Angel Hearts Launches In Seymour
by Tony Spinelli | Aug 11, 2011 12:15 pm
Posted to: Seymour
Sometimes it takes the heart of an angel to lend a helping hand.
A Seymour couple who know first-hand what it is like to be out of work and down with a medical problem has risen to the aid of others who share that dilemma, forming an organization called “Angel Hearts.”
They plan to provide holiday cheer, volunteer with household help and a little extra money to cover bills for families whose principal breadwinner is suffering from medical conditions that keep them out of work.
“A lot of the other groups that are out there focus on the actual sick and we felt the families themselves need a little more, so we got together to form an organization to specifically help the families,” said David Palumbo, 40, president of the organization.
He said his organization already has interest from several dozen volunteers who want to help families in need because of medical conditions, including illness and injury.
“We want to get them back on track with their lives with minimal disruption to their daily routine,” David said.
They got together in January and are speeding their cause.
Steven Kulas, a Seymour attorney who is representing the new organization, said he is working on the application to make Angel Hearts an official state-recognized non-profit charitable organization, so that people can make tax-deductible donations to the cause. Gift items will also be accepted.
The group hopes to be up and running in time for Christmas, Palumbo said.
“We can help with Christmas presents for the kids and household things like paying the bills,” Palumbo said.
The couple explained their situation.
Wife Renee Palumbo, 43, a Chatfield School paraprofessional, was out of work last fall with hip surgery and David, who works in developmental services for the state, became seriously ill with a rare connective tissue disease called Erdheim Chester’s.
They scraped and scrapped to get by, thanks to insurance and extended family members, but knew they wanted to help others who faced similar situations with illness.
They are not working alone. They are being helped in their organizational efforts by Alicia Feller, 40, of Derby, a social worker who is Renee’s cousin, and James Rafferty, 40, of Seymour, a cement truck driver who is Palumbo’s longtime friend.
“Just hearing about the disease Dave was diagnosed with, and the difficulties they had sometimes, we wanted to be part of that and help and make sure things did stay the same for the family,” Feller said.
Their goal is to become the extended families for those in need.
“We like to be a part of something like that, people loving people,” Feller said.
Volunteer work is nothing new to them all.
“We’ve all been involved in volunteering with fire departments, EMS, town stuff or churches,” Rafferty. said
Their first action as a group, other than conducting meetings with calls for volunteers, was a fundraiser Aug. 2 at Addeo’s Italian Ice in Shelton.
“Addeo’s is donating 100 percent of the profits for those hours to the Angel Hearts Foundation,” Renee said.
When it comes time to help families, the foundation will use a criteria for eligibility they say they are still developing.
They have established a mailing address, though.
Write to Angel Hearts at The Angel Hearts Foundation of Seymour, 2 Klarides Village Drive, No. 114, Seymour, CT, 06483.
“If you need help, take time to send us a letter,” David said.
The group meets on the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Seymour Community Center on Pine Street.
Part of the reason for the meetings is to help draw volunteers.
All types of volunteer help is welcome, he said.
“You can show up to help wrap gifts for the kids,” he said.
They’ll be a welcome addition to the Valley, said Jack Walsh, president of the Valley United Way.
“There’s always more people with needs than ways to meet the need. There’s not much direct financial aid, it’s very difficult,” Walsh said.
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