United Way campaign off to good start

From left, United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls President Laurie Yelding, Vice President and Campaign Chairwoman Kathleen McPadden and Executive Director Lisa Shappy talk Oct. 3 before the 2013 Campaign Kickoff Breakfast at the Leary's Crystal Room in Naugatuck. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

From left, United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls President Laurie Yelding, Vice President and Campaign Chairwoman Kathleen McPadden and Executive Director Lisa Shappy talk Oct. 3 before the 2013 Campaign Kickoff Breakfast at the Leary’s Crystal Room in Naugatuck. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

NAUGATUCK — The United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls was well on its way to reaching its fundraising goal of $440,000 before guests arrived last Thursday morning for the 2013 Campaign Kickoff Breakfast.

Campaign Chairwoman Kathleen McPadden, who is also the United Way’s vice president, announced before roughly 80 people at the Leary’s Crystal Room that the United Way had already raised 39 percent of its goal.

“I’d like to ask you to all keep the momentum going,” said McPadden, who is vice president of human resources at Naugatuck Savings Bank. “We have a lot of work to do in the upcoming months.”

Mayor Robert Mezzo said it was great to see the tremendous support the United Way has to kick the campaign off again. He said the United Way, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in April, couldn’t do what it does without the support of the community.

“We’ve had 50 great years, but we’re starting the next great 50 years here this morning,” Mezzo said.

The United Way raised more than a third of its goal before the breakfast thanks to several local pacesetter companies who already held or are conducting their campaigns: Flabeg Technical Glass raised $13,750, Naugatuck Savings Bank raised $95,276 and Naugatuck public schools raised $11,400, McPadden reported.  

Naugatuck Valley Savings and Loan is currently conducting its campaign. McPadden said the bank has pledges totaling $20,115 with a third of its employee contributions and corporate gift still outstanding.

Along with the pacesetter companies, the United Way raised a total of $15,100 from a golf tournament in September and a car show in July to go along with miscellaneous donations of $16,020 thus far to reach 39 percent of its goal. 

The United Way helps funds 16 partner agencies and four youth athletic leagues. Last year, the annual campaign raised $440,000, which exceeded the goal of $425,000. Based on last year’s success, McPadden said, the United Way’s Board of Directors increased the goal this year to $440,000.

Lisa Shappy, executive director of the United Way, said the hope was to be at 25 percent of the goal for the breakfast.  

“We’re ahead of ourselves, which is exciting,” Shappy said.

The campaign will forge ahead including a number upcoming events and a new marketing campaign. Postcards with information on the United Way and how to donate will be mailed out to residents in Beacon Falls and Naugatuck.

“We want to raise more awareness in the towns about that partner agencies and what we do,” McPadden said. 

Shappy described the increased goal as an aggressive one, but she and McPadden believe the United Way volunteers and the communities will meet the challenge.  

“We have a great group of volunteers,” Shappy said. “I think they’re going to step up and work hard so that we can achieve it.”

McPadden, who has co-chaired the campaign two times before, added, “We believe in the citizens of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls and especially if we remember happiness does not result from what we get, but from what we give.”

For more information, visit www.unitedwaynaugatuck.org.