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October 29, 2008

National Make a Difference Day in Guilford

Make a Difference Day is one of the largest national events for helping others-a celebreation of neighbors helping neighbors. Created by USA weekend magazine, Make a Difference Day is an annual event that takes place on the fourth Saturday of every October. Making this year's date October 25.

In greater New Haven, Guilford Social Services(GSS) reached out their hands and made a difference for all of their hungry neighbors. GSS galvanized volunteers accross the community to collect and sort canned goods and toiletries to stock the shelves of the Guilford Food Bank (GFB). The postal service in Guilford collected the donations on rural routes and drove them to the GFB. One by one they drove in with boxes of food and smiling faces.

Tammy DiFrancesco, Executive Director of GSS says, " I have been organizing this event for 13 years and feed an average of 200 families per month". In these trying economic times and with economic and educational disparities growing, many people will have to rely on community drives and the kindness of strangers to meet basic needs.

As I walked over to Tammy to give her a food donation and financial donation from United Way, I quickly thought to mysef, " is this going to be enough"? and then I realized, as I looked at all of the volunteers furiously sorting and collecting food, yes, for today it is. It was enough because I saw people connecting and working for a common goal. United Way of Greater New Haven recognizes the power of civic engagment and the connections we create when we all join together for the common good. Wether it be matching companies to a meaningful community project, holding a regional diaper drive or collecting food for families-It is about Living United.

Many people are currently facing some of the worst decisions in their lives with regards to heating their homes and feeding their families. This is the time to connect, to engage and to give to those less fortunate. When we reach out a hand to one, we change the conditions for all.

College to Community Book Drive Collects 5,000 Children's Books

Oct. 29, 2008
Media Contact: Michelle Wade, 203.772.4202
Cell – 860.834.0128
College to Community Book Drive Collects 5,000 Children’s Books

Local Colleges and Universities Partner with United Way
Six area colleges including Albertus Magnus College, Gateway Community College, Quinnipiac University, Southern CT State University, University of New Haven and Yale University came together during United Ways Days of Caring 2008 to collect 5,000 children’s books which will be distributed to families across Greater New Haven through New Haven Reads and Read To Grow.

After leading the Yale University Days of Caring Book Drive for three years, Diane Turner, Associate University Librarian for Human Resources, Staff Training, and Security proposed expanding the drive to other local college campuses and agreed to chair this effort. In their first effort, the College to Community successfully reached their goal of 4,000 books. This year, Turner again chaired the six campus effort and surpassed last years collections by more than 1,000 books.

“We know that reading to our children is a critical part of early development and yet many families unfortunately lack access to books in our community. By working together to increase the number of books available for young people throughout Greater New Haven, colleges and universities showed that each seemingly small act of charity can benefit the lives of many. Classrooms as well as families that might not otherwise have the means to purchase new books can now enjoy all the benefits of reading as a result of this exciting partnership,” said Amy Townsley, community impact coordinator of United Way of Greater New Haven.
Our community can continue to make a difference. For further information on donating books or volunteer opportunities please visit our website at www.uwngh.org

About United Way:
United Way brings together the caring power of our community to create measurable, sustainable change and to improve lives. To do this we: help identify our region's greatest needs and best opportunities for change; raise dollars and invest those dollars for results; connect people to their caring through volunteer opportunities.

More information about United Way of Greater New Haven's community leadership and how you can help can be found at www.uwgnh.org.
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United Way Healthy Baby Diaper Drive Collected Over 100,000 Diapers

October 27, 2008
Media Contact: Michelle Wade, 203.772.2010, Ext.202
United Way Healthy Baby Diaper Drive Collected Over 100,000 Diapers
Diapers to be distributed around the region

NEW HAVEN, Conn., October 27, 2008– With a total of over 100,000 diapers worth $20,000, United Way of Greater New Haven and all of its Days of Caring participants were able to provide relief that will help children in our community start life healthy and ready to learn by ensuring families have access to diapers.

As the cost of basic needs – food, heating, transportation – continue to rise, many families are facing a terrible choice between food or heat or diapers for children. An adequate supply of disposable diapers can cost a family over $100 per month. In low-income households, babies often spend the entire day or longer in a single diaper because the family cannot afford to buy an adequate supply of diapers. Without clean diapers, babies are too uncomfortable, and sometimes too unhealthy, to play and learn. Parents can also become disheartened and disconnected when they struggle to care for their babies.

