Join Lou Manfredini in supporting his favorite charity Misericordia by helping to fill Lou’s virtual candy jar for the annual Candy Days fundraiser.

Arnold Electrical Services will make a matching donation up to $2,500 to add to the efforts!

One hundred percent of the proceeds raised during Candy Days will positively affect the Misericordia residents who are persons of all religious, ethnic, racial and socio-economic backgrounds with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Donate to Lou’s virtual candy jar here.

Misericordia, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, has helped those in need since 1921 and is home to more than 600 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Why the support is personal for Arnold Electrical Services

For the family at Arnold Electrical Services, supporting Misericordia is a personal one. They shared this story about Jack Arnold’s great-uncle Leonard Downes.

In 1934, when Jack Arnold’s great-uncle Leonard Downes was born, there was little understanding of, and no support systems, for people with Down Syndrome. Fortunately for Uncle Leonard, known as Lenny Ben, he was born into a large and love family. Fortunately for that large and loving family, Lenny Ben was born to them.

Not following the advice of the doctors who said to ‘put him in a home’ and he ‘wouldn’t live past 30’, Lenny Ben’s parents brought him home to his eight siblings and surrounded him with love. They loved him and cared for him and gave him chores to do, no different than the other nine children in the family. While there was no school for him at the time, Lenny Ben could tell you who the Bears would be playing on Sunday or whether the Cubs had won or lost.

As a teen and young adult, Lenny Ben helped his father on his laundry route. Leonard loved it. Great-Grampa Downes seemed to know that people need to be needed and to belong to something greater, that being loved and cared for isn’t enough. Lenny Ben didn’t just survive well past 30 years of age, he thrived.

After his parents passed, Lenny Ben’s sister Julie and her husband Ray took care of him. They lived in a three-flat, so Leonard was able to keep his own apartment and maintain a bit of independence. He was inseparable with his brother-in-law Ray, and where Ray and Julie went, Lenny Ben went. Lenny Ben became an honorary member of the Gordon Tech High School Father’s Club Bowling League, attended Cubs games and Bears games and fishing tournaments. As his nephews grew into adulthood, they brought Lenny Ben into their friend groups.

Had he been born 30 years later, with the help of places like Misericordia and special education programs in public schools, there’s no doubt Lenny Ben could have and would have had jobs outside the family.

Later Lenny Ben moved to Florida near his younger brother where he made new friends and connected with family there. Lenny Ben died in 2009, just over four months shy of his 75th birthday. The baby they said wouldn’t live to be 30, lived a life more than double that.

The Arnold family is grateful for Misericordia and they vital work that they do for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Misericordia, like Great-Grandpa Downes almost a century ago, understands that belonging to a community and having a reason for being, to be needed, are essential. Misericordis is not a place people go to just be – it’s a place where people go to live, grow, love, learn and belong, adding years to their life and life to their years.