Employees and residents of the River Ridge assisted living facility in Avon have spent part of their summer looking to complete acts of goodwill in their community.
It's part of Benchmark Senior Living's "Radiant Acts" program that encourages its employees to look for opportunities to do acts of kindness.
Jaime Girard, River Ridge's executive director, said they latched onto the idea right away.
"We believe in the human connection," Girard said. "It's not only the connection within our community, but also in the community surrounding us. What can we bring to our local Avon area?"
At River Ridge, community projects included planned acts, such as helping to prepare meals for Simsbury -based nonprofit Healing Meals Community Project. The nonprofit makes and delivers healthy, organic meals for individuals and families facing a health crisis.
Other acts were spontaneous, like delivering Gatorade to utility workers on Route 44 in Avon one especially hot day this summer. They also bring snacks to the Avon Fire Department. And because Home Depot donated plants to River Ridge, they've returned the favor by bringing cookies and baked goods to their employees.
Their residents get involved too, as they're hosting a toy drive for Connecticut Children's Medical Center , which is in need of toys to give to children at the hospital.
"The residents feel very blessed to be part of this," said Holly Neddermann, River Ridge's Harbor Care director.
It all plays very much into what River Ridge employees do every day for their job.
"This is a business where we are assisting people with needs," Neddermann said. "They are the elderly who can no longer live in their home. They need to have a community they can be fulfilled with."
Girard said this is part of why their employees are what they call "call to care," meaning they feel drawn to their career.
"We really do run and live off of the 'We're better together' philosophy,' " Girard said. "It's about one person helping another. That's what it's all about. Each one of our employees was call to care for a reason. Our staff is doing what they do because they are part of a team."
Leigh Anne Cappello, who is the senior vice president of brand strategy and marketing for Benchmark, said examples like River Ridge are exactly what they like to see from their employees.
"They all have skills they can share with the world," Cappello said. "We're an entire community and have a full range of talents within our own community. Why not share it with the neighborhood? It doesn't surprise me that our associates embrace this program and took it to heights we never imagined because they all live our values. They love working together as a team and want to do better for their communities. It's really inspiring and exciting to see all of that come to life through that campaign."