The first annual Town of Branford and United Way Touch-A-Truck event brought in over 25,000 diapers from 1,300 Branford residents who supported the event, making it a wonderful family outing, while raising awareness and collecting diapers. Covidien Surgical Devices whose global headquarters are in North Haven and their U.S headquarters in Norwalk also participated in the United Way Diaper Drive, and collected over 31,000 diapers that were donated to The Diaper Bank.

“Thank you to the 49 companies that collected diapers in support of The Diaper Bank at over 68 sites that will be distributed to families in need across Greater New Haven. in support of The Diaper Bank to be distributed to families and children in need. We more than doubled our original, ambitious goal of 50,000 diapers! This is a huge benefit for families,” noted Amy Casavina Hall, Director of Community Impact at United Way of Greater New Haven “whose children cannot attend childcare unless the family can supply diapers. A lack of diapers can jeopardize a family’s ability to remain economically stable, as well as their child’s health.”
The following are all the companies who helped make the Diaper Drive possible and helped us reach over 100,000 diapers. New Haven: Yale New Haven Hospital, Carmody & Torrance, Murtha Cullina, The New Haven Register, Proliance International, Inc., TD Bank north, Webster Bank, Wilbur Smith & Associates and WTNH. North Haven: Covidien, ACES, Connex Credit Union, Marlin Fire Arms, Petra Construction Corp., the Town of North Haven and the Joyce C. Budrow Senior Center. Hamden: Amphenol Corporation. Guilford: Barnum Financial, Wal-Mart, Webster Bank and Guilford Savings Bank. Branford: Blackstone Memorial Library, Branford Parks and Recreation, Controlled Air, Neurogen and Webster Bank. Norwalk: Covidien. West Haven: Eder Brothers and Vine Products Manufacturing Company. Trumbull: Girl Scouts of CT. Orange: Hubbell, Town of Orange, UPS and Webster Bank. Stratford: Sprint Nextel. Woodbridge: Stop & Shop. East Haven: Webster Bank and Town Fair Tire. Madison: Webster Bank and Madison Exchange Club.

About United Way:
United Way brings together the caring power of our community to create measurable, sustainable change and to improve lives. To do this we: help identify our region's greatest needs and best opportunities for change; raise dollars and invest those dollars for results; connect people to their caring through volunteer opportunities.

More information about United Way of Greater New Haven's community leadership and how you can help can be found at http://www.uwgnh.org/.


October 27, 2008

One Community, One Voice: A Benefit Concert for Shelter Now

One Community, One Voice is a joint effort by Yale University and United Way of Greater New Haven to help raise awareness and much needed financial resources for a recently initiated effort called Shelter Now which is working to raise money for the emergency shelters across New Haven. Yale acapella groups who are participating include: The Whiffenpoofs, Redhot and Blue, Whim ‘n Rhythm, Something Extra, The Duke’s Men, The New Blue, Spizzwinks?, Shades, The Society of Orpheus and Bacchus, and the Academia Nuts. Please come join us for an entertaining, and very important cause!

WHEN: November 2nd, 3:00- 5:00pm

WHERE: Battell Chapel (400 College Street, New Haven)

Tickets are available at the door- $10 for adults, $5 for students, children are free.


The concert last week was a huge success! Thank you all that came out to support Shelter Now, and enjoy the wonderful songs sang by Yale's top a cappella groups. Because of your support we were able to raise 3,000 dollars for the emergency shelters this winter. A special thanks to Mark Dollhopf for hosting the evening, and to all of the a cappella groups who graciously donated their time and talent to such an important cause.

For more information, or to donate, please contact Cecily Jones at cjones@uwgnh.org, or call at (203) 691-4211

Donate now online to Shelter Now


or donate using Paypal

Civic Engagement Conversation

Wednesday, October 29, 2008
New Haven Free Public Library
133 Elm Street, New Haven
6:00-8:00 p.m.

