STAMFORD, Conn. – Manny Vetti, president of the Italian Center of Stamford, said even through tough economic times, the organization still finds ways to support senior citizens and education to preserve the Italian heritage in the community.
Since the center was founded in 1909 at a small location on South Street right to the present day, charitable works and community service has been the cornerstone of its mission.
The center, now located on Newfield Avenue, annually contributes directly or with in-kind services to many Stamford based non-profit organizations.
Over the past 40 years, the center has hosted free senior lunches to serve more than 80,000 meals to the community. More than 2,000 lunches have been served this year alone.
During the course of the school year, many Fairfield County high schools also enjoy the banquet hall, swimming pools and tennis courts on the 30-acre property during sports banquets, proms, picnics and other various events.
In appreciation and an effort to support those schools, this year, the center is also giving back to the community through a Back to School Contest.
The contest involves the center keeping track of how many meals were served to each school during the 2012-13 school year. In turn, the school that has been served the most meals at it's conclusion will be awarded double the amount of meals in dollars for education programs.
In addition, Vetti said the center also awards annual scholarships to selected graduating seniors each May at an awards dinner with their families the full board of directors in attendance. One student from each of three local high schools, Trinity, Stamford High and Westhill, receives the scholarship for the most proficiency in the study of the Italian language.
“The support that the organization and members give enables us to give back to the community in a meaningful way,” Vetti said.
Vetti, whose father, also named Manny, was a former president and involved in the purchase of the Newfield Avenue property, said that as the center’s current president, he feels a sense of fulfillment by participating in the charitable events and programs.
The center recently had a very successful Halloween event and plans on having a Breakfast with Santa event for kids this month.
“Things have been tough, but we always try to do a lot for the kids,” he said.
For more information about the Back to School Contest contact Jaclyn Gallo at 203-332-6950.
For additional information about the Italian Center, contact Marilyn Macri at 203-322-6941.