New England Newborns Sported Red Hats For a Good Cause Thanks to Big Hearts in 16 Benchmark Communities

Residents and Associates Knit Over 700 Tiny Red Hats to Raise Awareness for Congenital Heart Defects through American Heart Association Little Hats, Big Hearts Campaign

People throwing red hats in the air

In February, newborns in hospitals across New England sported a tiny accessory, a red knit hat, many of which were made by residents and associates at Benchmark senior living communities. In recognition of American Heart Month, Benchmark, a human connection company and leading provider of senior living services in the Northeast, sponsored the American Heart Association’s Little Hats, Big Hearts campaign, which raises awareness for congenital heart defects (CHD). The campaign at Benchmark began in January and netted 731 hats for newborns with many residents and associates connecting over shared interests and showcasing their knitting skills.

On the first day of the campaign, Allison Melahouris, Benchmark’s senior vice president of operations and strategic initiatives, distributed some of the hats to babies and families at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston where, not too long ago, she gave birth to her own son. “I had a difficult journey conceiving my son so I can relate to many of the emotions these parents are experiencing,” says Melahouris. “Being able to show support for families in the communities we serve and communicate how much we care is truly one of the highlights of my year.”

CHD is the most common type of birth defect in the country, and every year thousands of babies are born with this life-threatening condition. The American Heart Association is committed to raising awareness for CHD and helping children live stronger lives through education, research and public policies. In fact, the organization’s funding for pediatric cardiac research is second only to that of the federal government. The AHA also trains parents, caregivers and medical professionals in infant and child CPR for which it has created guidelines.

Sixteen of Benchmark’s independent living, assisted living and memory care communities in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont participated in the campaign. Benchmark is also a proud sponsor of AHA’s annual Heart Ball, which this year will take place on May 4 at the Westin Waterfront in Boston.

“This is the first year our communities got involved in the Little Hats, Big Hearts campaign, and I could not be prouder of all they accomplished,” says Tom Grape, founder, chairman and CEO of Benchmark. “From residents to resident care associates in many of our communities, they connected to something that matters to so many, and they did it with purpose and enthusiasm.”

About Benchmark 
Based in Waltham, Mass., Benchmark is a leading provider of senior housing in the Northeast with 6,400 associates and 58 communities. Founded in 1997 by Tom Grape, Benchmark offers independent living, assisted living, Alzheimer’s care and skilled nursing in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont. The organization was selected by FORTUNE magazine for its inaugural 2018 Best Workplaces for Aging Services list, taking the number 16 spot on the list of top 40 aging services companies and ranking number three among companies with more than 40 communities. Benchmark is one of only six companies named to The Boston Globe Top Places to Work list every year of the 11 years it has been published. And it has been consistently recognized by Boston Business Journal, Hartford Courant and Hartford Business Journal as a top workplace, and by the Boston Business Journal, Providence Business News and Hartford Business Journal as one of the healthiest employers. Click here for more information.

Press Contact: Carol Arnold, Arnold Communications,, (603) 502-0469.