United Way meets campaign goal

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United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls Campaign Chairman Allan Monteiro addresses the audience during the organization’s annual meeting March 26 at the Crystal Room in Naugatuck. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI
United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls Campaign Chairman Allan Monteiro addresses the audience during the organization’s annual meeting March 26 at the Crystal Room in Naugatuck. –ELIO GUGLIOTTI

NAUGATUCK — When the United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls announced last fall a goal of raising $440,000, Campaign Chairman Allan Monteiro was admittedly a little skeptical that figure could be reached.

As it turned out, there was no need for concern.

“I really shouldn’t have been worried about anything,” said Monteiro during the United Way’s annual meeting March 26 at the Crystal Room.

The nonprofit organization announced that the campaign reached its goal.

“This campaign is truly a testament to the community of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls, that by working together we can achieve our goals,” Monteiro said.

United Way Executive Director Lisa Shappy attributed reaching the goal to the continued support of the community and the tireless efforts of volunteers.

“I think it shows that the communities of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls believe in their United Way, and believe that when we raise the dollars it’s being spent efficiently and effectively and it’s supporting programs that help our communities,” Shappy said.

The money raised will support a variety of programs in the community. The organization supports the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities, Family Services of Greater Waterbury, Hidden Acres Therapeutic Riding Center, Literacy Volunteers of Greater Waterbury, the Naugatuck and Beacon Falls Campership Fund, the Naugatuck and Beacon Falls Scouting Fund, Naugatuck Police Explorers, Nutmeg Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Safe Haven of Greater Waterbury, the Salvation Army, Waterbury ARC, Waterbury Youth Services, Wellmore Inc., Children and Adolescent Services and the Naugatuck YMCA. The organization also supports youth baseball and softball in Beacon Falls and Naugatuck.

The United Way also recognized several individuals and businesses for their contributions to the community and the campaign.

Jim and Sue Goggin of Naugatuck, who volunteer with numerous organizations and events in the borough, were honored with the Mary H. Connolly Community Caring Award. The award is the highest honor given by the United Way and recognizes individuals who have set the standard for service to the community.

Bill and Sue Mis of Beacon Falls were surprised with Van Allen Medals, which is named after the founding members of the United Way, Robert and Anna Lee Van Allen, and honors people for extraordinary service to their community.

ITW Powertrain Fastening of Naugatuck received the Silver Bowl Award and was named a campaign pacesetter for the company’s contributions. The Naugatuck public school system was also named a campaign pacesetter.

Naugatuck Assistant Superintendent of Schools Christopher Montini, who was the guest speaker for the evening, spoke on how working together can lead to achieving a greater good.

Montini told the fairy tale, stone soup, which is about a stranger who gets a village that hoards food to share with everyone.

Montini said many families struggle to put soup on the table. Nearly 50 percent of borough students currently qualify for free and reduced lunch, an all-time high, he said. There are many other issues impacting children today, he continued, including changing family structures and mental health issues.

“Now, more than ever, many of the families and children of Naugatuck require our continued collaboration,” Montini said.

Montini said the moral of the stone soup story is a simple and profound message.

“None of us can do it alone,” he said. “None of us can possibly achieve independently what we can achieve collectively. Together we can continue to make great soup. Together we can continue to help every family and every child have the soup they deserve. Together we can continue to educate and support all children today for tomorrow’s future.”