Care Coalition: Connecting those in need with those who care.
After the funeral and tragic loss of a community member, Westchester County, NY, community leaders, family members and friends gathered in a church parking lot, desperate to prevent another loss due to addiction and suicide. Ready to take charge to break down the stigma around getting help for addiction and mental health purposes, and eradicate this issue in their community and others, founder, Deanna Riccardi, formed Care Coalition in 2018. Composed of local business owners, teachers, town board members and members of the community of all ages with all different stories, Care Coalition was born with the goal of supporting those in need and steering them towards the resources and treatment they are seeking, without any judgement and full inclusivity.
Person of the Month
Through word-of-mouth, fundraisers, and social media, Care Coalition has been able to branch out far past Westchester County. Each month, Care Coalition leaders Kim Colasuonno and Chris DiSanto interview a “Person of the Month” who is someone who has gone through a mental or physical hardship and is willing to discuss their journey towards recovery and how their situation has impacted their life. This allows Care Coalition to highlight positive stories and prove that recovery is more than possible with the proper support.
A recent interview was with a friend named Matt who just published a book about his story and struggles. Matt lost his father in 9/11, faced sexual abuse, and turned to drugs and alcohol to get him through his struggles. After getting arrested and possibly facing a major jail sentence, Matt decided it was time to turn his life around. Matt got clean, avoided jail time, and is now six years clean, proving that there is hope and a new beginning for all struggling.
During the beginning of the pandemic, leaders of Care Coalition realized that it was a scary time, especially for those who have mental health struggles and were essentially isolated from everyone outside of their homes. Dedicated to providing support from afar, the Together-We-Can project was formed. After reaching out to friends and family to send a video submission using the hashtag #TogetherWeCan to promote positivity, well wishes, and prayers, about 50 video submissions and 60 selfies were received and compiled into one video. Once posted, it received 11,000 views and spread awareness and love to all of those who watched.
Another concern of the Care Coalition surrounding the pandemic was that people would face food insecurities and not be able to feed themselves and their families. Care Coalition teamed up with Delicacy Jewelry, a food-oriented jewelry line that is determined to fight hunger. Together, they set-up a fundraiser where a portion of the profits from the jewelry sold went towards providing meals to those in need. Their goal was for attendees of the fundraiser to purchase enough jewelry to provide 1,000 meals. That number was surpassed in less than 24 hours of the fundraising. In just a weekend, the Care Coalition was able to raise $3,000 and provide meals to more people in need than they could have ever imagined.
Care Coalition’s Candlelight Vigil is the culmination of each year that they have helped and supported those in need. The Candlelight Vigil honors those who have passed and shows the army of support that is there for those who are struggling. Speakers share stories about their journey, hardships, and road to recovery. Everyone gathers and lights a candle for those that they have lost and who are not forgotten as their stories are being used to help others
Care Coalition’s mission goes further than just supporting those struggling with mental health and addiction. After a recent storm, a popular restaurant in Westchester County was destroyed by flooding. Care Coalition decided to set-up a sit-down dinner with live entertainment and raffles for opportunities provided by local businesses (personal training packages, facials, hair packages, etc.) to raise money in support of one of their favorite restaurants.
This winter, Care Coalition will be hosting a toy drive to provide presents to those who are in need. Whether an individual is struggling with mental health and addiction, there is a community crisis, or someone is just in need of a friend to talk to, Care Coalition is always there and continues to support their community and those seeking help from the outside. Through counseling, rehab placement, and fundraising, Care Coalition has been able to spread their motto, reach their goals and share their vision with people from all over, furthering their support system and saving more lives than imaginable.
To learn more on how you can get involved with or get help from Care Coalition, visit, http://www.lovenevergivesup.com/ or @carecoalition on Instagram.