Growing up, tennis great Chris Evert was one of Carla Miklos' idols. "I cut my hair like hers, I got my ears pierced like her," Miklos, the executive director of Operation Hope, recalled Monday. "I even wanted a yellow-and-white tennis dress like she had."
Miklos may not have gotten that coveted tennis dress, but she got something even better -- a $5,000 donation from Hood Simply Smart Milk's "Make a Difference, Taste a Difference" campaign presented by Evert. The check was presented in a short ceremony Monday afternoon at the Old Post Road administrative offices of the agency that manages homeless shelters, a community kitchen and transitional housing programs in Fairfield.
Miklos was one of three women selected by Hood for making a difference in their communities. Winners were chosen based on the number of votes received on the Simply Smart Milk Facebook page.
"I'm just thrilled to be here with Carla Miklos," Evert said. "This is what it's all about."
Evert said while she played -- and won -- on the professional tennis circuit for many years, after retirement she had an empty feeling. It's then, she said, "You realize it's not about getting, it's about giving."
The former tennis champ said the women being recognized by Hood "are true examples of how their dedication and hard work are leaving a lasting imprint on their communities."
Miklos was thrilled to meet Evert and receive the donation for Operation Hope.
"We're definitely going to use it to offset the overhead costs for having the pantry in this building, and subsidize the cost of maintaining the pantry," Miklos said.
Miklos added that Operation Hope is lucky to be in Fairfield.
"I think we're so lucky to be in a community where people care about their neighbors who are struggling," she said. "We're so grateful."
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