LITCHFIELD HILLS — Still in the throes of working through the “re-openings” in Connecticut, churches are closed and sharing religious services online, but are concerned that monetary pledges are faltering. Restaurants have the option to offer curb service and delivery, or remain closed with no income. Non-essential businesses can sell online, or just wait it out.

On April 21-22, the Connecticut Community Foundation rolled out their annual Give Local campaign, requesting online donations for nonprofits in the Litchfield Hills and Greater Waterbury. A huge show of support resulted in a record-breaking windfall for 250 organizations that totaled $1,814,029. Included were food banks, ambulance service, a museum and a theater, land trust, health centers and special schools. That’s the good news.

Rescue shelters, unable to hold their regular outdoor fundraisers or open their doors for visitors wishing to adopt a pet, are struggling to pay their overhead and continue to take in and care for pets who otherwise could be left to fend for themselves. Animal Rescue Foundation in Terryville was founded in 1971 as a non-destroy shelter for cats, kittens, dogs and puppies. In 2008, a devastating fire damaged the building beyond repair, but volunteers and firefighters rescued all 30 animals. Supporters came out in force to help raise the money to build a new shelter.

ARF is now facing challenges and once again, animal-lovers are helping. Brenda Delaney of Northfield, who recently adopted two cats from the Connecticut Cat Connection in Windsor, decided to ask friends on Facebook to join her in collecting food for dogs and cats and she would deliver it to both CCC and ARF. “My cats bring so much joy to my life,” she said, “I just had to do something to support these rescues.” The generous outpouring so far has resulted in 15 large bags of dog food, four grocery bags of canned cat food, blankets, toys, litter pans and dog and cat treats.

Most restaurants are staying afloat by offering curbside and delivery meals, but John VandenBosch, owner of GW Tavern in Washington Depot, decided to take a different tack as well as offering takeaway. He and his executive chef Brendan Martin have been creating hundreds of gourmet meals and giving them away once a week to those in need.

Artists and the arts in general have been severely impacted by the pandemic and none more than the American Mural Project, a massive piece of art that honors work and workers, which 15,000 people have collaborated on during the past 20 years, and is now temporarily closed at the Winsted studio.

Founder and Artistic Director Ellen Griesedieck said “Every day now people are showing up to help others in hospitals, grocery stores, and gas stations. Teachers are creating virtual lesson plans for their students, musicians are playing favorite pieces over the internet to bring joy to our evenings in isolation, parents are rallying to keep their families’ lives centered despite their own concern for their jobs and small businesses.

“This tribute of the American Mural Project is as important now as it ever was. And we will continue to ask for help to keep the lights on, the installation going, and future events and programs in full swing. Donations will support all of these efforts that bring our community together through the art of honoring work.”

Goals include:

New ways of delivering AMP’s in-demand enrichment programs to students

Summer @AMP programs, school residencies, internships, events, and tours

Mural installation

Making access to the upper level of the mural building a reality

“If there is anything positive about this singular time in our history, it is recognizing that the resilient spirit that has defined us is still alive and well in America.”

Animal Rescue Foundation is accepting dog and cat food on a table outside their shelter at 366 Main Street, Terryville, and is listing its pets on www.Petfinder.com. Email contact is greg.sisson@arfct.org.

Connecticut Cat Connection in Windsor can be contacted at adoptions@ctcatconnection.org.

GW Tavern, 20 Bee Brook Road, Washington Depot, can be contacted at 860-868-6633 and its takeaway menu is listed on its Facebook page.

Those wishing to support the American Mural Project can do so online at www.americanmuralproject.org/donate or mail a donation to American Mural Project, PO Box 538, Winsted, CT 06098

Connecticut Media Group