Way back when this happening was called the “Mitten Tree,” a huge Christmas tree stood empty in “Heritage Hall.” By the end of the event the tree was totally decorated with mittens, gloves and scarves that were donated by friends and neighbors with warm hearts. Some things remain the same. The elves are still hanging things that will keep people warm and let others know that generous souls are thinking of them at holiday time. This
year the contents were taken down and sent to
organizations who will distribute them. The happening is now called the “Giving Tree.” It is held in Sarah Cooke Hall, renamed after a woman who had great concern and interest in all the residents and people in general. She would be pleased to know that holiday spirit is alive and well in the Village.
The Giving Tree was held on Thursday, Dec. 5. There were tables placed against the walls and in different areas of the room. At the end of the event, all the tables were piled high with donations. Women representing organizations who will benefit from the Villager’s generosity spoke to those present.
Kathleen Hennessey from the Southbury Needy Fund stated that they have 150 children on their list to service this season. There were tables for tots and older children and donations included PJs, diapers, blankets, socks, a variety of toys, craft items, dresses, books and more. Checks can be made out to the Southbury Needy Fund and donations can be sent there at P.O. Box 72, Southbury, CT 06488.
“Without your generosity, we couldn’t do this,” stated Ann Marie Galus, director of the Southbury Food Bank. We serve 200 households in Southbury and 62 percent are seniors, many from Heritage Village. Donated were piles of boxes and towers of cans.
“We depend solely on donations. We can’t use funds to purchase pet food. The Companion Animal Club of Heritage Village repackages food and fills the shelves every week,” she said. The Southbury Food Bank accepts donations all year, which can be mailed to P.O. Box 68, Southbury, CT 06488.
Mary Korsu who represented the VFW mentioned the “Help a Soldier Program.” The VFW helped 50 veterans make it home by raising funds and offering a monetary gift of $250 in 2005 and 2006. “There are funds for veterans, active soldiers and anyone in need,” said Mary. There was a table filled with shampoo, deodorant, socks, toothpaste, toothbrushes and items servicemen and servicewomen would find useful. Checks can be made out to VFW Post 1607. Donations can be sent Cmdr. Ken Korsu, VFW Post 1607,150 Lee Farm Rd., Southbury, CT 06488.
Kathy Anderson and Tamath Rossi represented the Southbury Senior Center. “We rely on the generosity of those who bring items for seniors to the Giving Tree event. The seniors were so grateful when they received their gifts last year,” stated Southbury Senior Center Director Tamath Rossi. The table at this event included writing paper, stamps, cat and dog food, kitty litter and craft books. Many seniors could use Senior Center bus cards and Dial a Ride medical bus cards available at the Senior Center.
“Stitch and Chat” displayed beautifully knitted and crocheted items including hats,
children’s sweaters, scarves and baby booties. Seated at the table were Fran Crystal, Cathy Solimano and Ruth Hoff. Maxine Nelson stopped by with colorful hand-knitted hats. “They that would fit children two years of age and younger,” said Maxine.
The Strips and Squares Quilters had a table filled with beautiful quilts that the club members created. Once again Trish Palmer crafted a beautiful quilt and raffle tickets were sold. The money raised will be used to pay the postage when all the donations received at the event are mailed to servicemen and service women. The winner of the quilt was Anita Sansone. Manning the table were Nancy Wallace, Lila Bentley, Trish Palmer and Arlene Lynch. The quilts on the table were children’s quilts. They were donated to the Southbury Needy Fund and will keep needy youngsters warm this winter.
The Jewish Culture Cub/Hadassah Hanukkah table had a beautiful set of glass dreidels, which told the story of creation, and several menorahs.
Guests gathered and chatted with friends and neighbors and enjoyed choosing goodies from the cookie table and sipping coffee and tea. They were served by members of the Women’s Club Board who were wearing whimsical headbands. The “Chime In” bell ringers from Bethel rang favorites including “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and “Little Town of Bethlehem.” Then the group passed out chimes and offered helpful instructions to many in the audience so that they all could play together.
The Happy Tappers wore bright red costumes and snappy Santa’s hats, which were eye-catching, and Director Nancy Prager looked sparkly in a costume with sequins. They danced to Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride,” Reba McIntyre’s “Up on the Rooftop,” and Kay Star’s “Man With a Hat.”
Then it was time to sing-along: “Just hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring-ti
ng-tingling, too…” “Good tidings to you wherever you are…” “You better watch out, you better not cry…” “May your days be merry and bright…” “But as long as you love me so, let it snow, let it snow…” The audience was ably assisted by singers stationed in various spots in the hall. Karen Lampiasi played the Steinway with panache, and our energetic conductor Kathy True-Sugden led the singers and the audience. The song sheets were very helpful.
We were all happy to see Dear Santa. He took time off from reading all the mail he receives at this time of the year to attend the Giving Tree. Thank you Ox and Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and good health and happiness in 2020. The Women’s Club offered all those who attended the opportunity to enjoy a wonderful afternoon of entertainment, refreshments and the opportunity to
feel the spirit of holiday giving. Thank you to all those who helped including Denise Burke,
Ronnie Fornabaio, Karen Knox, Rita Malloy, Flo Morell, Judi Murray, Anna Petro, Diane Schmidt, Gloria Sudora, Carolyn Tucker, Eleanor Wetchler and Mildred Zinser. Thank you John Fornabaio, Perry Morell, Peter Murray, Joe Novak, and Karl Schmidt, the elves who were great. Anne and George Leiz helped pack up all the donations.
Villager Mildred Zinser read a Christmas parody that she wrote. It began with the familiar “T’was the night before Christmas” and ended with an important message:
“We’ve been given so much. We’re sometimes out of touch with those needing help in the country. There’s a time to remember, not just in December, to share in the wealth of our bounty.”