NEWINGTON - Charity endeavors will come to life next year because of dozens of holiday wreaths.
The Berlin-Kensington Rotary Club came to town recently to celebrate the holidays and raise money for its ongoing community outreach.
The club’s annual Festival of Wreaths and Wine Tasting took place inside the Newington Rapid Recovery Center on Church Street.
Center marketing director Rosanna D’Anna happens to be a Rotarian, so she helped coordinate the event from both ends.
“We decided here at Newington Rapid Recovery that this would be a really great way to provide funds for the club,” D’Anna explained. “All the proceeds go to charity.”
The rehabilitation facility provided the evening’s hors d’oeuvres and desserts as a donation to the cause.
“We’re so happy we can host this in our environment,” administrator Renata Cocozza said. “We like to bring people in here who wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to see our facility.”
The Berlin-Kensington Rotary Club is a civic organization that serves the local community in a variety of ways throughout the year. Members facilitate a soup kitchen out of the New Britain Salvation Army and award local high school students scholarships each spring.
Rotary International is a worldwide service organization. Its members frequently work with neighboring clubs and those overseas.
Newington Rotary Club member Bob Newbold attended the festival. It was an opportunity for him to spread the word about Newington Rotary activities and a personal outreach project he’s working towards.
Newbold suffered a stroke last March and lived to launch an awareness campaign centered on quick response and recovery.
“I’ve learned so much and it’s a situation where people need to know how to recognize what a stroke looks like,” he explained. “The sooner you react and call 911 the better chances you have.”
After identifying a funding gap in stroke awareness, he’s now in the process of building a non-profit organization to address the need.
Festival visitors purchased strips of raffle tickets to distribute into various collections for wreaths, which were hung on the walls around the facility.
Club members donated the seasonal prizes, each decorated differently. Among the most popular were a grouping covered in scratch lottery tickets. Others had candles, bells, poinsettias and lights attached.
Member Laurie Stifel pinned bars of gourmet chocolate to a wreath she donated. She was happy to contribute to the club’s ongoing goodwill and it was a chance to network with fellow businesspeople.
“I love to be able to share stories and experiences,” Stifel said.
Berlin Senior Center Director Tina Doyle came to support Newington Rapid Recovery Center, whose staff are frequent volunteers at the senior center.
“They give so much to our members,” Doyle said. “They’re wonderful people. This is my way of thanking them.”
Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or firstname.lastname@example.org.