthouse Museum once restrictions are lifted, online or by mailing P.O. Box 103, Stonington, CT 06378.

Writer's Block InK, 12 Masonic St., New London

Donations may be made at


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