For more than 25 years, Cider Mill School has worked with Wilton Social Services during the holiday season, with the help of Parks and Recreation and the Cider Mill PTA, to help several local families that receive assistance from the town. This year, the school “adopted” and helped 57 such Wilton families.

Each fall the Cider Mill classrooms “adopt” a local family anonymously. Social Services provides Cider Mill with the make-up of each family unit (for example, the family may be mother, father, and two children ages 2 and 4). The students in each class and their families work together to gather a variety of pantry items, gifts, gift cards, decorations, and other items such as cozy blankets and candles for the holiday season. In addition, donations from the annual PTA Turkey Trot are turned into grocery gift cards so that families can purchase perishables.

According to Colleen Fawcett, Wilton Youth Services coordinator, the project began as a way to ensure families had a lovely holiday meal; however, it has grown over the years due to the generosity of those gathering goods. Now families often have provisions through the entire holiday season, and more.

Once everything is collected and compiled by the schools, the Parks and Recreation staff do the heavy lifting, delivering to families, who Fawcett says, are “…always in good spirit, happy and willing to spread holiday cheer.”

“Each year I am so grateful for the entire Cider Mill Community, the Cider Mill PTA, and the Parks and Recreation Department, and am reminded of how working together can lighten the burden for the families we serve,” Fawcett adds, noting a quote from writer John Heywood:  “Many hands make light work.”

Pictured above at this year’s basket collection at Cider Mill on Wednesday, Dec. 15:  (Back row L-R) Colleen Fawcett, Wilton Youth Services coordinator; Officer Diane MacLean, Wilton Police Department; Pat D’Agostino, Parks and Grounds; Frank Lema, Parks and Grounds; and Catherine O’Keefe, Cider Mill assistant principal. (Front row, L-R) Mrs. Mason’s 3rd grade Cider Mill Students Caris Keller, Lucas Kwait, Lincoln Jones and Sofia Anello. Not pictured, but very much a helping hand is Pauline Monteleone, Cider Mill Guidance Department.