By SCA Community Engagement Fellow Hayden Sloan
We did it!!
62 Nestlé employees volunteered their time at Cove Island Park in Stamford, CT for #NestléCares to get the long guardrail stained and protected! Despite the hot sun and messy stain, enthusiasm abounded.
The day began with a light breakfast of fresh fruits from CT Farm Fresh Express, a Connecticut initiative to connect residents to local farms through farm-to-door delivery. Order by Tuesday and get your veggies on Thursday! Appreciation for local farms and farmers was particularly apt during the week of the event, as it was Farmer’s Market Week, too. Volunteers and staff alike raved about the blueberries and folks made short work of the nectarines. Our leftover apples were donated to SoundWaters, the kid’s camp on the northern end of Cove Island.
Café Oo La La, a local Stamford café that does so much more than coffee, catered hot and iced coffee for us. They worked with me to minimize waste by delivering cream and sugar in bulk rather than in individual packages, skipping the lids, and providing wooden stirrers rather than plastic. Throughout the event, sustainability was a key component in planning and execution.
To get the event closer to the zero-waste goal, local composting pick-up service Curbside Compost brought a bin for our food waste. Our apple cores and peach pits will be turned into rich soil that will be used right back at the farms that the fruit came from! On top of all that, our #NestléCares event included shiny reusable water bottles, refillable at water stations along the path of the guardrail. Nestlé provided jugs of water for the event, along with San Pellegrino, Perrier, and Nestea for lunch!
Volunteers not only worked on staining throughout the morning, they also made 100 seedballs together using native wildflower seeds; they picked up the small pieces of litter around the park, and enjoyed some team-building, all before lunch.
Some special visitors were on-site to thank and cheer on volunteers as they worked, including State Representative Caroline Simmons, Nestlé’s EVP of Sustainability Nelson Switzer, and the SCA’s Director of Foundation Relations Jeanne Braha.
Magee’s Curbside brought lunch for the volunteers in their food truck, offering four delicious, locally-sourced choices. The pavilion near SoundWaters served as a perfect shady spot for everyone to relax and enjoy their sandwiches, fish tacos, and homemade chips.
After lunch, a particularly dedicated group of volunteers went back out to the guardrail to finish staining the last few sections. Through their efforts, the #NestléCares team finished the task!
While volunteers were working hard over at Cove Island, the Nestlé Waters NA office was abuzz with activity, as well. SCA leader Jane Chan guided employees on making even more seedballs, for a contribution of 310 from Nestlé Waters headquarters! The grand total of 410 seedballs are now sprouting in the wild meadow just south of the Cove Island parking lot at the Cove Island Wildlife Sanctuary, a haven for a variety of birds and butterflies, among other fauna. We saw a bunny on the path just before tossing the seedballs into the meadow!
The weather held up perfectly and the afternoon ended with smiles! Thanks to all the volunteers who came out, and I hope you get to go out to the park again soon to enjoy your handiwork!
Special thanks to Cove Island’s Operations Foreman Ronnie D’Amico and his staff; the detailed behind-the-scenes work from Nestlé Waters NA Community Investment Manager Delphine Fairley, Senior Manager of Community Relations Kevin Cleary, and their team; Cove Tent Company for use of their tables and chairs; and the bright, hard-working SCA leaders who made this event happen: Moxie Niedenthal, Michelle Burt, Jane Chan, April Chang (photographer), Sam March (social media lead), Jaylen Givens, and Manny Jones.