PLAINVILLE – The Petit Family Foundation has decided to dial back fundraising amid the coronavirus pandemic, but continues to be supportive of community efforts and initiatives.
Rep. Bill Petit, who also represents Plainville and New Britain in the state legislature, said that the foundation was mostly “hunkered down” right now, like many others. However, he is still looking into ways his Foundation can help out.
“Our board has decided to put fundraising on hold right now since everyone is putting their money toward helping others,” he said. “To that end, we have provided a $1,000 donation to ‘Mask Force CT’ which includes several members of the Polonia Business Association in New Britain. This group has been sewing cotton masks for nursing homes and first responders. We wanted to put them over the top of their fundraiser goal and from what I understand a lot of people have also been donating them materials.”
Petit said that groups such as Mask Force CT who are helping out in this troubled time show the “true character of America.” The group can be found on Facebook and is coordinated by Margaret Malinowski, owner of Staropolska Restaurant in New Britain.
“They want to help those men and women on the front lines who need personal protective equipment,” said Petit. “These are not ‘medical masks’ but they will help especially in light of the fact that people are now being advised to wear a mask if they go outside. It is an important effort.”
When previously contacted by New Britain Herald reporter Catherine Shen, Malinowski explained that the Mask Force came about when friends found out that medical workers at Middlesex Hospital needed protective equipment. She was then approached to see if she would be interested in helping and created the Facebook group. She is also encouraging donations to be dropped off at the restaurant.
The group has made over 700 masks that are being donated to the Hartford Healthcare system, St. Francis Hospital, the Hospital for Special Care, UConn Hospital, Yale New Haven Hospital, Monsignor Bojnowski Manor, and others, including convalescent homes.
“This has turned into something that I didn’t expect,” Malinowski said previously. “It’s amazing to see people coming together to do something in a time of need. It restores your faith in humanity. The worst part of it all is the fear. We don’t know what’s going to happen and people are scared. The biggest thing that we can do now is to stay home for our healthcare workers and keep the masks for people in the front line.”
The Petit Family Foundation is also looking into ways that it can continue its Michaela’s Garden Project. The project sees “Four O’ Clock” flowers, the favorite of the late Michaela Rose Petit. They are planted in her memory in gardens throughout the state and used for educational programs, such as “Roots” in New Britain and Southington’s Agriscience program at the high school.
“We used to have big planting days with dozens of people,” said Petit. “Now it will probably be done by Kim, myself, William and other members of the family in smaller groups.”
Due to large gatherings being canceled amid the pandemic, the Petit Family Foundation has canceled its large golf tournament fundraiser at Farmington Country Club this year. The Petit Family Foundation’s other major fundraiser, the annual road race in Plainville currently set for July 19, is “up in the air.”
“We are meeting at the end of the month and we will probably have to make a decision by May,” said Petit.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.