‘Hungry Kidzz’: Local Woman Sets Up New Canaan Location for Nonprofit’s Stocking Program

Months after New Canaan’s Jeanette Wallace in early 2014 created Hungry Kidzz—a nonprofit organization whose mission is to get as much food and joy to needy local children—she launched a “stocking stuffer” program whereby donors could fill a stocking with goodies that she’d redistribute through area human services groups. Relatively new to town—Wallace moved here with her family, including three kids, about four years ago—she didn’t have a physical location at the time to give her program visibility and to collect donations. This year, Wallace teamed up with Halo Studios on Grove Street and expanded the program so that those who wanted to support it without physically filling a stocking themselves could help by funding the purchase of treats, candy, gum, puzzles, arts & crafts, books, barrettes, nail polish and other items.

“We felt last year that there are a lot of people that wanted to do stockings and but they didn’t have time and would rather write a check,” Wallace said. Formerly a Trumbull resident, Wallace said she realizes the organization’s mission through programs such as the stocking stuffers by helping connect New Canaanites with needy families from surrounding towns in a meaningful, direct way. The stockings themselves—Wallace predicts more than last year’s 1,300 for this year—will go to families not only through the New Canaan Food Pantry but also Open Door Shelter in Norwalk which is both a soup kitchen and shelter, Center for Family Justice in Bridgeport, St.

‘VIP First Look’ at Halo Studios on Grove Street [SLIDESHOW]

Halo Studios LLC on Thursday evening hosted a “VIP First Look” event at its new health and wellness hub on Grove Street, attended by dozens of professionals across a wide spectrum of health-related fields, local community and business leaders, media members, prospective clients and more. With its mission of improving the collective health of greater New Canaan, Halo features open studios, suites and kiosks occupied by permanent as well as “fractional” tenants that share space (scroll through photo gallery above to meet some in each category). Encouraging socialization as well as support to pursue a healthier lifestyle, Halo offers services on an á la carte basis including a boutique fitness center, personal training, free weights and locker rooms and experts in yoga, Pilates, massage, nutrition, physical therapy. Standing near the organic café and water fountain that greet visitors entering Halo from the covered parking area at the Racquet Club building, owner Peter Lane of NCLC said “the great thing as you look around is that it’s really the wellness experts that are going to occupy the studios.”

“That’s where it’s very impressive,” Lane said. “Their businesses are all going to be here in collaboration with each other and all in the name of wellness, and that to me is powerful.

Paleo, Raw and Vegan Food Provider ‘Grass Rxoots’ Coming to New Canaan at Halo

A provider of paleo, raw and vegan foods is slated next month to move into the new, comprehensive health and wellness center on Grove Street that already is offering some services. Grass Rxoots (℞ being the symbol for a prescription) will form a kind of “organic café” immediately inside Halo, located at the walk-in level from the covered lot at the New Canaan Racquet Club, according to Cobie Graber, a marketing consultant for the facility. “They provide delicious, physician-approved organic meals and cold-pressed juices,” Graber said of Grass Rxoots. With an eye on more. Founded by Greenwich internist Dr. Steven Murphy, among others, in May 2013 as a food and juice provider, Grass Rxoots already offers catering, delivery and cleanses, and at Halo will also provide a kind of on-site medical consultation to visitors seeking what Graber called “individualized food prescriptions.”

The larger concept at Halo is that it offers social interaction, education, exercise and nutrition all in one, with services offered a la carte by a number of health and wellness experts at individual studios and suites, some of which are shared.

At Last: Green & Tonic Slated to Open Next Week on Burtis Avenue

After months of renovation work that has coincided with full-scale rebranding and capital raise, Green & Tonic is on track to open next week on Burtis Avenue in downtown New Canaan. The purveyor of cold-pressed juices and plant-based foods will undergo a health inspection today, according to Jeffrey Pandolfino—a Greenwich resident and food veteran who owns the business with his wife, Cai—and a few days later hopes to welcome New Canaanites into the new store that also offers smoothies, teas and a variety of breakfast foods, snacks, salads, soups and wraps. “We are super excited to get to New Canaan and the one thing I would say to the people of New Canaan is that I’m sorry it has taken a year to get the store built,” Pandolfino said. The interior work at the shop—the first door on the right as you come down Burtis, formerly an antiques store—has been going on in conjunction with a store design update and rebranding of G&T packaging, logo and labels, he said. “It’s definitely Green & Tonic version 2.0 and we’re excited about that.”

Formerly the owners of an all-natural foods catering business that they sold in 2008, Jeffrey and Cai Pandolfino soon began angling toward what would become Green & Tonic (with storefronts in Greenwich and Darien as well as a Westchester presence) by starting as a cleansing business that has evolved to include food that’s designed to “fuel the active lifestyle,” Jeffrey Pandolfino said, “whether grabbing side salads and using them as a base for dinner, or prepackaged for launch, we work really hard to be a food company, a health casual company that happens to serve a lot of beverages.”

He continued: “Everything in the store is plant-based, so if you want to call it vegan you could but we prefer to say ‘plant-based’ and that doesn’t mean we are necessarily vegans or advocate a 100 percent vegan lifestyle.

Push for SRO at Saxe Gains Momentum among New Canaan Parents, Educators


New Canaan residents and educators advocating for a police officer at Saxe Middle School say the move would enhance not just student safety but also education and personal growth. School resource officers or “SROs” have been found at the middle school level to anchor and guide students at a time when they’re “forming their identities,” Saxe Principal Greg Macedo said Wednesday. “That is when they rely on their parents, teachers, coaches,” Macedo said during a Town Council meeting, held at the New Canaan Nature Center. Prompted by Town Council member Steve Karl, Macedo’s comments come as the Board of Education—and every other New Canaan taxpayer-supported department and agency—approaches the final stages of the municipal budget process. The police department requested about $100,000 for next fiscal year for a pair of positions that it says would improve service and reduce overtime—one of them would be the Saxe SRO (see page 53 in this PDF).