Beam of light: Gwen Samuel in Meriden, Middletown, and New Haven

Yankee Institute is proud to present “Beam of Light” — A dedicated place to lift spirits by illuminating the many acts of quiet heroism, generosity, individual initiative and kindness that are happening every day across Connecticut during the coronavirus crisis.  

To share your “Beam of Light” story, please email Jordanne at

Gwen Samuel of the Connecticut Parents Union organized and fundraised an effort to purchase three free-standing handwashing stations for her neighborhood. Samuel realized not enough children are washing their hands and haven’t been taught the proper way to wash effectively. Samuel said, “We will help families understand the power of washing hands with soap and water by having kids actually washing their hands”.  

After children participate in the community hand washing course, each child will get their own “stay home, stay safe” self-care kit. These are age-appropriate bags that include: soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste, Kleenex, age-appropriate books and crossword puzzles. The objective of the bags, in addition to clean hygiene, is to promote literacy and personal responsibility to be safe, practice self-discipline and follow the rules for the safety of the entire community.  

Samuel worked with local community health centers to get some of the supplies donated. Samuel has a goal of educating 100 families plans to launch the program this week in Meriden, Middletown and New Haven.  

Beam of light: Matthew Carrier in Enfield

Matthew Carrier of Enfield Connecticut has brightened his community by putting together a “Bright Night for Heroes” display in his neighborhood. Carrier decorated his home with lights accompanied by patriotic music to help lift spirits and honor everyone working hard to combat COVID-19.

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Beam of light: 850 Degrees Pizza in Ridgefield

In good times, 850 Degrees Pizza in Ridgefield, CT swears that it “make the best pizza you’ll ever eat!” But during the Covid-19 crisis, it has offered assurances to its community of a very different kind. Under the 850 Degrees #NoOneGoesHungry Campaign, they have told their community, “To all those who have changes in employment or income during this time, we are here to help. NO ONE GOES HUNGRY! If you need help, 850 Degrees Pizza will provide you a free 12" cheese pizza every day until the COVID-19 crisis ends.

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  1. Henry L. Eaddy

    April 2, 2020 12:30 am

    We need many more role models like Gwen Samuel to become active in their communities. Our children are the future. Congratulation to Gwen Samuel, keep up the great work. God bless you. Henry L. Eadddy (RMM) Role Model Ministries. 4/2/2020

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