United Way breakfast kicks off annual campaign

Eileen Griffin, great granddaughter of Margaret C. Griffin, shared a story about how United Way donations have personally helped her family. (Photo by John Goralski)

By SHERIDAN CYR

STAFF WRITER

The United Way of Southington held a complimentary breakfast Wednesday morning at Manor Inn in Milldale, with record attendance at nearly double the amount of people from last year.

The breakfast kicked off the 2017-18 campaign to raise money to fund the agencies in Southington that support Southington residents, explained executive director Jack Eisenmann. The breakfast invitation included the local agencies that partner with United Way.

“All the money we raise stays right here in Southington and benefits the members of our community who are challenged,” said Eisenmann. “This annual breakfast is a thank you to our volunteers, a thank you to the board, and a thank you to our local businesses.”

United Way of Southington continues to grow and succeed as a company. Eisenmann reported that this was the second time in 12 years that they were able to provide the same amount of funds to their agencies from one year to the next—meaning that no cuts were made.

“We’re poised now to raise more funds for our agencies and for the programs that support Southington,” he said.

Speakers from some of the local agencies that partner with United Way had the opportunity to speak during the breakfast.

“Coming to events like this and seeing all these smiling faces in the room make it all worthwhile,” said Town Council chair Mike Riccio. “You guys make up the community that we all live in, and you make it successful.”

Art Secondo, a member of the United Way board of directors, introduced each speaker to the room and spoke on behalf of United Way.

United Way of Southington executive director Jack Eisenmann enjoys a speaker at the annual campaign kick-off breakfast at Manor Inn last Wednesday.

“It’s very touching to not only hear from the different agencies, but to see the dedication from the Board of Directors here,” said Secondo. “As you look around, there are people here from all walks of life. We all have a piece of Southington in our hearts.”

Board member Rob Flood explained the importance of a single donation to the United Way of Southington. “If we’re going to donate money, or time, or talent, we want to make sure it’s the most effective way to do that,” he said. “That donation, all of it, is going directly to the agencies and programs that we monitor on a quarterly basis.”

Flood said that he remains active with the program because “it’s not about the agencies; it’s about the programs the agencies have developed.”

Flood thanked owners of local restaurant Eddie Sombrero, the program’s newest sponsor, for three $500 donations made to United Way, Southington’s YMCA, and to Southington Community Service.

“For 91 years, your ongoing generosity and your support of the community has made this all possible for us to carry out our mission,” said Eldon Hafford, volunteer. “Without Southington residents, and without your support, there would be no United Way of Southington. I’ve been in Southington for about 10 years and I have never been involved in a group of people that cares so much.”

In attendance was Eileen Griffin, great granddaughter of Margaret Griffin, who founded one of the United Way’s agencies, the Margaret Griffin Childhood Development Center.

Griffin shared a moment she had with her four children over the dinner table recently as they reflected on all of their favorite memories from their time in the center between the ages of three to five. They all talked and laughed and reminisced on many events and activities they participated in.

“I sat back after that conversation and thought, ‘That’s what the United Way has enabled this organization to do for my family,’ and in 43 years of having our doors open as a nonprofit organization from the funding [provided by the United Way], I can imagine the number of familes that have had that experience, too, and what those children have taken away from donations.”

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.

Photos by JOHN GORALSKI

 

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