SOUTHBRIDGE, MA - The United Way of South Central Massachusetts (UWSCM) has been a steadfast pillar of support for the community for many years. Their recent Annual Holiday Luncheon, held at the picturesque Sturbridge Publick House Inn and Restaurant on December 14, 2023, was a testament to the enduring spirit of compassion and generosity that defines this organization.
The event was beautifully orchestrated by Denise Gorski, UWSCM's 2023 Board Chair, through a program that was more than just an update luncheon; it was a celebration of the remarkable impact that UWSCM has on nonprofit organizations and the countless individuals receiving vital supports in South Worcester County.
One of the highlights of the event was hearing from the representatives of two exceptional organizations and nonprofit beneficiaries: Opening the Word Peer Recovery Center and Reconciliation House. These organizations are on the frontlines of addressing substance use disorder, and their stories of resilience and hope deeply touched the audience. Opening the Word Peer Recovery Center, represented by Rev. Janice Ford and community member Michelle Moriarty, expressed profound gratitude for the unwavering support they have received from UWSCM. Their peer recovery model, which draws from the "lived experience" of those in recovery from substance use disorder, exemplifies the power of empathy and understanding in the journey towards sobriety. UWSCM's partnership with them is not just financial; it's a partnership built on compassion. Similarly, Reconciliation House, with Board Member Mark Rogers and Director Jose Vasquez at the forefront, shared their heartfelt appreciation for UWSCM's commitment. This organization provides a safe and dignified residential program for individuals seeking recovery from addiction. It's about more than just sobriety; it's about restoring lives and fostering a sense of belonging.
As the luncheon progressed, Campaign Chair Alicia Dzik of First Federal Credit Union provided an eagerly awaited campaign update. The news was nothing short of astounding – UWSCM and its community partners had already achieved a remarkable 64% of the 2023 campaign fundraising goal of $625,000. This speaks volumes about the dedication of the community and the trust they place in UWSCM to make a difference.
The room was abuzz as UWSCM Executive Director Mary O'Coin took to the microphone to share some pivotal campaign and organizational updates. Among these announcements was the introduction of a new Development Director, Jaime Dillon, from Worcester, Massachusetts. The room celebrated the addition of Jaime, who brings with her an impressive 25-year track record in the nonprofit sector. Mary O’Coin shared details about workplace giving campaigns and guests heard from several community leaders. Cornerstone Bank announced its total on that day to be almost $80,000, demonstrating the power of employee and employer partnerships in giving. Karl Storz matched that passionate spirit with their equally impressive contribution of $79,518. Other company leaders joined in sharing their commitments with Savers Bank presenting a generous check for $30,000, Dexter-Russell, Inc. with $31,000 and Harrington Hospital pledging to raise $10,000.
As the event drew to a close, Denise Gorski delivered closing remarks filled with gratitude. She acknowledged that these donations are not mere financial gifts but lifelines that support the health, education, and financial stability of those in need in South Worcester County. Highlighting UWSCM leadership, hearing inspiring talks and campaign updates clearly moved the room and illustrated in real time, that together, we can make sure that our community can “live united” in compassion and care.
The United Way of South Central Massachusetts remains steadfast in its dedication to the community. As we move forward into 2024, let's remember the spirit of unity and compassion that defines UWSCM. For more information about their programs and how to contribute to this noble cause, please visit their website at www.uwscm.org follow them on Facebook @UWSCM or contact them directly at (508) 765-5491.