'We're just getting started.' Fairfield County charity collects baby supplies for Ukraine

Saugatuck Sweets in Fairfield and Westport is known for its ice cream but also its outreach. Owner Al DiGuido founded the charity Al's Angels 25 years ago to help kids with cancer. He's now supporting the millions of people fleeing Ukraine.

Marissa Alter

Mar 15, 2022, 11:24 PM

Updated 862 days ago

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Saugatuck Sweets in Fairfield and Westport is known for its ice cream but also its outreach. Owner Al DiGuido founded the charity Al's Angels 25 years ago to help kids with cancer. He's now supporting the millions of people fleeing Ukraine. 
"We said, 'We have to start to do something.' We can't sit on the sidelines watching this all happen and say, 'Well, it's not our country. It's not our problem. It's somewhere far away,'" DiGuido explained.
For the past few days, Al's Angels has collected items for kids under 1 years old with DiGuido's business doubling as a drop-off site. DiGuido said he got connected to people on the ground in Ukraine and Poland and found out what items they need the most.
"There are a significant amount of kids who are babies. Their mothers are carrying those babies across the border into Poland without any kind of supplies," DiGuido said.
Debra Grant showed up at Saugatuck Sweets Tuesday with a truck full of $2,000 worth of baby items. Grant owns Show to Sell Homes in Westport and recruited her vendors to help with the effort. Grant said they donated funds which her company matched. Then she went shopping.
"Baby diapers, bottles, pacifiers, warm blankets, snugglies, onesies—anything we could find. We just cleared off shelves at Costco and Walmart and CVS and loaded up our truck to deliver today," Grant said.
She told News 12 there's a personal connection to the undertaking. Grant spent her first career as a neonatal intensive care nurse.
"A few nights ago on the TV, I saw these little preemies laid out lying on a floor in some bomb shelter, and it just broke my heart. And I just felt very close to the need," she explained.
Grant said her daughter-in-law is also Ukrainian American and still has friends and relatives there.
Al's Angels volunteers spent the afternoon boxing up supplies, which will be loaded onto a plane bound for Poland Wednesday.
"The outpouring from the Fairfield County community has been incredible," DiGuido said.
He told News 12 his charity has already shipped 22 bins of essential medical supplies.
"We're just getting started," DiGuido said.
Al's Angels plans to hold a fundraiser at Penfield Pavilion in Fairfield on March 30. You can learn more about that and how else to donate here.


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