NEWINGTON - In a season when annual traditions take a front seat, one group honors a duty its members feel towards the town.
About 30 current and retired Newington teachers made it their mission to fulfill the holiday wishes of four families in town over the last few months.
Alpha Delta Kappa spent over $2,400 for Newington Human Services’ Adopt-a-Family program this year. Members will never meet the families, who remain anonymous as the town distributes gifts to about 400 households in the next few weeks. The club received only basic information about each recipient, including age, gender and a gift request in the $30 range. The four families were composed of between two and six people each.
The sisters met at one member’s home recently to gather donations before making the big delivery to Newington Town Hall.
“I am so proud of all of our sisters who take time out of their busy schedules and selflessly reach into their purses to help those who are less fortunate than we are,” President Christa Cote said. “Adopt a Family is such a special part of our ADK calendar as it allows us to give back to members of a community who have been so giving to us. I am so happy that our sisters can help so many of our community members in need.”
An honorary organization of women educators dedicated to educational excellence, altruism and world understanding, ADK’s Newington chapter was the first in the state, established in 1955.
Chapter historian Bev Pelletier has been a member of the group for the last 37 years. She can remember adopting families for much of that time.
“Altruism is our major goal for Alpha Chapter, and since most of our members are or were teachers in Newington, we were adamant that giving back to our community was important,” Pelletier said.
Publicity chairwoman Jess Morin teaches eighth-grade science and social studies at John Wallace Middle School. If any of the gifts ended up in one of her students’ homes, she would never even know.
“We are truly blessed to be able to help our community each year and know that we have made a difference during this holiday season,” Morin said.
As she pointed out, the requests they receive are most usually for useful items. “Many were necessities like toilet paper and cleaning supplies, clothing and bedding,” Morin said. “We always add in some extra gift items for the families, like gift cards, so they have some surprises, too.”
Immediate past President Julie Butryman is a Newington native, so the project benefits her hometown.
My family has deep roots in Newington,” Butryman explained. “My parents grew up here and so did I. I still have strong connections to this amazing community. As a teacher in Newington, this is a way for me to give back to the families in the Newington school district.”
Generic presents for teenagers, adults and elderly residents are still needed. All donations need to be in by this Friday, Dec. 15 in order to be included in the distribution. Dropoffs can be made at Town Hall, 131 Cedar St., from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call 860-665-8590 with questions.
Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or firstname.lastname@example.org.