Pandemic can’t keep friends of Campership down

WATERBURY – The second of three distributions from the Elsie R. Mannweiler Trust last week has further solidified the Greater Waterbury Campership Fund’s financial footing for the 2021 campaign.

A pandemic and an overall challenging year are not keeping friends of Campership down.

In April, the trust contributed $71,072 to the Campership Fund, an unexpected and welcome addition to the program that already was grappling with the uncertainty of the pending summer camp season that not surprisingly would be altered dramatically by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A second installment of $34,761 arrived last week, with a third and final distribution from the trust expected in a few weeks.

Mannweiler died in November 2019 at the age of 100. She had moved from Woodbury to The Watermark at East Hill senior living facility in Southbury 14 years ago. A divorcee who never remarried, she was predeceased by a son years ago.

Described as a smart and savvy woman when it came to finances, Mannweiler accumulated her assets by successfully navigating the stock market, according to attorney Charles W. Henry of the Henry & Giardina Attorneys at Law firm in Woodbury.

“She continued to support local charities, and thought it would do some good” for the Campership Fund, Henry said in the spring.

The contribution helped push the current 2020 Campership Fund campaign total to $205,978. The target goal for 2020 was $165,000.

The pandemic caused a significant downturn in the number of campership applicants and camping facilities opening. There were 72 eligible applicants who attended camps in 2020, compared to 434 in 2019. Several camp sites that cooperate with the Campership Fund each year opted not to conduct operations during the summer.

With tuition fees only $38,646, the Campership Fund’s all-volunteer board of directors will be able to apply a hefty chunk of unused monies toward the 2021 campaign that program enthusiasts hope will be far less affected by health or other crises.

The Campership Fund, a 501 (c) 3, is mandated to hold fast to guidelines of no salaries, no expenses, every penny raised going to the cost of sending children to camp. Donations are accepted gratefully year round.

The United Way of Greater Waterbury volunteers its professional services to assist the Campership Fund by overseeing the eligibility and application process.

Families who receive SNAP benefits or meet federal poverty guidelines, and with children ages 5 to 18, living in Bethlehem, Cheshire, Middlebury, Prospect, Southbury, Thomaston, Waterbury, Watertown, Wolcott and Woodbury, are eligible to apply for Camperships.

Large and small businesses, schools and philanthropic entities, civic clubs and church groups and of course numerous individuals support the Campership Fund cause year round through their contributions and proceeds from special events or in-house activities.

Donations may be sent to Greater Waterbury Campership Fund, 389 Meadow St., Waterbury, CT 06722.

Donations recently received amounting to $34,811 included:

The Elsie R. Mannweiler Trust, Woodbury, $34,761

Patricia Dawson and Denise McDonald, Waterbury, in memory of Sandra Cutrali, from Patricia Dawson and Denise McDonald, colleagues of Rocco Pugliese, $50