"I couldn't believe there were a bunch of people, letting us try coats on that we could have, for free. I wasn't sure why. I thought there was a reason or that we would owe something. You said you wanted us to stay warm. I was feeling like no one cared at that time, but you all did. I had to hug you. It was the first time I cried in a while, I want to do better!" - "JEREMY"
"You helped me with a room at a hotel during the coldest days of that winter when I was laid off and ill. The shelters close to me were full. Then I got very sick. You worked out something out with the owner and I'll never forget it. When I'm able to, I want to help others. I can't wait for that day - "PAUL"
"We didn't know the soup kitchen was closed. The sign on the door said they had a meeting. We were waiting and the doors were locked. I walked to get there and I was going to walk back home without dinner. Then, you showed up with your friends and brought so many pizzas and water. You ate with us, in the rain. You were like angels!" - SUSAN
"I appreciate the boots, the coat and all the other warm clothes, there is no doubt. But to hear you tell me that you believe in me and I can get through this made me feel I'm not as alone. When you helped me with the computer stuff for a job and housing, I realized I have a real opportunity here and I don't want to give up anymore." - JEFFREY
"That day I helped you all give out coats - that was something. It was a great feeling to give and something I've never been able to do" - JACOB
"You sat and talked with me. I was ashamed of my clothes. I don't have family. I lost my job, I didn't have an alarm clock or car so I was always late. Why try? No one believed I was trying. I saw your tears and it made me cry. I couldn't believe someone was listening and maybe on my side." - ALBERT
FROM COMMUNITY LEADERS...
"It was a scramble to provide just the basic necessities and the hardest thing, one of the most important things to find, were coats," Mayor Michael Pavia said. "Backyard Humanitarian came through, they came through in no time at all." Former Stamford, CT Mayor, Michael Pavia
“Backyard Humanitarian has touched the lives of many. I reached out to about 120 families at Stamford Youth Hockey to join in and it touched theirs as well.” Stamford Youth Hockey has helped with our collection drives; donating hundreds of coats, truckloads of food and also have provided Christmas gifts for almost 50 families. “We are very happy to be a part of this and I’m very proud of SYHA for their support of Backyard Humanitarian.”- Chris Berlingo, President, Stamford Youth Hockey Association Photo: Louise Moss (WMN), Chris Berlingo (SYHA) and Cathy Dumas (WMN)
“I want to take this opportunity to thank you and all of your volunteers for enriching our agency services with your donations and gifts of time. There are no words to express the gratitude with which your collection of family Christmas gifts and beautiful handmade women's scarves were received. Our mothers and children are warm because you cared enough to sponsor the coat drive. You've donated, hauled and moved equipment to make our office more comfortable and efficient. A heartfelt thanks to you all.”- Louise Moss, Executive Director, Women’s Mentor Network Photo: Cathy Dumas (WMN), Angela Malizia (BH) & Louise Moss (WMN)
“I first heard of the Backyard Humanitarians when some friends of mine were collecting coats for the needy in 2010. I rapidly saw this Stamford based grass roots organization grow and heard about all of the wonderful things they were doing within the community. As a Co-Chair for the Stamford Police Association Timothy Coppola Bike Helmet Giveaway I thought I would speak to BH and see if they could supply some volunteers that we needed for our event with about 2 weeks notice. Knowing that we typically have in excess of 70 volunteers I thought perhaps I could get a few from them. To my surprise at our helmet fitting class prior to the event we had between 40-50 volunteers show up to learn the proper way to fit a bike helmet. On event day there were even more that arrived (80 volunteers, kids and adults). No job was too big or too small for them. Those that were not fitting helmets helped us with crowd control and making sure all of the volunteers were hydrated and the list just goes on. Angela was a pleasure to work with and all of her volunteers were professional. I would not hesitate to enlist their help at our next event and any other charitable events going forward.”-Melodye Colucci Co-Chair SPA Timothy Coppola Bicycle Helmet Giveaway