Eric Etheridge, Author, Breach of Peace: Portraits of the 1961 Mississippi Freedom Riders
Freedom Riders
Rev. Reginald Green, Ellen Ziskind
and Lula White

Discussion will be moderated by Cheryl Greenberg,
Paul E. Raether Distinguished Professor of History at Trinity College

Free & open to the public / Free parking

Presenting Sponsor - Roz and Jerry Meyer
Additional Support from NewAlliance Bank and Yale University

Presented by The New Haven Free Public Library & Patrons of the New Haven Public Library
For more information please call Barbara Segaloff, 203.946.8130 ext. 314

October 24, 2008

Thoughts on Living United

This last month has been like few I have experienced in the last thirty five years. As we conduct the annual campaign we have the opportunity to visit a number of very diverse companies and talk to people who are working for minimum wage, others who are part of the middle class and many professionals who are well compensated. People from all walks of life are deeply concerned and genuinely fearful about the future. People understand or at least clearly see that there are no silver bullets that can fix the financial mess we are experiencing. Some try to blame the greedy Wall Street elite and others blame the borrowers of the sub-prime mortgages, but those arguments are short lived as no quick fix solutions emerge from the blame conversation. Fear takes over as people consider the very real possibility that we have lost our way, maybe lost our moral compass and it’s time to reconsider our values and what really matters.

I believe we have arrived at a “tipping point” in this country and in Greater New Haven. I think we have arrived back at the place that Alexis de Tocqueville identified one hundred and eighty years ago. We once again understand that in this American democracy our individual success is only sustainable when we pay attention to the common good. We are seeing that it is not society’s job to support the economy but rather it is the economy that has been created to support society and in a sustainable way. We all have the right to study hard, work hard, to sacrifice, or do whatever it takes to thrive and succeed but we don’t have the right to keep others from having the same opportunity. The tipping point will begin to show up in community conversations about what we value and what we see as a possible future for our children and grandchildren. It will show up in a wave of volunteerism and personal giving that will make us all proud.

In the presentations we make to employee and civic groups we talk about what it means to “Live United” – to understand that when we reach out a hand to one person in need we influence the condition of all. We talk about how we are all diminished when a teenager turns to a life of ignorance and crime or when a family looses their home and finds themselves living in their car before they find a shelter. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we are all stronger when a fourth grader finds a mentor he respects and for the first time has a glimpse of hope or when a young mother graduates from high school and enters higher education with a path to a job and career. We are seeing this Live United message about the common good engage people in a manner we have not seen in a long time.

As the crisis we face with economic conditions causes hardship for our fellow citizens, we must Live United. We must come together to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens have the help they need right now while we continue to focus on the action that leads to longer term stability for all through educational opportunities, job training, stable housing and health. United Way of Greater New Haven is grateful for all of the contributions we have received during this campaign and we ask those who have not yet given to Live United and make a gift to this community campaign.

October 22, 2008

Greater New Haven Performs Acts of Kindness

Oct. 22, 2008
Media Contact: Michelle Wade, 203.772.4202
Cell – 860.834.0128
Greater New Haven Performs Acts of Kindness

Community’s commitment to volunteerism and civic engagement
illustrated through Days of Caring efforts

(New Haven, Conn.) United Way of Greater New Haven engaged thousands of local volunteers right here in New Haven, Bethany, Branford, East Haven, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, West Haven and Woodbridge through its week-long community service event, Days of Caring. From Sept. 15-21, over 3,000 Days of Caring volunteers participated in over 130 projects which logged volunteer hours worth approximately $100,000 to benefit the region’s nonprofit agencies, schools and parks.

The annual celebration of volunteerism serves as a kick-off to United Way’s workplace campaign, presently taking place. Company teams and volunteers participated in projects like beautifying and renovating facilities, creating games and "hands-on" information stations for kids, sorting supplies, planting and landscaping, and planning or donating to a collection drive from school supplies to diapers. These projects helped build relationships between volunteer groups and nonprofit agencies in the Greater New Haven area and raise awareness of critical community issues related to education, income and health.. To view photos from the various events visit our photo gallery at http://www.uwgnh.org/.

