New Milford-area groups hope to spread joy this holiday season

NEW MILFORD — ‘Tis the season to spread holiday cheer.

So say the members of the Charles Merriman Chapter, Children of the American Revolution, which has a handful of local members.

The chapter teamed up with the local chapter of the United Way of Western Connecticut for the “Sweet Dreams Project,” which consists of collecting new pajamas and books to be given to local children aged newborn through pre-teen.

“It brightens up the kids’ days,” said CAR member Ryan Delmore, 15. “Some might not have as many privileges as kids in the area.”

Last Friday, Ryan joined his siblings, Alexis, 17, and Jack, 12, members of the Roger Sherman Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution and the United Way in packaging up one set of pajamas and a book into gift bags dressed with festive-colored tissue paper at the John Pettibone Community Center.

“Christmas can be sad for some people,” said Alexis, state president of the Charles Merriman chapter of CAR. “And people wanted to come together to support people that need it the most.”

The Sweet Dreams Project began after DAR and CAR members talked about how families might spend the holiday, especially this year, since times have been challenging for many folks due to the pandemic, according to Katy Francis, a member of the local DAR chapter and of the United Way.

“It’s fun to know we’re helping someone and giving joy to them,” Jack said while setting up the gift bags across lengthy tables in a meeting room.

Francis said the 220 bags will be distributed through the Social Services Department.

Jennie Rehnberg, a Roger Sherman Chapter DAR member, honorary state regent, national curator general for DAR and senior president of the Charles Merriman Chapter of CAR, said the project helps teach youth about the importance of giving back to the community.

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