CT Checkup: New Britain presents ‘Think Beyond Yourself Awards’ to community members giving back during pandemic

Hartford

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) — Throughout the state, communities are coming together during this pandemic. In New Britain, the city is giving special recognition to those going above and beyond with its ‘Think Beyond Yourself’ awards.

“For the last couple of months, we have just seen these incredible acts of kindness and charity and giving,” said Mayor Erin Stewart. “So we announced the ‘Think Beyond Yourself Awards’ as a way to highlight some of the incredible stories we have to tell.

Members of the community sent in nominations, and Stewart said that by the submission deadline on April 30th, she had received 30 nominations. 

Anna Kobylarz is a coordinator for the volunteer group Mask Force CT, one of the nominees, and she said this recognition means a lot. 

“We work hard,” she said.” Everyone works very hard so we are very happy that we are going to be recognized.” 

The group is made up of about 20 women who have made and donated nearly 4,000 masks to local first responders and those in need. 

The group is based out of Staropolska Restaurant and continues to crank out a few hundred masks per week. 

“When there’s a need, we all need to chip in, we all need to come together,” said Margaret Malinowski, another volunteer. “We all need to give a little piece of our heart so we can all survive.” 

The owner of Mofongo Restaurant, another nominee, is donating 70 meals each night to the Hospital of Central Connecticut and has donated 5,000 total meals to first responders throughout the state since hee pandemic began. 

He is humbled by the nomination. 

“To see the community in new britain come out and continue to support us, it’s amazing,” said Vincent Placeres. “And it keeps it going.”

Winners will start to be announced next week and will receive a certificate, medallion, and write-up on the city website. 

Mayor Stewart says the goal is to spread positivity and to ensure that every generous act is paid proper tribute. 

“Everyone’s kind of scared, everyone has this sense of the unknown,” she said. “We want to do something to bring a smile to everyone’s face and show all the good things happening amidst this crisis.”

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