The halls of the Pond House Café at Elizabeth Park in West Hartford were decked with donated unwrapped toys during the Johnson Brunetti Retirement & Investment Specialists Holiday Brunch, and the toys will be distributed to needy families by the Salvation Army.
By Ted Glanzer, West Hartford Press
More than 100 people got in the holiday spirit on Dec. 18 at The Pond House Cafe at Elizabeth Park during the Johnson Brunetti Retirement & Investment Specialists Holiday Brunch.
In addition to being served a wonderful meal, guests graciously donated more than 400 new, unwrapped toys to the Salvation Army to help less fortunate families.
In addition, Johnson Brunetti Managing Partner Joel Johnson presented a $1,000 cash donation on behalf of the firm to Major Roger Duperree of the Salvation Army.
“This is our sixth year here and we just wanted to do something special around the holidays for our clients,” Johnson said. “We also wanted to give them the opportunity to give toys to the less fortunate. … It’s just a great event and it’s a nice way to say thank you to our clients. We get to spend time with them in a nonbusiness atmosphere, get to know their families. We love the event.”
Johnson noted how important it is to the firm to also give back to the community.
“We try to do things with Make-A-Wish, Salvation Army, Wounded Warrior Project,” he said. “It’s very rewarding and it’s so important.
“Sometimes we forget how fortunate we are, especially with a lot of the things that are going on these days that are a little traumatic. People are nervous. But we have it great in the state of Connecticut and in this country. It’s just nice to remember that.”
Duperree, for his part, thanked the people in attendance and noted how he took a little umbrage with the Christmas song “Here Comes Santa Claus,” specifically, the lyric “He doesn’t care if you’re rich or poor, he loves you just the same.”
“I know from personal experience that’s not true,” Duperree said.
Duperree said you can tell the difference between what the average American child on Christmas receives compared with the children the Salvation Army serves.
“You can see the people we serve: People who need food help and for people who don’t have money for rent or they don’t have money for their utility bill,” he said. “I can guarantee you, Santa doesn’t like those kids as much as the other ones.”
Duperree said the good news is people like those attending the brunch “equalize that.”
“You make that work somehow. … You help make it the same for them all.”
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