By TAYLOR HARTZ
The Southington Italian-American Festival Committee honored two local non-profit organizations this week, presenting them each with $1,500 donations.
The two organizations, Southington Community Services (SCS), and Southington Community Cultural Arts (SoCCA), both participated in the Italian-American Festival this year and were chosen to receive proceeds from the event.
“We’re proud to promote the festival and the wonderful organizations who were able to donate to it,” said UNICO member and State Rep. David Zoni (D-Conn.), who said giving back to the community is a part of Italian tradition.
The Italian-American Festival Committee is made up of members of Southington’s UNICO chapter and the Sons of Italy. Representatives from both clubs presented checks to the recipients outside the Sons of Italy on Sept. 21.
Town Councilor and SoCCA board member Dawn Miceli said that the $1,500 donation will help the art organization get their new building up and running, and will aid in the development of their Universal Arts (UArts) program.
The UArts program is new to the Southington organization and will be one of the first of its kind in the state.
The goal of the program is to “bring arts to the underserved populations,” said Miceli, who explained that it will provide individuals with special needs with training from professional artists.
The students will be able to create works of art that can be sold, and will be selling some of their creations at this year’s Harvest the Arts during the Apple Harvest Festival.
Although their arts center does not open until December, the UArts program has already begun.
SoCCA has hired a staff member to run the program, who is currently working through Southington Arc.
Once their new building is open, Miceli said SoCCA board members will use the donation to advance the UArts program.
SCS, who also received a $1,500 donation, said they will use the money to service Southington residents with financial needs.
Whether it be a need for new clothes to help find a job, holiday shopping assistance, or summer school payments, SCS does their best to help low income residents.
“No matter what you need you can come in,” said Janet Mellon of her work with the organization.
Mellon explained that any money that comes in goes directly to individuals across town that need help, including the 80-100 families they service regularly at the food bank.
“We couldn’t do what we do without all the help that we receive from these two great organizations,” said Mark Fazzolari, assistant director of SCS.
Sons of Italy member Bob Triano, who nominated the Southington Community Services for the donation, said that for as long as he has been a member, the club has been happy to help SCS.
“They do a lot with very little, and they accommodate a lot of people who are less fortunate than us,” said Triano. “That’s part of the Italian way—to help those who can’t help themselves.”