Celebrating 30 years of hope

SHELTON — Area Congregations Together (ACT) will celebrate its 30th anniversary at Grassy Hill Lodge in Derby on Saturday, January beginning at 6 p.m. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal will be the keynote speaker.  The celebration and dinner will honor long time contributors: Naugatuck Valley Savings & Loan, Trinity Episcopal Church, Griffin Hospital, Pitney Bowes, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and Win Oppel of Shelton. 

The evening begins with a cocktail reception and silent auction at 6 p.m. accompanied by piano music from Jim Teti. The dinner and program begins at 7 p.m.  Tickets are $65 per person and may be purchased by sending a check payable to ACT to ACT, 30 Todd Road, Shelton, CT 06484 or online at www.act-sponner.org Click the donate button and type in “Gala” under special Instructions.  For more information call 203-225-0453 or e-mail sagamy@act-spooner.org.

The anniversary celebration is sponsored by Employment Options, LLC of Oxford, Webster Bank, Iroquois Gas Transmission System, Valley Community Foundation, Newtown Savings Bank and the Spooner Family. There will also be a silent auction including among others items donated by: The Barnum Museum, Boston Red Sox, Bridgeport Holiday Inn, Hartford XL Center/Hartford Wolf Pack, Homewood Suites Hartford, Long Wharf Theatre, New England Patriots, New York Jets, New York Rangers, Palace Theater Waterbury, Santa Fuel, Sheraton Long Island, Shubert New Haven, Splash Car Wash, T.J. Maxx and Dr. George Z. Tzepos, Optometrist.

Founded in 1979 by local volunteers, Area Congregations Together was established to provide transportation for the elderly for medical purposes and a meal program for those unable to cook for themselves.  In 1981, ACT assumed coordination of the Valley Food Bank Network.  In response to a regional needs assessment in 1982 indicating a desperate need for an emergency shelter for the homeless, ACT opened the first shelter later that year in the basement of the First Congregational Church in Ansonia.

Today, 30 years later, ACT operates Spooner House – the only homeless shelter in the lower Naugatuck Valley and one of the few in the state that welcomes families with children as well as individual adults—and the Valley Food Bank Network.  Spooner House housed a total of 248 men, women and children in 2009, according to Executive Director, Susan J. Agamy, providing 35,000 meals and related support services.

“It’s been a busy year,” Agamy stated. “During this same period, the Valley Food Bank Network, provided more than 104,000 meals, a 41.4 percent increase over the 61,000 meals provided in 2008.  Without the support of organizations and individuals such as those being honored at the gala, we would not have been able to accommodate these individuals and families.”



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