PLAINVILLE — The holiday season got off to a warmhearted start this year with local events raising thousands of dollars, and hundreds of pounds of food, for non-profits in town.
The 5th annual Plainville Pumpkin Fest raised $7,000 for the Plainville Community Fund, presented to members of the endowment’s board at a ceremonial check bestowing on Nov. 12, while the Bucci family’s annual Halloween display and Thriller dancing crew amassed around 300 pounds of food for the Plainville Community Food Pantry.
In past years the festival has made up more than half of the money awarded by the community fund each year, said Robyn Poulos, its vice co-chairperson. “When we get money like this it gives us a greater opportunity to do more,” she said.
The grant’s contributors can see the impact it has firsthand through its Plainville-centered grants like purchasing laptops for the Middle School of Plainville’s robotics program and chipping in for bus tours around town highlighting historic landmarks for the town’s 150th anniversary. The application process is open through January and the awards will be announced in March.
Poulos gave credit for the event’s continued success to Kris Dargenio, the festival’s organizer, who she said has grown it every year since she started it in 2015. In that time it has raised approximately $32,500 for the fund.
“It’s mind boggling how (she) can get that many volunteers on the same page when no one is getting paid for it,” Poulos said after the check presentation with Dargenio.
Frightening display yields hundreds of pounds of food
When the fog cleared and zombies went home late Halloween eve, the Bucci family had raised approximately 300 pounds of food and around $75 for the Plainville Community Food Pantry. Since 2014 the family has hosted dancers from the YWCA New Britain School of Dance, who disguise themselves as zombies and perform Michael Jackson’s Thriller, surrounded by a ghastly display of skeletons, tombstones and monsters in their front lawn at 62 Metacomet Road.
“The collection of food seems pretty amazing considering the weather probably held so many people from coming back on Halloween night,” Bucci said of the howling wind and showers that cleared up just a few hours before the show began. Last year they received around 400 pounds of food, which put them over one ton raised since 2014.
Bucci said he was shocked by how busy the pantry is and how well stocked it is with not just food but daily living supplies for its clients.
“It is really an amazing place and an amazing resource for the people who need it,” he said.
Susie Woerz, the pantry’s executive director, said the food comes right in time for their end of the year push to prepare for the holiday season.
“The food that they were able to give us was able to go right on our shelves,” she said.
This Saturday the pantry will be giving its clients turkeys and Thanksgiving holiday baskets, ahead of its annual food drive at Gnazzo’s Food Center between Nov. 22 and 26.
The Bucci family exemplifies the generosity that embodies the Plainville community, Woerz said. “They’re wonderful people and I’ll tell you the job they do each year setting up and taking their display down — its just amazing.”