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Mae Ola’s “Children” Carry On

by Allan Appel | Dec 23, 2013 2:21 pm

(1) Comment | Commenting has been closed | E-mail the Author

Posted to: Social Services, Dixwell

Allan Appel Photo Maybe Tatianna Walker will grow up to be a doctor because way back in Christmas 2014, when she was 6 and times were tough for her family, Tatianna was able to get a Doc McStuffins doctor dress-up toy and begin to perfect her bedside manner.

Tatianna and her three siblings and mom were the first family to receive toys, clothing—and in the Walkers’ case, a bag of food—at the Dixwell police substation Sunday at noon.

That was the distribution point this year for the Mae Ola Riddick annual campaign to provide winter clothing, toys, and food to families in need.

It’s the first year the campaign is being carried out without the presence of legendary area activist Mae Ola Riddick, the “chair lady” of Dixwell who died on Sept. 17.

The many proteges whom she schooled in the ways of how to get things done in New Haven are now transforming what Riddick kept in her head into a database and a full-fledged new not-for-profit, said police Lt. Patricia Helliger.

The campaign is reaching as many if not more people than last year.

Click here for a story about the 1,500-toy contribution of one area businessman.

And it is becoming more professionalized and computer savvy, a necessary step because Riddick “kept everything in her head,” said Helliger, whom Riddick took under her arm when she was a young beat cop new to New Haven.

This year each of the approximately 500 families to receive assistance is registered in a database for the first time. They will be tracked for their other needs as well as the traditional holiday turkeys to gifts.

Next event for the foundation: a February formal tribute dinner, to include the announcement of Riddick’s induction into the National Women’s Hall of Fame, said Metashar Dillon, a campaign organizer and another of Mae Ola’s “children.”

For those wanting to keep up with the evolving Mae Ola Riddick Foundation news or to contribute, click here for more info or phone (203) 668-8087 or (860) 810-7153.


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posted by: Mary Brown on December 23, 2013  3:27pm

This is a great story! I am sure that Maeola would want her work to continue in this way. She was determined to help so many people in the time of need. Congratulations to Helliger and Dillon for a job well done!

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