At last night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, leaders of Make Wilton Beautiful, the recent fundraising campaign to bring back hanging flower baskets to Wilton Center, told the Board they were surprised with how the effort turned out. Run by the Wilton Garden Club and other volunteer residents, they raised three times what they needed.
Nan Merolla of the Wilton Garden Club told the selectmen that in all, the campaign raised about $12,000. Those donations will cover not only this year’s hanging basket program, but will enable the group to continue the program for the next two years without having to ask for more.
“We do not intend to do any further fundraising at this time,” Merolla said.
The hanging basket fundraising campaign had been started after a one year pause when fundraising fell off and previous supporters elected not to continue donating toward the effort. Several residents noticed the bare lampposts and spoke up to town officials.
Making Wilton Beautiful, Flower Baskets to Return
The campaign was co-chaired by Suzanne Knutson, president of the Garden Club, and Kelly Lash, who were not in attendance at last night’s meeting. First selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice noted that Lash was one of the people who wrote about the town not having baskets and then stepped up to volunteer to lead the effort with Knutson.
Clearly, many people in Wilton missed the hanging baskets, as more people donated than were expected or hoped for. Merolla said it was “heartwarming” to see.
“The donations for the baskets didn’t from just a handful of donors writing large checks. Rather they came from more than 120 individuals, families and businesses. Although we didn’t solicit donations from local merchants, many contributed quite generously anyway,” she said, adding, “It demonstrates a widespread desire for beautification across the community. It shows that people do care about the town’s appearance. We’re very grateful to everyone who made donations.”
Merolla said the donors will be thanked individually by letter or email, depending on the information the Garden Club has for each donor. She also extended thanks to local media, including GOOD Morning Wilton, for helping to publicize the fundraising campaign; Parks and Recreation employees, the Wilton Chamber of Commerce, Vanderslice, and Sarah Gioffre, who works in the first selectwoman’s office.
Merolla told the selectmen an anecdote about marching in this year’s Memorial Day Parade with the Garden Club, and hearing spectators from the curbside yelling, “Hi Garden Club, thanks for the hanging baskets!”