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Library Volunteer Fair Draws Nearly 100 Hoping To Do More Good



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Local resident Gary Smith said he had not yet made a commitment to volunteering with any of the two dozen organizations soliciting assistance Friday, May 10, as the Friends of Newtown Seniors (FONS) co-hosted an intimate volunteer fair with the local Chamber of Commerce and the C.H. Booth Library.

Chatting briefly with The Newtown Bee in the library’s Community Room, Mr Smith noted that some organizations represented had more emergent need for help than others, but he was nonetheless committed to learning about each and every participating agency before agreeing to lend his efforts to one or more of them.

On the other side of the room, Newtown High School student Sofia Sandy was signing up with Friends of the Library Book Sale Chair Denise Kaiser to volunteer in some capacity at this year’s multi-day event.

Representatives of the two dozen participating causes and nonprofits waited at tabletop displays engaging prospects as they described the works of their organizations, the impact volunteers can have, and specific volunteer opportunities available. The options were varied — from indoors and outdoors to skilled and non-skilled, from hands-on and support to those requiring everything from physical activity to desk work.

Most welcomed all queries, from young adult through centenarian.

John Boccuzzi, Sr, representing FONS, was stationed near the front of the room for most of the event welcoming visitors. After all was said and done, he told The Newtown Bee, “The event was a complete success.

“I know that some tables had a lot of signups,” he said. “We found a volunteer for one of our greatest needs related to required reporting for our 501(c)(3) organization.”

Mr Boccuzzi said all participants had a chance to talk with members of the public who knew little or nothing about their organization.

“This in itself is of value,” he said. “Many of the participating organizations had a chance to meet and exchange information, which will hopefully lead to collaboration. We did hear that there is interest in an evening event to capture those who work but still feel they can contribute time to worthwhile causes. FONS will explore this possibility for the future. “

Ned Simpson, another FONS event host, said he counted between 80 or 90 residents during his time at the fair.

“All the participants [I met] thought it was well worth their time,” Mr Simpson said. “All but a couple of groups connected with new folks for volunteer work and/or volunteer efforts.”

Mr Simpson said the challenges of connecting people interested in contributing to the community and community organizations with matched interests surfaced from Newtown’s Livable Community Initiative.

“This fair was certainly a big step in addressing that issue,” he added. “It wasn’t a solution; we will continue working on making connections.”

Anyone who missed the fair can still make connections for opportunities available at all participating organizations.

They are: A Place for Hope and Healing; Ann’s Place; C.H. Booth Library; EverWonder Children’s Museum; FISH of Newtown; Friends of Newtown Seniors (FONS); Friends of the C.H. Booth Library; Golden Opportunities; Newtown Arts Festival; Newtown Bikes & Trails Committee; Newtown Commission on Aging; Newtown Forest Association; Newtown Historical Society; Newtown Lions Club; Newtown Meals on Wheels; and Newtown Women’s Club, GFWC, Inc.

Also, Old Glory Days, Real Food Share, Regional Hospice and Palliative Care, River Art Museum, Spay & Neuter Association of Newtown, Town and Country Garden Club, VNA Newtown, and Western Connecticut SCORE.

For those who want to know more about any of these causes, most of the organizations are included in the Newtown Bee 2019 Guide To Newtown. Copies are available at the Bee office at 5 Church Hill Road, or review it by CLICKING HERE

Attendance was steady as nearly 100 prospective volunteers visited with two dozen organizations soliciting assistance Friday, May 10, as the Friends of Newtown Seniors (FONS) co-hosted an intimate volunteer fair with the local Chamber of Commerce and the C.H. Booth Library. —Bee Photos, Voket
Volunteer Fair co-organizer John Boccuzzi, Sr, stands with Mary Perry, founder of A Place for Hope & Healing, one of two dozen nonprofits soliciting assistance at a May 10 Volunteer Fair hosted at the C.H. Booth Library.
Gary Smith, standing, chats with Ann’s Place representative Jeanne Rezek during the May 10 Volunteer Fair. Mr Smith said he was committing to learn about each of the two dozen nonprofits soliciting volunteers before thinking about where he would like to invest his time.
Newtown High School student Sofia Sandy, right, chats with Friends of the C.H. Booth Library Book Sale Chair Denise Kaiser and Friends President Kay Brix during the May 10 Volunteer Fair. —Bee Photos, Voket
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