NEADS Loves Harbor Sweets

January 22, 2024

Donor Spotlight: Phyllis LeBlanc and Harbor Sweets

In 2024, we are fortunate to be the recipient of a fundraiser by Harbor Sweets, one of our all-time favorite chocolatiers based in nearby Salem, MA. Harbor Sweets has been a long-time friend of NEADS, and, as so often happens, a NEADS dog provided the introduction. Phyllis LeBlanc, former Harbor Sweets President and CEO, explains how and why she and her organization chose to get involved.

I have a long history with NEADS, beginning when I met Cathy Zemaitis and her (then) NEADS Service Dog Ambassador Currahee at a horse show in Vermont.  Just for fun, Cathy had her dog demonstrate some of the tasks the NEADS dogs know, including very carefully bringing a full box of Harbor Sweets Salt & Ayre chocolates to me in his mouth, while never damaging the box or trying to consume the chocolates!

As a result of the wonderful introduction, I went to visit the NEADS facility and learn more about their programs.  Before visiting, I thought NEADS trained Service Dogs, which, while one of the important services they provide, is just the tip of their work which benefits so many communities.  Learning how they enrich the lives of incarcerated individuals by involving them in the training of service dogs, which gives them a purpose and a sense of pride in helping others ,was amazing.  The scope of what the dogs learn and how many different tasks they perform to help so many people live richer, fuller lives is astonishing.  There is such a vast network involved, from breeders and NEADS own breeding program, to puppy raisers, and clients, all the way through to placing the dogs who don’t work out in the program in carefully selected homes.  I could not believe NEADS could accomplish so much and have a positive impact on so many lives with the limited resources they had available.  Every person involved has a true passion for their work, and it is uplifting to see.

Collaborating with NEADS on the creation of Be Pawsitive Chocolates was the perfect way to support their work and honor Harbor Sweets’ 50-year history of supporting worthy organizations in the community.  I am proud to have Be Pawsitive Chocolates be my final development project before retiring from Harbor Sweets.  I’m excited that the company will continue to work with and support NEADS and their wonderful programs for many years to come!

You can purchase Be Pawsitive Chocolates here.