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Norfield Giving Fair: Serving the wider community this weekend

Norfield Congregational Church is holding its first Day of Service: The Norfield Giving Fair, on Saturday, June 16, combining elements of a traditional church fair with a desire to serve the larger community.

The Giving Fair, including an Evening of Celebration on the church lawn, with free music and barbecue, is open to the whole community.

About 150 volunteers on more than 40 teams have signed up to work on various service projects in the wider area throughout the day on Saturday. Populations being served include refugees, homeless, inner-city music mentoring, shut-in seniors, veterans, those with drug/alcohol addictions, and the incarcerated along with their families.

First Selectman Gayle Weinstein said she loves the service opportunities this fair presents. “The Norfield Giving Fair is a wonderful idea — it reminds us of the spirit and values of service that mean so much to all of us in Weston. It is so nice to see Norfield Church’s long tradition of giving renewed in this way. I look forward to being a part of it on June 16!”

The day is set to begin at Norfield at 7:30 a.m., with a Strawberry Breakfast and team check-in. At 8:30 they will meet with their liaison to learn more about their service project.

Teams will head to morning service projects from 9 to noon and afternoon projects from 1 to 4.

Service teams will be doing volunteer work at the Bridgeport Rescue Mission, CLASP Homes, Aspetuck Land Trust, Habitat for Humanity, Homes with Hope, KEYS, Family ReEntry, IIConn, Weston Warm-Up Fund, DOMUS, Open Door Shelter, George Washington Carver Center and Weston Social Services.

They may serve in one of the following ways:

• Feeding the hungry

• Hands on help/heavy lifting

• Youth projects

• Prison related projects

• Oral history of Weston

• Music mentoring

• Environmentally green

• Weston service

Service teams have solicited donations from family and friends for their day of service. Money raised will go to:

CLASP Homes: serving people with developmental disabilities

Family Re-Entry: serving families and youth who are at risk or currently incarcerated.

International Institute of Connecticut (IIConn): welcoming new refugee families from the Congo and other countries.

KEYS: bringing music instruction to children of Bridgeport.

UCC: United Church of Christ for overseas disaster relief and other projects.

Weston Food Pantry: to support Weston neighbors in difficult times.

Service projects have been designed to allow each team to work side by side with the beneficiary.

While most projects will be “off campus,” there will be some projects on the Norfield campus as well.

In the evening, all will come together to celebrate the day and Norfield Church will say “thank you.”

There will be a picnic dinner on the lawn of Norfield at 6. Guests may bring picnic blankets and are welcome to a barbecue dinner hosted by Norfield, or may bring their own picnic. Strawberry shortcake will be served to all.

Vocalist and accoustic guitarist Lee Richardson will kick off the evening celebration at 6, and then at 7, the crowd will be treated to the sounds of St. Luke’s Steel Band from New Haven.

Following this, there will be a slide show, highlighting the work done by the teams earlier that day.

“We can’t think of a better way to wrap up this day of giving,” said Taffy Miller, chairman of outreach at Norfield Church.

The Rev. Dr. Bernard Wilson of Norfield is delighted with the “reimagining” of the fair. “Westonites, Norfielders and beneficiaries from a broad section of the wider community are coming together to make Norfield’s 111th Annual Fair an event not to be missed. What Norfield is doing in our reimagined fair … is to help make the Gospel come alive in a real and tangible way,” he said.

“This is a unique opportunity to give a little and learn a lot about people from all walks of life. Amazingly, the answers to many of our community problems come when we truly listen to those we intend to serve. It’s going to be a great experience,” Ms. Miller said.

For more information, visit norfield.org.

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