AVON, Conn. (NewsNation Now) — A struggling Connecticut college student asked for help finding an affordable Thanksgiving meal option on a community forum and ended up with a lot more — a job.
Julia Plunkett is a senior at Central Connecticut State University. In the last year, Plunkett persevered despite losing her mother, losing her job due to the pandemic and becoming homeless.
“Last year when I was 19, my mom passed away from the flu. I was left without anywhere to go, any help,” she explained to NewsNation affiliate WTNH. “I was supporting myself and then when the pandemic hit, I didn’t know what to do. I ran through all my savings and everything and I was completely alone.”
Looking for an inexpensive meal option for Thanksgiving, she asked for recommendations on an Avon community Facebook forum.
“The outreach was overwhelming,” she remarked. “The whole community came out to help me.”
One of those community members, Deanna Damen, owner of Cake Gypsy, saw the post and wanted to contribute.
“I had seen her story and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this poor girl lost her mom and has to spend the holidays without her’ and I said ‘Geez, I could get her a meal,’” Damen said. “I reached out to her and just said, ‘Hey I’d be happy to do that for you.’”
Damen did more than just purchase Plunkett’s holiday meal, she offered her a job at her bakery.
“One of the things I love best about my business is that we are able to give back to the community,” Damen said. “It’s so fulfilling to be able to make such a difference in someone’s life.”
“She’s always helping the community,” Plunkett said. “I’m not the only one she’s helped during this season. She also gave Thanksgiving dinners away to 10 families.”