“The drives throughout the region collected more than 5,000 books, over 100,000 baby diapers, and 29,000 school supplies,” said Amy Casavina Hall, Director of Community Impact at United Way of Greater New Haven. “Together we can achieve results that no one can accomplish alone. With, with all of our outstanding results, and over $100,000 worth of volunteer hours and $20,000 in donated diapers, the most important part is that volunteers were able to touch the lives of those in need and influence the condition of us all.”

“Civic Engagement is one of United Way’s strategies to improve lives and build stronger communities,” said Jack Healy, Chief Executive Officer of United Way. “Through Days of Caring, we strive to increase the number of people who are active, engaged citizens in their communities by providing a wide spectrum of opportunities while at the same time raising awareness about the many hard-working non-profits in our region.”

United Way of Greater New Haven would like to extend sincere thanks to its Days of Caring partners Yale-New Haven Hospital, Covidien Surgical Devices, Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, and WTNH News Channel 8/MYTV 9 for their support and commitment to our community.
About United Way:
United Way brings together the caring power of our community to create measurable, sustainable change and to improve lives. To do this we: help identify our region's greatest needs and best opportunities for change; raise dollars and invest those dollars for results; connect people to their caring through volunteer opportunities.

More information about United Way of Greater New Haven's community leadership and how you can help can be found at http://www.uwgnh.org/.

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One Community, One Voice

Oct. 22, 2008
Media Contact: Michelle Wade
Work: 203.691.4202
Cell: 860.834.0128
One Community, One Voice
A concert to benefit the homeless this winter

On Sunday, November 2, 2008 Yale acapella groups will be performing at Battell Chapel from 3:00-5:00 p.m. to benefit Shelter Now, an initiativeprogram supported by Columbus House and Yale Hunger and Homeless Action Project (YHHAP)to raise $100,000 to fund keep open New Haven’s emergency shelters from November through April. Many prominent Yale acapella groups agreed to perform for free in order to support Shelter Now, and make the concert possible.

Eliza Schafler, a YHHAP member said, "As the acapella benefit concert demonstrates, Shelter Now is important not just to students within the Yale Hunger and Homelessness Action Project, but to all Yale students. We are moved to help because Shelter Now is a fight to save lives in our own neighborhood, to preserve a basic human right for people in our community. Yet we also understand that shelter is more than just immediate relief; it is a first crucial step for those struggling with poverty toward a better life."

“Due to today’s struggling economy and as winter approaches, many of the New Haven shelters are filling up quickly leaving no room for additional people. This is the time when we as a community need to come together and protect out neighbors. When we reach out a hand to one, we influence the condition of all,” said Cecily Jones, volunteer engagement coordinator of United Way of Greater New Haven.
Tickets will be available at the door, $5 for students, and $10 for adults; children accompanied by adults will be admitted free. The Whiffenpoofs, Whim ‘n Rhythm, Something Extra, The Duke’s Men, The New Blue, The Spizzwinks (?), Redhot & Blue, The Society of Orpheus and Bacchus, Shades, and The Academia Nuts are all scheduled to perform.
Join us in the fight to keep New Haven’s overflow shelters open this winter. For further information, contact Cecily Jones at (203) 691-42211 or CJones@uwgnh.org.
About United Way:
United Way brings together the caring power of people to create change in our region and to improve lives. We strive to be a catalyst for identifying community needs and opportunities for change; to focus on specific community priority areas and initiatives through which we have the best opportunities to improve lives and change conditions; and to engage donors, organizations and community leaders to improve the social and civic health of our region.
More information about United Way’s work to improve lives and communities can be found at http://www.uwgnh.org/.

October 15, 2008

Too Scared To Scream- Fright Haven

October 14, 2008
Media Contact: Fright Haven


October 14, 2008---West Haven - The state's newest and scariest haunted attraction, Fright Haven, is now open! Fright Haven, located at 480 Sawmill Road in West Haven, exit 42 off I-95 (former Staples building, across from Wal-Mart), is made up of three entirely separate haunted houses encompassing 25,000 square feet, all under one roof. For those who are leery of the darkness and the unknown, nightmares are around every corner at the Frightmare Fear Institute Pitch Black Haunt, a sensory experience encompassing all of one's fears and phobias. Another attraction, the 3-D Carnival of Evil, envisions a no-man's land where the old (and perhaps deceased) clowns of carnivals past have returned to seek revenge on those who abandoned their old stomping grounds, such as Savin Rock Amusement Park, Coney Island and other long-gone meccas for carnival clowns.

