Stepping Stones Museum for Children Honors Filling in the Blanks Volunteers for Heroic Response to the COVID 19 Pandemic

(From Left): Volunteers Connie Begetis and P.J. Johns hand out meals to Stamford families during the April Vacation as part of the Stamford Public Schools’ Grab and Go Meals program. In one of the many ways that Filling in the Blanks responded to the COVID-19 crisis, the Norwalk-based non-profit partnered with Stamford Public Schools to help address the food insecurity experienced by children from families in need. (contributed photo)

Norwalk, CT – Stepping Stones Museum for Children honored Filling in the Blanks volunteers in June for their heroic commitment to helping hungry children as part of its grassroots “We ‘Heart’ Our CommUNITY” commemorative tile campaign to thank local organizations and individuals helping local communities get through the COVID-19 crisis.

“We are thrilled to shine a well-deserved spotlight on Filling in the Blanks, an amazing, Norwalk-based partner organization that’s working harder than ever to help fill weekend hunger gaps for local children in need with healthy, easy-to-prep meals,” said Rhonda Kiest, President and CEO, Stepping Stones Museum for Children. “We all have witnessed amazing acts of heroism happening all around us, so we decided to devote our 20th birthday year to giving thanks to the many Connecticut-based individuals and organizations like Filling in the Blanks going the extra mile to help us all get through the pandemic.”

Throughout the crisis, Filling in the Blanks has continued its mission to deliver weekend food bags at its distribution sites to guarantee children that depend on them continue to have the nutrition that their growing minds and bodies need.

“Filling in the Blanks is a volunteer based organization, each year we typically have over 1000 volunteers come thru our doors to help pack the food we distribute,” said Shawnee Knight, Co-Founder and Co-President Filling in the Blanks.  “Additionally, many people on our staff are volunteers. We would not be able to reach the amount of children we serve without our dedicated volunteers.”

Students enrolled in the Filling in the Blanks Weekend Meal Program are the same students that received 80 percent of their nutrition from school-provided breakfast and lunch services when school was in session. School closures this spring and summer make the weekend meal program more important than ever.

Join the Cause

With an online donation of $150 per tile, the public is welcome to join the cause and commission a beautiful, hand crafted tile to honor one or more individuals or organizations in their own community that have exemplified heroism during the crisis. All tiles will be displayed in a dedicated, prominent area of the museum to forever remember their sacrifices and devotion.

Information about all nominated heroes is being shared across the museum’s social media channels. Photos of completed tiles are shared with each fundraising team or individual to pass on to their heroes. Upon the completion of the campaign, Stepping Stones will unveil a new community hero wall during a commemoration ceremony.

All donations are tax deductible and help the museum embark on a Capital Growth campaign to support the continuation of its important work during a period of steeply decreased revenue. Even though the museum is temporarily closed to the public due to COVID-19, it’s continuing to provide daily STEAM- and fun-infused virtual learning opportunities for families to enjoy at home.

Two local companies have also been lending support by rewarding the highest performing teams with a variety of rewards. Through July 2020, Whole Foods Market pledged to donate a $200 store gift card to the first fundraising team to raise $500. Subway is rewarding top-performing teams with gift cards to local restaurants.

For more information or to honor an individual or community organization, visit

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