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Nonprofit Council Brainstorming Session Proposed To Address Low Turnout



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C.H. Booth Library’s Newtown Nonprofit Council (NNC) had its monthly virtual meeting on November 15 with a fraction of its usual participants.

Douglas Lord, director of the library, commented that it may be time to switch to in person, because the council is “not sustainable at this level” of attendance.

Reference Librarian Lily MacHugh, who moderates the meetings, previously proposed online and in-person hybrid meetings come 2023 to gain more active members.

Transitioning to the part of the meeting where local nonprofits are invited to share news about their organization, Steve Bennett of the Newtown Lions Club spoke first.

He explained that these next few months are a “quiet time for us,” with no upcoming events to promote.

Bennett did say that the Newtown Lions completed its Mustang raffle and was able to raise $60,000, which will go to different charities.

Also, the recent Veterans Day Dental Clinic they hosted in partnership with Diamond Dental had 34 participants.

“It was another successful year,” Bennett said about the annual program.

Katherine Simpson chimed in that while she is no longer Newtown Lions Club member, she helped promote the Diamond Dental event for them.

She used more than 30 different ways of advertising, including physical flyers and digital posts, she said, to spread the word about the Dental Clinic. She even partnered with Monroe Lions Club for promoting it.

Simpson offered a survey to the 34 participants of the event to see how they learned about it and found that nearly a dozen had “heard from a friend.”

The rest of the answers were spread across everything with no real indication any one of her advertising efforts was more successful than the other.

“I’m reporting that because it continues to be a bothersome thing,” Simpson said.

She brought up that she would like there to be a calendar where town events can be posted.

While representing Newtown Congregational Church, Simpson said they would host a community-wide Thanksgiving service on Sunday, November 20, at 7 pm.

“It would be nice to get that out. That comes through the Interfaith Council. It is really an invitation to anyone to come to share gratitude with their neighbors. You don’t have to have a faith or want to [have] faith to feel grateful,” she said.

They will be collecting food and monetary donations for FAITH Food Pantry there.

Simpson also promoted Newtown Congregational Church’s Swords to Plowshares event on January 8.

“You may be aware that the Newtown Police Department did a gun buyback last weekend along with a bunch of other police departments in the state of Connecticut. One of the small things that happens to the guns that are bought back is that they are transferred to organizations like this particular one, Swords to Plowshares,” Simpson said.

Those gun parts will create garden tools and there will be a demonstration of how they do that at the event.

Simpson said that the initiative “takes a weapon of violence and turns it into a tool of hope.”

Friends of Newtown Seniors (FONS) Founder and President John Boccuzzi Sr commented that it sounds like a “great activity” and “kudos to your group.”

Boccuzzi then mentioned that FONS has its November social coming up. Its Facebook page details that it will be on Wednesday, November 30, at Farmhouse Restaurant, 4 pm.

Commenting on the NNC having difficulty with attendees at meetings, he said, “We need to do something to bring the nonprofits together in a more productive way.”

Simpson agreed and voiced they should put together a committee and then have a “brainstorming session.”

Since November and December will be a busy time for the library and individuals, the group made the decision to consider meeting in the first week of January.

MacHugh said she would send out a survey to see what day works best for members.

Everyone wished each other a Happy Thanksgiving before signing out of the meeting.

People with questions or interest in joining the upcoming NNC meetings can contact MacHugh at lmachugh@chboothlibrary.org.


Reporter Alissa Silber can be reached at alissa@thebee.com.

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