The 3-D effect is breathtaking, as are the demented clowns who invade the haunt. The final attraction, Dead End Manor, is an old-fashioned traditional haunted house with ghosts, zombies, vampires and other undead creatures roaming every rooms, hall and area of the dilapidated mansion. Be careful, because among the dead, there are actual live mice eating away at a trapped victim! As scary and morbid and macabre as it sounds, it's all in good fun, of course, as Fright Haven's "Team of Terror" are actors professionally trained in the art of scaring and startling. Being indoors, Fright Haven has the benefit of being able to be remain open even if it rains. Scares take place every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday through November 1st. Additionally Fright Haven will be open the Tuesday and Wednesday of Halloween week. Doors open to the public nightly at 7pm. The month-long attraction is sponsored by WTNH Channel 8, WEBE 108 radio station and Boppers DJs Entertainment, and the benefiting charity is United Way of New Haven in support of their statewide 2-1-1 community and human services information and referral program.
Last year, during the Halloween season, the haunt attracted approximately 18,000 people with a passion for getting scared, and was rated the top new haunted attraction in America. This year, with an investment in state-of-the-art animatronics, Fright Haven has added new scares and fun features to bring it the level of a world-class haunted attraction. Due to the intensity and fear factor of FRIGHT HAVEN, those with weak hearts, health conditions, young children and pregnant women are advised to enter under their own risk. Mark Kirschner, one of the project managers and a professor of psychology, suggests that people do not visit FRIGHT HAVEN alone. "Be sure that you are accompanied by friends, family and those you trust to keep you safe from the evils and the unknown contained within the haunted walls of this attraction," remarks Kirschner. As Fright Haven boasts, "you'll be too scared to scream."
Admission is only $10 per attraction, with a special discounted combo pass for all three haunts available for $20. There is also a special V.I.P. speed pass combo ticket which entitles visitors to front-of-the-line privileges and a souvenir t-shirt. Advance tickets are available online, along with further information, at http://www.frighthaven.com/. Group discounts are available by phone at (203) 799-FEAR, which is also the haunt's info line. - end -

About Fright Haven:
Connecticut's Newest and Greatest world-class Haunted Attraction comprised of three separate themed haunts all under one roof -- 30,000 square feet of fun-filled and fear-filled terror designed to maximize scares and future nightmares. Visit the "attractions" page for descriptions of the three haunts contained within Fright Haven. You'll be too scared to scream!

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October 7, 2008

United Way Calls Together Emergency Food Ad Hoc Committee

Food insecurity unfortunately impacts our community everyday, leaving many families having to choose between paying for food, rent or utilities. To that end, UWGN convened an Emergency Food Ad Hoc Committee made up of community stakeholders to identify emergency food needs and resources in our community. Charged with recommending the most effective way to impact the region, the Ad Hoc committee asked UWGNH to partner with representatives from food pantries and soup kitchens in the Dixwell, Newhallville and Highwood neighborhoods around ways to build the organizational capacity of emergency food providers in order to improve access to food. Representatives from the Ministry of Helps Foundation, St. Martin De Porres, God’s Miracle Unlimited Outreach Ministry, Community Soup Kitchen, Varick Church, St. Andrew’s Food Pantry, Village of Power, Glorified Deliverance Center Church and Love Center Deliverance Ministry came together on October 6, 2008 at the Varick Church to begin discussions of how best to ensure that all families in our region are food secure.

See Channel 8 Video Here

October 1, 2008

211 Call Data Shows Rising Requests for Energy Assistance

The Community Results Center is launching an initiative that showcases the United Way 2-1-1 call data. Several times per year, the CRC will publish The 2-1-1 Barometer, a report that utilizes 2-1-1 data and other information to explore issues affecting Connecticut residents. 2-1-1 collects data on the information callers are looking for and the referrals that are made, thus creating a wealth of information that serves as a gauge of the needs present in the state. The first edition focuses on energy assistance.

You can view the full report here.
You can also see more local 211 statistics here.