Liberty Bank workers give Middlesex United Way office a facelift in Middletown

With July approaching, I would just like to take a moment to reflect on the whirlwind that was June. It seemed like every week we were hosting an event, and our staff, partners and volunteers all stepped up to the plate. Needless to say, I am very proud of the results.

The Liberty Lends a Hand Campaign encourages bank employees to take part in volunteer projects and collections throughout the entire month of June. Employees can take part in two ways: by forming teams and volunteering at a local nonprofit and/or by collecting goods for charities. Last year, Liberty Bankers collected 9,313 items for 66 local nonprofits, and 182 employees volunteered at 27 local project sites, helping to paint, landscape and event plan, totaling over 950 hours of hard work.

This year, Liberty Bank Foundation has included Middlesex United Way in their effort. About 18 Liberty Bank employees spent time with us this month helping to repaint our office. It’s been 12 years since the last time we painted, so saying this office needed a makeover was an understatement. Liberty Bank has always been such a great partner and we are so honored we were chosen this year to take advantage of their employees’ do-good work.

I am so impressed with our two affinity groups, The Women’s Initiative and The Young Leaders Society. They both hosted incredibly successful events this month, and I wanted to take a moment to give them a shout out.

The Women’s Initiative hosted its 10th annual fundraiser, Power of the Purse, June 14. The event hosted 130 attendees, featured 47 silent auctions items and 21 flower arrangement centerpieces. Over $14,000 was raised to help women and children throughout Middlesex County. Thank you to this year’s sponsors, Liberty Bank, Middlesex Hospital, The Connection, Change, Inc., and Nikole Ashlee Studios — and a huge thank you to all who donated, volunteered and attended!

The women that planned this event also deserve a big shout out. Excellent job to Sarah Bird, who chaired the event; Lori Lodge, chairwoman of the Women’s Initiative; Beth Dance, Allison Dowe, Marisa Fede, Christine Homa, Jill Kovalich, Audrey Livingston, Dawn Norton Donnalynn Notaro, Dawn Parker, Debra Patrician, Karen Rettenmeier, Katie Simmons, Dee Tulinski and Maureen Zavatone, all who played a key part in this event’s success.

The Middlesex United Way Young Leaders Society held its third annual Putts for a Purpose Miniature Golf Tournament & Fundraiser this month at Torza’s Golf and Taphouse 150 in Cromwell. Not only did we have fun mini golfing and eating a delicious dinner, but they raised more than money than in the event’s history. The Young Leaders raised over $3,000 through sponsorships and participation to provide local low-income children with back-to-school supplies.

Taphouse 150 was an excellent host, donating a drink per player and allowing us to utilize their space for networking and food. Thanks goes to Victor and Billy from Torza’s Golf for their support.

Events like this can’t happen without generous support from our sponsors. Many thanks to presenting sponsor TD Bank, and Hole-In-One sponsors Best Cleaners, Disaster Restoration Services, Harding Development Group, LaFountain Immigration Law, Middlesex Hospital Homecare, Middletown Vein and Aesthetic Center, Quality Landscaping LLC, and Rockland Fence. Thank you to Parkway Package Store for being an Eagle Sponsor.

Lastly, thank you to our hole sponsors: AIDS CT, College Collections, Clinton Sports Shop, Oasis Wellness Center, Wright-Pierce, Kevin Harris, Edward Jones and Unitec.

For the entire month, we were committed to rallying our community together for this year’s Day of Action June 21. We hosted our first ever community book drive throughout all 15 towns that make up Middlesex County. A lot of hard work and planning went into making sure this book drive was a success, such as ensuring there was a public drop-off location in every town in Middlesex County.

We were able to partner with local companies to promote the initiative and gathered volunteers to assist. With the contributions from community members, organizations and companies, together we collected over 1,500 books! These books will be distributed to our funded partner programs and public and private child-care centers in every town throughout Middlesex County.

Thank you to the following organizations for participating:

Act Group, Brown & Brown Insurance, Chester Library, Clinton Public Library, Comcast Xfinity Store, Middletown, Cromwell Public Library, Deep River Public Library , Durham Public Library ,East Haddam Public Library ,East Hampton Public Library, Essex Public Library, Flood Law Firm, Haddam Public Library, Killingworth Public Library, Middlesex County Chamber, Middlesex Hospital, Old Saybrook Chamber, Peoples Bank, Portland Library, Pratt & Whitney Middletown, Russell Library, Seasons Federal Credit Union and Westbrook Library.

If you would like to get involved in events and opportunities like this, please reach out to us by contacting Maria Wood at 860-346-8695 or maria.wood@middlesexunitedway.org.

Kevin Wilhelm is president and CEO of the Middlesex United Way in Middletown.