Branches Casserole Club Unites North Attleboro Neighbors
New Community Project Provides Connection and Sustenance
When Kelly Arnao, executive director of The Branches of North Attleboro, an assisted living community in North Attleboro, Mass., heard that a group of seniors living at a local senior housing project had been displaced and was staying at the Holiday Inn in North Attleboro, she knew she had to do something about it.
“All I could think about was how bad I would feel if that happened to our residents,” says Arnao. “Being put out of your home without your creature comforts and a home-cooked meal is hard for anyone, but especially seniors.”
Arnao leapt into action, gathering some of the community’s volunteers, including a group of students from Bishop Feehan High School and residents. The group eagerly began making casseroles while Arnao connected with the North Attleboro Housing Authority over the wish to help. Not too long after, The Branches Casserole Club was born.
Starting in February, the Club began making and delivering casseroles to all the displaced seniors who have enjoyed not only the food but also the friendships they’ve developed. “It started with a desire to provide comfort but has become about so much more than that. As a community that’s focused on elevating human connection, I’ve been thrilled to see the joy that has come from the connections we’ve made and to see how the recipients have been genuinely touched by our concern for their well-being.”
Other local groups have even been inspired to chip in. Recently, the United Regional Chamber of Commerce provided a side dish, and the town provided appetizers and dessert. The Holiday Inn also generously donated staff and space to heat, serve and clean up after the meals.
“This has truly been a community-wide effort of people coming together to support those who need it,” says Arnao.
Moving forward, The Branches intends to have casseroles ready to deliver to neighbors in need. Anyone who can benefit from a home-cooked meal should contact Marie Vitale at The Branches at (508) 455-4095.
Based in Waltham, Mass., Benchmark is a leading provider of senior living and aging-well services in the Northeast. Founded in 1997 by Tom Grape, Benchmark operates 58 senior living communities offering independent living, assisted living, Alzheimer’s care and skilled nursing in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. In 2018, Benchmark was certified as a Great Place to Work by the Great Place to Work Institute and became the first senior living organization and only the fifth Massachusetts-based company to receive Certified Age Friendly Employer (CAFE) designation from RetirementJobs.com. It is one of only 10 companies recognized as a top workplace by The Boston Globe for all 10 years of the award and has also received top workplace accolades from the Boston Business Journal, Connecticut Post, Hartford Courant and Hartford Business Journal. Click here for more information.
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The Branches of North Attleboro