Beam of light: Masks for Heroes in Greater 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

Hearing about the severe shortage of surgical masks, Madison resident, Bob Stefanowski was able to locate a manufacturer in NJ that had them in stock.  He and Stamford firefighter, Patrick Sasser drove down to New Jersey and loaded up a trailer with 110,000 masks and delivered them to first responders and hospitals throughout Fairfield County.   

This one act of kindness had inspired so many others offer to help that Stefanowski started a grassroots organization  Masks for Heroes is now working with the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven to receive donations to purchase more masks.  100% of the proceeds go towards the purchase of masks which costs .75 each. 

Almost 100 people have volunteered to help distribute 600,000 masks to almost every hospital and town in the state.  They are also making deliveries to first responders, nursing homes, and food pantries. is getting ready to place another order–visit their website to learn how you can donate.

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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(2) Comments

  1. Richard Artkop

    April 20, 2020 9:08 pm

    Dear Mr Stefanowski, Thank You for raising money for masks. I don’t know if you are aware ,but Pastor Will Marotti let me speak about a Go Fund Me : Registered Nurse Donna Kirkendall Needs HELP. Donna suffered a chemical exposure at work and recently a toxic mold exposure at her apartment. If you would be so Kind and visit the site explains more. I am trying to obtain environmentally safe housing for this R.N. Donna. She has suffered tremendously. Any help that you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Please Help spread the word and prayers are appreciated Thank You, Richard

  2. Keisha Hoar

    April 16, 2020 7:43 pm

    Thank you, thank you for writing this and making this public. This is more than our Governor is doing. It is so much appreciated. The entire St of CT should know of this.

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