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  October 30, 2000

State Employees' Charitable
Campaign Gets Underway

The annual Connecticut State Employees' Charitable Campaign kicked off its 2000 giving season Oct. 26. This year's campaign features nearly 900 organizations, grouped under the umbrellas of 10 federations, hoping to receive donations from people across the campus, state, and nation.

It is one of the most important charitable campaigns in the country, one that provides millions of dollars to groups who help the young and the old, the sick and the needy, and hundreds of groups who work to save the earth or provide America's children with role models or places to play and learn.

At UConn, campaign chair Gary Lewicki has set a 2000 goal of $100,000 - a figure the UConn community has begun reaching regularly.

"I'm really hoping to see more people involved. There are so many organizations represented in the campaign that I think everyone on campus, with a little effort, can find something, some agency or organization, some area of need, where they could invest a few dollars," Lewicki says. "At some point in life, we or someone we love is going to need help, and without these organizations, that help may not be there."

"One of the truly wonderful things about this campaign is that it's so large, reaches so many people, that even a donation of only $1 a paycheck will make a difference to someone in need, whether it's for medical equipment, rides to the grocery store or doctor for the elderly, an operation or even something as simple as helping bring a Big Brother or Sister to a lonely child," he adds.

Also, he says, as a special nod to UConn this year, all donations from the community committed to Habitat for Humanity will go to the Windham chapter of Habitat, to assist with the construction of Husky House, a project that helps local families in need of decent housing.

Besides the joy of giving, Lewicki and the campaign committee have put together a group of incentives, running the gamut from tickets to football and hockey games to UConn apparel and certificates for meals at a number of local restaurants.

Items to be raffled off to donors include five submarine sandwiches from Subway Sandwich Shops; a pair of $50 gift certificates for the Altnaveigh Restaurant, courtesy of the University of Connecticut Professional Employees Association; passes to the student recreational facility, donated by the Department of Recreational Services; free memberships to the Fitness for Life program; and gift certificates from the UConn Co-op.

A 1950s luncheon, featuring music and foods of the era - root beer floats, cherry Cokes, cheddar cheeseburgers and more - will celebrate the season of giving from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Nov. 17, in the Student Union Ballroom.

Donor cards are currently being distributed by campus volunteers. The booklets list the hundreds of organizations to which people can contribute and the portion of the donations that goes toward administrative costs. Participating federations, each of which represents dozens of agencies, include Community Works of Connecticut, a coalition of organizations working for justice, equality, the environment and social change; America's Charities, whose membership includes charities that meet health, human service, education, and human rights needs in communities throughout Connecticut; the Greater Hartford Arts Council, a non-profit group committed to connecting people to the arts; the Environmental Federation of New England, whose members help protect the region's natural resources, promote regional conservation and offer educational activities; and Earth Share, which supports member charities that protect America and the world's environment, health and natural resources.

Also, Community Health Charities of Connecticut and Community Health Charities of South Central Connecticut; nearly two dozen local United Way agencies; the Independent Charities of America, whose members feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, protect the children and heal the sick; the International Service Agencies, which works to end world poverty, improve education, and provide health care to the world's needy; or Share America, which offers help to those in need in local communities across the country.

Contributions, which may be made in any amount, are tax deductible, and can be accomplished through payroll deduction or by a one-time contribution.

Richard Veilleux