By JEN CARDINES
On Wednesday, Sept. 14, members of the community gathered to kick off the United Way of Southington annual campaign. The kick-off breakfast at Manor Inn in Plantsville, was designed to encourage organizations and individuals to get involved with the local United Way.
United Way of Southington executive director Jack Eisenmann told the crowd that ALICE is the marketing portion of this year’s campaign. ALICE is the common name for people of Connecticut who are Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed, standing for working people that need help.
Housing, child care, food, transportation, and health care are the five basic necessities that many individuals and families cannot afford. In his second year with the program, Eisenmann said that he’s seen the percentage of people needing assistance increase from 25 to 29 percent.
Money that is donated in town or designated for the United Way of Southington stays in Southington, the director said. “Programs are related to the people in our town, so we make sure that the money stays here.”
Through the annual campaign, local businesses are encouraged to offer tax deductible donations to their employees. These donations help to fund 15 local non-profit agencies, including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Bread for Life, Catholic Charities, child guidance clinic, community mental health affiliates, Connecticut Legal Services, Literacy Volunteers of Central CT, the Margaret Griffin Child Development Center, Mulberry Gardens, the Prudence Crandall Center, Senior Transportation Services, the Salvation Army, Hartford Health Care at Home, the Southington YMCA, and the YWCA sexual assault crisis service.
The United Way of Southington has been serving the community since 1926.
Board of directors member Robert Flood emphasized the “many united hands make life work” theme during his speech. He is also a Vice President and Manager at Liberty Bank, where he helps employees understand the program and give money through a payroll deduction program.
Southington Public Schools, under the direction of Superintendent Timothy Connellan, was also recognized for their efforts, including a full-year campaign this year to build upon last year’s six month campaign.
Executive Director John Meyers and Board member Rev. Suzannah Rohman of Southington’s YMCA spoke about how community partnerships are important. “United Way helps the Y,” said Rohman, “and the Y helps United Way.”
With the campaign kick-off, Eisenmann said with a smile, “We’re open for business!”
“It’s your creativity and our creativity together that will make this campaign work,” said Flood.
For more information on how you or your business can get involved, visit www.UnitedWayofSouthington.org or contact the United Way of Southington at 37 West Center St., Suite 201, P.O. Box 546, Southington, CT 06489 or (860) 628-4565.
Photos by JOHN GORALSKI