With one in five of Connecticut children living in a household that is “food insecure” at some point during the year, a Thanksgiving feast wasn’t in the picture for many families in our communities. But thanks to the 2016 Liberty Bank/Rotary Club Thanksgiving Drive, families living in Liberty Bank’s service area will benefit from over $281,800 raised to supply that food—a record for the 13-year-old partnership between the bank and 40 local Rotary Clubs.
Four Rotary Clubs led the fundraising efforts with exceptional results: East Hampton raised $43,200; Branford’s donations tallied $37,978; Southington nearly tripled 2015 results with $32,025 raised; and first-time Thanksgiving Drive participant, the Rotary of Derby/Shelton, collected $12,758.
Forty Rotary Clubs and the East Haddam Community Lions Club teamed up with the 55 Liberty Bank offices to raise $281,808 during the weeks after Columbus Day. At the end of the drive, the Liberty Bank Foundation added 25 cents for each dollar raised, totaling $56,362. Rotarians either use the funds to purchase and deliver Thanksgiving food to needy families, or donate the money to a local nonprofit organization that provides Thanksgiving baskets. All donations are used to provide food in the communities where they were given.
“In many towns where Liberty has branches, this drive has become the key mobilizer to meet the need for Thanksgiving food,” said Sue Murphy, executive director of the Liberty Bank Foundation and a member of the Middletown Rotary Club. “Thanks to our Rotary partners, our dinner drive has taken on a life of its own. It’s a wonderful community collaboration.”
Since it began in 2004, the Liberty Bank/Rotary Club Thanksgiving Dinner Drive has raised almost $1.7 million to supply holiday meals to residents of the towns served by the bank. Last year’s drive raised almost $214,000, including over $53,000 in matching funds from the Liberty Bank Foundation, for a record-breaking year totaling $267,456.
The following Rotary Clubs participated in the 2016 Liberty Bank/Rotary Club Thanksgiving Dinner Drive: Ansonia*, Beacon Falls*, Branford, Bristol, Cheshire, Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, Derby/Shelton*, East Hampton, Essex, Groton, Haddam/Killingworth, Hamden, Kensington/Berlin, Madison, Meriden, Middletown, Mystic, Naugatuck*, New Britain/Berlin, New Haven, New London, Newington, Niantic, North Haven, Norwich, Old Saybrook, Plainville, Seymour/Oxford*, Southington, Stoningtons, Tribury of Woodbury/Southbury/Middlebury*, Wallingford, Waterbury*, Waterford, West Hartford, Wethersfield/Rocky Hill, and Willimantic. The East Haddam Community Lions Club also participated.
Each Liberty Bank office collected contributions for its local Rotary, so the funds remain in the communities where they were donated. Some Rotaries collected and distributed funds for nearby towns as well as their own, so that every town with a Liberty Bank office was included.
Liberty Bank branches participated in the fundraising by selling paper “turkey legs” to customers, and raised a portion of the total. The bank provided an incentive of free lunches to the staffs of the three branches that raised the most money through turkey leg sales.
Rotary is a global network of more than 1.2 million volunteer leaders who dedicate their time and talent to tackle the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. There are 34,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Clubs are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds. Their work impacts lives at both the local and international levels, from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. As signified by the motto “Service Above Self,” Rotary’s main objective is service — in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world.
Since its inception in 1997, the Liberty Bank Foundation has awarded over $9.9 million in grants to nonprofit organizations within Liberty Bank’s market area. The foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for people of low or moderate income by investing in three areas: education to promote economic success for children and families; affordable housing; and nonprofit capacity building. Along with its grantmaking, the foundation strives to foster the convening and collaboration of nonprofits, funders, business, and government to address community issues.
Established in 1825, Liberty Bank is Connecticut’s oldest mutual bank, with almost $4.5 billion in assets and 55 banking offices throughout the central, eastern, and shoreline areas of the state. As a full-service financial institution, Liberty offers consumer and commercial banking, home mortgages, insurance, and investment services. Named as a “Top Workplace” by the Hartford Courant for five consecutive years, Liberty maintains a longstanding commitment to superior personal service and unparalleled community involvement.
* Indicates Rotary Club new to the drive this year