Ringing the bell

Southington UNICO offered a donation during a Salvation Army bell ringing drive led by the town’s elected officials.

By JEN CARDINES

STAFF WRITER

Sen. Joe Markley, State Rep. Rob Sampson and Rep.-elect John Fusco braved the cold weather on Thursday, Dec. 15 to collect money for the Salvation Army.

In below freezing temperatures, Southington’s political figures “rang the bell” from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Queen Street Walmart to benefit town residents in need. Every year, Markley and Sampson make an appearance in the Christmas season to raise funds.

This is the sixth year Markley and Sampson have rung the bell for charity and the first year Fusco will join them.

State Rep. Rob Sampson (R-Wolcott, Southington) jokes with a Walmart customer as she donates to the Salvation Army. Southington’s elected officials gathered to ring the bell for charity last Thursday.

Sampson said they’ve produced record amounts over the past five years because Wal-Mart matches the donations received in those two hours 100 percent.  Markley added that they raised $12,000 in the first year.

“They thought we’d never do it again, but we did, and then we went over that,” Markley said.  Through this annual event, Wal-Mart has donated more than $100,000 over the years.

Southington UNICO presented a check for $1,875.

“We donated $1,500 and Liberty Bank added $375,” said UNICO board member and State Rep. Dave Zoni, who lost his seat to Fusco in the November election. “Now Wal-Mart is going to double it.”

With a beaming smile, UNICO President Victoria Triano said, “We did this because we knew they’d match it dollar for dollar.  Our members worked so hard to make this possible and we are so happy that the senator and representatives are here to receive it.”

All of the money collected in the Salvation Army buckets in Southington stays in Southington, through Community Services.

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