Charity Blog

GOOD NEWS NEW ENGLAND | MARCH 28, 2021

Happy weekend, everyone! Here is your positive news roundup from around New England for this week.

PAULIE’S PUSH FOR A PURPOSE

Paul Veneto poses with the beverage cart he’ll be pushing from Logan Airport to Ground Zero.

One former flight attendant is pushing a beverage cart from Logan Airport all the way to Ground Zero in New York City in honor of the flight crew that lost their lives 20 years ago on September 11th. The goal? To bring comfort to the loved ones of those lost and properly honor those who fought bravely on board. “The thought of a family member just being murdered on an airplane for the last 20 years, if I could erase that out of their head they could go to bed at night knowing they were heroes. They absolutely were heroes that day.”

“These are the first first responders,” explained Veneto, who as a former flight attendant himself knows firsthand the feeling of an emergency in the air. “You know when there’s trouble on board on airplane, no matter what it is, you can’t pick up the phone and call the police. You can’t call the fire department, you can’t call anybody. You gotta solve the problem up there, or else it’s over.”

Veneto says he has struggled every year on the anniversary of the attack with the loss of friends he now knows as heroes. His goal, 20 years later, is to make others aware of the sacrifice the brave men and women on board gave on that fateful day. “The crew that I knew on Flight 175, the one that hit the second tower, that plane is bank and almost misses the tower. And I swear deep down in my soul that they were trying to take that cockpit back, the crew. That’s where the country came together, right there, at 30,000 feet.”

With this thought continually in the back of his head, Veneto made the decision five years ago to begin training to bring his plan to life with that same goal in mind: comfort for the families, and honor for the crew. “If I have to push a beverage cart from Logan Airport Boston all the way to Ground Zero New York, then that’s what I’m gonna do.”

SEARCHING FOR STELLA: LOST DOG RETURNED HOME

It was a casual day working from home in the backyard for JR and his dog Stella when a delivery truck arrived. Anxious to protect her home, Stella leapt for the gate-and hit the latch just right to let the gate swing open.

JR and his beloved dog, Stella.

Frantic, JR attempted to bring Stella back inside. Yet she had quickly dashed after the truck down the street, and JR heard the devastating impact of his beloved dog being hit by a car. The driver stopped, but when he looked down she was nowhere to be found.

“That started a night of where we last thought she was, we searched.” After days of searching deterred by weather, JR was able to begin working with a tracking dog to help find Stella. That’s when he learned she had somehow been able to travel 8 miles while injured before her tracks began to cross. Determined to find her, JR continued the search efforts with the help of the his community who he credits with helping bring her home after nine difficult days. “I know a lot of people traveled down into the wilderness of Mashpee trying to find her, and I think that actually pushed her out of where she was.”

Thankfully, all of their hard work paid off. “It was Saturday night a little bit before seven and my phone rang. It was someone saying they found Stella!” he recalls excitedly. With her picture posted on several missing pets sites and JR updating her last known location by the tracker, someone had been able to recognize her when she turned up near a local kennel. “The woman said, ‘Are you missing this really sweet dog that’s hanging out in my kennel?’ and I said yes! Yes, I am!”

Though it was a long time apart, JR says he’s just happy to have her home. “Nine days later, we may never know what she did for those nine days. But I’m just so thankful and so grateful for everyone who helped.”

FALMOUTH ORGANIZATION HELPS BRING INSPIRATION EVERYWHERE

For many, the thought of asking for help can be a challenge. For one Falmouth organization, making life easier for others has already begun to erase that stigma.

“Our main goal is to try and fill in gaps of need in the community,” says Samantha Bauer of Inspiration is Everywhere. “People can come to us when they need help with anything. No matter what it is, there’s nothing too big or too small.” From help shoveling a driveway to sitting beside patients as they endure chemotherapy treatments, starting their own small food pantry and even creating an office space that offers alcohol-free open mic nights, Bauer says they try to meet every need brought to their attention. “We realize that, you know, there are a lot of really good non profit organizations out there, but not everyone qualifies for those services. There are people who fall between the cracks.”

From help with informational services to helping the elderly around the house, rides and even coordinating supply drives, every piece of the organization’s puzzle revolves around one goal: bringing the Falmouth community together to help one another wherever necessary. “If we can partner you with someone (or an organization) that can meet your needs that’s great, if not we use our community volunteers to fix whatever is wrong in your life.”

An Inspiration is Everywhere volunteer helping to organize drive supplies.

Right now, Bauer says their current focus is on providing luggage for local children that are between homes. “A lot of kids who get taken into DCF custody have to put their stuff into a trash bag. So we’ve been collecting duffel bags and backpacks for those kids so that they have their own luggage and they don’t have that sort of message that ‘you’re trash’.”

