This column will run frequently each week, highlighting shorter announcements or updates, and help you get a quick start to the Wilton news of the day. Have a news tip, item or something you know people are chattering about? Email us at editor@goodmorningwilton.com.

State Farm’s Karen O’Brien Creates Quarterly ‘Give Back’ Charity Program

Only a few months past her first anniversary of opening an office in Wilton, State Farm agent Karen O’Brien has created a program to give back to the community and help local charities. She has created “Quotes for Good,” O’Brien selecting one local charity recipient each quarter and donating $10 for every insurance quote she provides in a given month. It was such a positive idea, State Farm adopted O’Brien’s Quotes for Good program and has spread it to other agents.

For her first go-round, O’Brien supported the Wilton Family YMCA‘s “Race for Chase” Triathlon Program, which honors the memory of 6-year-old Chase Michael Anthony Kowalski, one of the 26 victims of the Sandy Hook shooting on Dec. 14, 2012. Chase’s family started Race for Chase to commemorate his love of doing triathlons for kids. Race4Chase provides training and nutrition education to at risk children and prepares them to compete in the Race4Chase triathlon through a free, six-week camp offered at 15 YMCA’s throughout CT.

“Last summer, 54 children from South Norwalk, ages 6-12, attended the [Norwalk YMCA] camp,” O’Brien explains. “Three hours are spent on triathlon sports, which are biking, swimming and running. For many kids, this is their first camp experience.” The Norwalk YMCA is entering its 4th year of hosting the Race4Chase camp. The YMCA supplies the bikes, helmets and swimsuits, and donations are accepted to purchase these items. The YMCA works in collaboration with local businesses as well as the Norwalk and Wilton Police.

“Race4Chase is a great way to honor a young boy lost too soon and help children understand the importance of exercise and persistence,” O’Brien adds. “I couldn’t be more proud of this initiative and it’s an honor to be involved.”

The Painted Cookie Looks for Community Support to Win FedEx Grant to Expand Dairy Free & Gluten Free Options

Wilton’s local custom cookie business, The Painted Cookie, has been busy in the kitchen working on new recipes, including dairy-free and gluten-free cookie options. Owner Susan Schmitt is hoping Wilton customers will help her win a grant from the 2019 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest to help bring these recipes to the growing audience that needs them.

Schmitt’s kitchen is already nut free. But the dairy free and gluten free cookies she makes are currently prepared on equipment shared with batches that do include dairy and gluten. As a result, customers diagnosed as needing diets that are 100% free of dairy or gluten still can’t enjoy Painted Cookie treats.

That’s why Schmitt entered the 2019 FedEx Small Business Grant Contest, she says to continue her commitment to people with food allergies. If the Painted Cookie wins one of the grants offered, Schmitt can purchase new equipment that would be used exclusively with gluten-free and dairy-free items.

The FedEx small business grant programs allows people to vote once a day through April 1. All voting can be done online.