“Before Hurricane Irene hit Connecticut, the Red Cross was putting materials in place for possible sheltering. As with any disaster, you are never certain if your volunteers will be available because they may very well be affected by the disaster and may not be able to help. This is exactly what happened when Irene hit Connecticut and the Red Cross was asked to open a shelter at Stamford High School. The entire state was affected one way or another. Except for staff and a few volunteers, we went to Stamford High to wait for the residents to arrive for food and shelter from the storm. We were so short handed to man a 24-hour shift and we reached out to Backyard Humanitarian for help. Angela Malizia, who is one of the Red Cross Disaster Action Team Leaders, called her Backyard Humanitarian volunteers to help us. Immediately, we got responses on availability to help. The Red Cross does not respond to disasters without the help of our community partners. As community partners, Backyard Humanitarian assisted us in all aspects of setting up the shelter for the Stamford residents, registering them, serving meals and listening to their fears and concerns. Backyard Humanitarian is one group that I am happy to have on our team.” – Ronnie Tella, Director of Emergency Services, Connecticut Chapter American Red Cross
“Backyard Humanitarian is a 21st Century model of how to harness social media to engage and empower individuals at a hyper-local level on behalf of worthy organizations, causes and needs. It is a true partner – helping Domus spread the word quickly and easily to a growing circle of friends – who are able in-turn to respond; be it a khaki or coat drive, a Done-In-A-Day project or a request for long-term help. Kudos to Angela Malizia and the Backyard Humanitarians!” - Julia Wade Volunteer Coordinator, DOMUS
FROM BACKYARD HUMANITARIANS...
Paula – “Just got back from another Backyard Humanitarian volunteer opportunity. We sorted, washed, dried and packed up 196 coats for the homeless and people in need of warm winter coats. And while doing so, old friends were reacquainted, new friends were made and some of us caught up. But best of all, more opportunities were discussed. I'm proud to be a Backyard Humanitarian!
Gus – “I went there to help those who are in need and instead they ended up helping me remember what’s really important in life. Wow, I never knew that the one in need was me! Thank you."
Mike- “What a great feeling after helping out for an hour out of my day!”
Leah – “Such a great group, it was a great feeling to be apart of the coat sort and know that these coats go right to the people in need.”
Susan -" It was such an amazing feeling to be able to donate coats to Backyard Humanitarian! I have been blessed with so much, and to give back to those in need in the City I love is indescribable."
Cindy – “I dropped off coats today. Thanks to the good Samaritans of Stamford who wanted to help others stay warm this winter!” Gretchen -"A huge thank you to Angela Malizia and Backyard Humanitarians! It was the most wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Angela, you are an inspiration to me and I am so appreciative of the opportunity that you gave to us today. You are making a difference and we are so proud to be a small part of that!"
Sue D. - "I made a best friend. I've made many new friends and had many friends from High School who I love with all my heart who also are part of this amazing group."
Cherry - "Wow! I met some great people working wi th the BH Team, and most of all I was able to reconnect with a school friend and that in itself has been a blessing. It's a great feeling to know that you have great people working with such passion and compassion with people. I've met a lot of people through this community organzation and have also sent many to this community organization to help out and to get volunteer experience. It's a true blessing to see how different walks of life can come together and make a positive impact in ones life."
Erin S. - "Backyard Humanitarian has given me the incredible opportunity to not only help people in need, but to learn their stories, their trials and tribulations. It's provided an irreplaceable connection with humanity that grows with each new experience. Along the way, I've been fortunate to get connected with the inspiring volunteers who work tirelessly to give of themselves." Robyn - "It was love at first site and from day forward, my life flourished into a world of giving back, helping others, reconnecting with old friends, making many new ones and with that, I helped inspired others to do the same and the cycle continues. I am so grateful to Ang, for following her heart and her dreams and for all of you for being a part of my world!"
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