In realizing the needs of others, Bauer says their office has expanded. Today, Inspiration is Everywhere also hosts events such as paint/craft nights, open mic nights or concerts, and other events. Her goal? To help offer a safe place for those who are under 21 looking for a new outlet, those struggling to find affordable activities, or someone who actively trying to avoid drugs and alcohol. “I get it, we live in a tourist economy and we have to cater to, you know, where the money comes from. But the people who are here all year, the people who don’t fit that sort of economic mindset-they’re not just here to spend money, they’re working three jobs and they’re exhausted at the end of the day and struggling to be here and to just exist. Those people need support. Those people need to feel seen; they need to be accepted.”

To learn more about Inspiration is Everywhere, Paulie’s Push or to hear Stella’s story, watch the full episode below:

#FreshLookFriday

#FreshLookFriday: A Falmouth Staycation

When my Mom & I found out my father-in-law and husband were painting the bathroom as part of a full remodel we’re doing, we were OVER THE MOON excited! Just one little problem: this 8 months pregnant lady isn’t supposed to be around fumes, and my Mom gets severe headaches from just a whiff of primer. While we’re not big on traveling right now, we knew staying in the house wasn’t an option (and honestly, after a year of staying home, we could totally use the break to get out!). Luckily, we were able to find a safe way to enjoy a little Mommy & me staycation just down the road that allowed us to play tourists for the weekend.

We chose to stay at Inn On The Square in Falmouth, a cute little place downtown we’d never tried! After spraying & scrubbing the ever-loving-crap out of the room & dragging in our own sheets and pillows like crazy people, we spent Friday night getting settled, ordering takeout & binge watching episodes of our new favorite show, Good Girls, on Netflix.

On Saturday morning, we woke up ready to grab some coffee & explore. We went down to Menahaunt Beach to enjoy our coffee and have a nice walk breathing in some fresh, salty ocean air. While there might have been a slight chill in the air, the view can’t be beat!

Feeling like we wanted to continue exploring, we took a ride down to Spohr Gardens. While I hadn’t been there in ages, going there with my Mom brought back some really amazing memories. As a little girl, she and I used to go there all the time for an afternoon and to enjoy their well-known Daffodil Days! Dressing up & soaking in all the fresh air and natural beauty one of Falmouth’s hidden gems has to offer was always a treat, and though it may not have been daffodil season just yet, it still brought us just as much joy when we returned. I actually have a picture of me as a little girl among the flowers…it’s crazy to think of how young I was when my mother took me then vs. now about to give birth to a baby of my own (still wearing pink though, of course!)

All that walking worked up quite an appetite (especially for me with the little bean jumping around in my belly!), so we opted for pickup from one of our favorite restaurants: Le Bon Jour! I opted for Le Puy, a power bowl that is packed with nutrients. With ingredients like avocado, beets, lentils, and apple, I topped it with some grilled chicken for a little extra protein and modified to sub their apple cider vinaigrette dressing. It hit the spot as a great guilt-free meal that we enjoyed while supporting a local restaurant. It’s a win-win every time!

Digging into Le Puy (with a grilled chicken upgrade),
my favorite dish from Le Bon Jour in Falmouth!

While we chose to snuggle back in with more tv for the evening since it’s easy to get worn out quick when you’re making another human, the next day we woke up well rested & ready to explore again. Checkout at Inn on the Square is at 11, so we slept in, got our things together and grabbed some breakfast to enjoy by the water again. This time, we took our coffee to the Woods Hole Waterfront Park, which this time of year is usually very quiet. Taking in the view and a stroll on the beach, we continued for another walk down Main Street.

This was a bittersweet walk: growing up, my Dad had worked for years at the Marine Biological Laboratory and just retired this year. I’d also gone to preschool at the Woods Hole Child Center, and have spent a ton of time over the years at places like Captain Kidd, the Landfall, Coffee O (which used to be Pie In The Sky!) and made countless trips rushing to the ferry when my husband was living on Martha’s Vineyard. Woods Hole has always had a special place in my heart for those reasons, but also because I just plain have a natural draw to its small-town seaside charm that makes for a perfect gateway to Martha’s Vineyard. Yet strolling past all of the boarded-up businesses that still had Christmas decorations in the window was a heartbreaking reminder of why we’ve continued to be so cautious during this time, and both Mom & I were grateful in that moment to know that there is hope for a (somewhat!) normal future soon.

Overall, it was an INCREDIBLE staycation weekend! It’s funny how different local places you go all the time can feel once you put on a “vacation” mindset. These were places we’d drive past all the time, roads we’d take daily and that we’ve spent our lives calling home. All we had to do was give ourselves permission to enjoy them, and we DID!