Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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3,000 Ducks, 40 Years: 2nd Annual Stony Creek Brewery Duck Race to Benefit Orchard House Sept. 19

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On Sunday, Sept. 19, help Orchard House Adult Medical Day Center celebrate its 40th anniversary at an event that will make a splash in the Branford River, when 3,000 rubber ducks will be dumped to float to the finish in the 2nd Annual Stony Creek Brewery Duck Race benefiting Orchard House. Shown here, 1,000 ducks take to the river during the first annual race in 2020. 

File Photo by Kelley Fryer/The Sound

On Sunday, Sept. 19, help Orchard House Adult Medical Day Center celebrate its 40th anniversary at an event that will make a splash in the Branford River, when 3,000 rubber ducks will be dumped to float to the finish in the 2nd Annual Stony Creek Brewery Duck Race benefiting Orchard House. Shown here, 1,000 ducks take to the river during the first annual race in 2020. (File photo by Kelley Fryer/The Sound)

UPDATE: Due to Storm Henri, this event, originally scheduled for Aug. 22, has been rescheduled to take place Sunday, September 19 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Stony Creek Brewery, Branford.

Forty years ago, non-profit Orchard House Adult Medical Day Center began helping change lives for the better for shoreline seniors and their families. On Sunday, Sept. 19, a special 40th anniversary event will make a splash in the Branford River, when 3,000 rubber ducks will be dumped to float to the finish in the 2nd Annual Stony Creek Brewery Duck Race benefiting Orchard House.

The entire community is invited to come out to the brewery at 5 Indian Neck Avenue to watch the race – and to have a duck, or many ducks -- in the running. Everyone can get in on the action now by making a donation of $5 per duck via this link at Eventbrite.com to receive a numbered duck entry.  First duck to cross the finish line will win a $1,000 cash prize, with 19 prizes (each valued at $100) for the next 19 ducks; thanks to donations by sponsors and friends of Orchard House. More race information appears at the Eventbrite page.

The fun event takes place at the popular Branford waterfront brewery from noon - 2 p.m. on  Sept. 19 and will feature Connecticut media celebrities Vinnie Penn and Erin Logan as race co-hosts, said Duck Race founder/Orchard House Development Director Ken Engelman.

"We also have duck race sponsorships available for businesses who want to participate; with tax deductible advertising to a very engaged audience leading up to and during the event," Engelman noted.

Winners of the duck race will also be posted on the Orchard House Facebook page on race day (search @TheOrchardHouseBranford).

Engelman thanks race host Stony Creek Brewery, which also hosted the first annual race in October, 2020, for providing the perfect venue for this community event. Thanks to a huge crowd of supporters providing an "overwhelmingly positive" response to this "fun fundraiser," Engelman upped the ante from 1,000 ducks in the 2020 race to 3,000 this year.

"Ken is doing phenomenal job for us as development director," said Orchard House Executive Director Mary-Margaret Mandel. "This is his second annual duck race with us, and once again every donation that is raised will come to our members at the Orchard House, to continue to provide the therapeutic programming and medical oversight which is needed, well as the important socialization piece. Having the medical piece, as well as socialization, gives families and their caregivers comfort."

Services include nursing care, therapeutic recreation, individual and family counseling, a nutritional meal, healthy snacks daily, and transportation services. Individual care plans are developed for each client; including those with cardiac ailments, diabetes, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and other dementia and neurological disorders. In addition to its administrative staff, Orchard House's professional staff includes registered nurses, certified nurses' aides, a recreational therapist, food service workers and professional van drivers. Orchard House serves clients from eight area towns.

40 Years of Service

Established in 1981 as East Shore Regional Adult Daycare Center (then operating from the Baptist Church basement on the Branford Green), by 1982, Orchard House had become a private, non-profit 501(c) (3) organization. In 1985, the program moved to its current home at 421 Shore Drive in the former Short Beach School.

From the start, it was immediately apparent this program was meeting a need; as the sole provider of these types of critical services for clients and their families between New London and New Haven, said one of the founders of Orchard House, Phil Guiliano, who helped start the organization with another Branford resident, Tom Romano, who went on to become its president and CEO for many years. 

Within its first year of operation, the quality care and leadership in caregiver support provided by Orchard House was recognized by members of the community, legislative leaders, and medical professionals, said Guiliano, who also served as a past Assistant Director at Orchard House. Guiliano also helped found the program's Alzheimer's Support Group for Caregivers in 1983, one of the first of its kind in the state.

Today, Guiliano continues to serve Orchard House, not only as a board member but as an administrative team member (Transportation Coordinator).

"The primary purpose of adult daycare is really two-fold: to avoid premature institutionalization for the client and needed respite care for family caregivers. At Orchard House, we work with the mind, body and spirit – the whole person – and the family," said Guiliano.

As stated at its website, the motto of Orchard House is "serving seniors, supporting caregivers, strengthening communities."

"Our mission is to provide the highest quality of community-based, person-centered care, social programs, and family support to those in need," added Mandel. "We are here for our clients, and we will do anything in our power to help the families and keep their loved ones safe and healthy."

To learn more about Orchard House and its services or to make a tax-deductible donation visit https://www.theorchardhouse.org/  or call  (203) 481-7110.


Pam Johnson covers news for Branford and North Branford for Zip06. Email Pam at p.johnson@shorepublishing.com.

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