SOUTHBRIDGE:   The United Way of South Central Massachusetts (UWSCM) celebrated the holidays and the midway point of the 2022 Annual Campaign with a Holiday lunch at the Sturbridge Publick House Inn and Restaurant on December 15, 2022.

With some workplace campaigns completing just in time for the lunch the Campaign Chairman Denise Gorski was able to announce that the campaign has reached 70% of the $584,000 ambitious goal!  Generous donations from employees at Cornerstone Bank, along with a company match made for an exciting announcement of $72,000 pledge to this year’s campaign.  Karl Storz Endovision located in Charlton presented a check for $62,000 representing their campaign total.   Other successful workplace campaigns were Dexter-Russell pledging $30,000, Incom, Inc. at $34,000 and Savers Bank at over S$26,000 which is an increase over last year.  There are several workplace giving campaigns open that hopefully will help achieve the 30% more that is needed to fully fund all the programs supported by United Way.   “It’s not too late to donate for 2022.  Many loyal donors have not sent in their annual pledges, and we hope that those who haven’t donated yet will still do so. This is a tough year for many, and donations are needed more than ever so we can support the health, education and financial stability of those in need in the South Worcester County community.”

Keynote speaker, Jim Donahue, President and CEO, Old Sturbridge Village gave interesting insight of how OSV’s Learning through Experience which provides students at the Old Village Academy Charter School a hands-on experiential opportunity every week within the Village.  Donahue stated, “Students are learning to be problem solvers, experience nature and history and make connections to STEM related fields.  With the support and funding from United Way they are offering students this unique weekly experience that makes them more tactical learners.” 

The UWSCM Executive Director closed with an update regarding the 85th Anniversary celebration planned for March 2023 and the many special grants through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education increase Afterschool and Out of School enrichment programs throughout the South Central Massachusetts region.  Robotics, sports, running clubs, mental health programs and enrichment programs have provided area students with engaging and safe programs that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.