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Branford's Youth Rally for Community

Two youth-driven events last week support local families during the holidays.

While most of us are running around checking off items from our holiday to-do list, 10 recent Branford High graduates were busy organizing the first ever town-wide FPGG Holiday Scavenger Hunt.

FPGG straightforwardly stands for Fortunate People Giving Gifts and includes Jarrett Levesh, Sam Latham, Alex Altermatt, David Fisher, Joey Johnson, Austin Connell, Omar Hotak, Mac Brosnan, Mark Williams and Sam Levine.

Originally organized to pass time on boring weekends, this group started doing scavenger hunts while they were together at Branford High. They had the idea to fuse the tradition with an effort to help local families struggling throughout the holidays.

In lieu of an entry fee, participants were invited to bring an unwrapped gift to be donated to the Branford Counseling Center. The Counseling Center matches over 400 local families with gifts from the community. Marketing only through social media outlets, 10 teams showed up, many in full holiday garb, ready to win take home the grand prize. With over 70 clever tasks, the teams of four had to use their knowledge of Branford trivia along with their organizing skills to efficiently check off the items.

Some of the items included taking a picturing wearing an ugly Christmas sweater, taking a picture with a Branford police officer, locating the grindstone in the Branford center cemetery, and even singing “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” with a stranger! Each item included a point value and whichever team came back to the Green with the most points, took home the prizes.

The “FPGG” group combined forces with Branford High School senior Andrew Klarman whose senior project was organizing a toy drive at a basketball game this week. Between the two well-attended events, the outpouring of support at both events was tremendous raising well over 500 toys. 

Jarret Levesh says that the idea started simply with their friends who wanted to do something to give back to the community who gave them so much, and to ensure that all kids got as good of a Christmas as they did growing up.

As for others looking to support the community Jarret says, “Giving back doesn’t mean a big toy drive. It can even be standing outside of Wal-Mart collecting cans. Just have a plan and follow through with it. Give back big or small — it all helps.” 

Don’t let it ruin your holidays if you missed this one.

“This is going to be a annual event for sure” Jarret assured us. “We really enjoyed it and it seems like everyone else did too.”

For more information on the Branford Counseling Center or to get involved with their ongoing efforts to support the Branford community, call them at 203-481-4248.

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