JoyRide might have started in Westport, but Wilton clearly has a place in JoyRide’s heart. The Wilton spin studio riders and instructors are the latest to add their voices to the #WeAreWilton effort, recording this video to show their support for the community.
Wilton resident Leti Manuel and her family have vacationed on St. John for more than 20 years, and over the years they have made many friends with island locals and business owners. After Hurricane Irma hit, she says they were very concerned about their friends.
“It took almost a month before we heard from any of them, only to find out that they were living without electricity or running water and cell service was very spotty. The island had a 6:00 pm curfew as well, which meant a lot of time spent in the dark. Many of the business and houses had been destroyed, including that of our youngest daughter’s friends, Asia and Kasha,” she says.
The Manuels learned that both St. John and nearby St. Thomas were in desperate need of children’s clothing–most of the children were still wearing the clothes they fled in from the hurricane. So Manuel brought the problem to her daughter’s soccer team, Wilton Girls U11 White, and asked them to help, knowing the opportunity to do something good for other children by providing clothing and shoes would be life-changing for everyone.
The players and their parents were very enthusiastic about the idea, so over three weeks they collected donations of supplies after practices and games. Then came what Manuel calls “the fun part.”
“During our End-of-the-Season soccer party, the girls decorated the boxes with markers and messages, such as, ‘Wilton Cares’ and ‘We hope you like the clothes,’ and ‘You are awesome!’ They signed their names to the boxes and packed in the clothes,” she recounts.
She asked another Wilton community member, local UPS Store owner Masoud Naguib, if he would like to participate by extending a discount on shipping costs, which he immediately agreed to do, giving an additional 5% off of the special rate being applied to shipments to the Caribbean by UPS.
Manuel was eager to share the story in order to shine a light on something positive.
“This is just one of the many reasons that I love Wiltonians. I want the people in Wilton that have been affected by the recent hateful words and symbols of others, to know that there are so many wonderful people here, including children, that still care about showing kindness and love for humanity,” she says.
Organizers of the Saturday’s March Against Hate told News 12 that Wilton town and school officials are taking proactive steps against recent acts of hate and intolerance in town, but “…felt something in addition was needed, some activity, of which the march is an attempt to do that.”
Pictured below are members of the Wilton High School girls basketball team and several of Wilton’s first responders, along with the Wilton Warrior mascot, at the Sneakers and Sirens 5K Run/Walk that was held on Sunday, Nov. 5. The inaugural event was organized by the Wilton High School basketball and track & field programs, with proceeds benefitting Wilton’s first responders, including Wilton Police Benevolent Association, Wilton Firefighters Local 2233, and Wilton Volunteer Ambulance. More than 120 participants enjoyed coming together as a community to raise approximately $3,500.