Greater Waterbury Campership Fund: News story inspires Prospect couple’s support of camp fund

Correction: This article has been updated. Jason Van Stone, Don Cullen and Ted Antonellis, of Drew Marine, donated $300 to the Greater Waterbury Campership Fund. Cullen’s and Antonelli’s names were inadvertently omitted from an earlier version.

WATERBURY — Reading the Greater Waterbury Campership Fund weekly updates in The Sunday Republican can sometimes gently spur people to help the cause.

Such was the case for Maria Michaud, of Prospect, who along with husband Don sent in a $100 donation to the Campership Fund last week.

“I read the article in the paper and I thought it was something I could help with, at least a little bit,” she said.

The contribution, along with several others in various amounts, has upped the 2021 Campership Fund campaign total to $73,604. Of that, $12,450 has been applied to the Monteiro Challenge, which means at least another $10,000 will be forthcoming.

Prospect’s Frank J. and Sandy Monteiro, and their son Anthony, announced in early March that if the public could raise $5,000 in donations from March 14 through the next three weeks, the family personally would donate $5,000 more for camperships.

Frank J. Monteiro also is president and chief executive officer of Drew International and Drew Marine, of Naugatuck and Waterbury. He pledged the industrial enterprise would donate $5,000 more if the challenge were met; not surprisingly, contributions from Campership Fund supporters exceeded the Monteiros’ challenge within the first week, and have continued to roll in as the summer camping season draws closer.

The target goal is $160,000 for the spring campaign, so donations are edging closer to the halfway mark.

The COVID-19 pandemic drastically altered the Campership Fund programming during the summer of 2020, with many cooperating camping facilities not even opening for health and safety reasons. Still, 64 eligible children attended camp through Campership scholarships, at a tuition cost of $34,386.

The more typical 2019 pre-pandemic camping season saw 434 kids head off to a week at camp at a cost of $157,457. If the pandemic eases over the course of the next few months, attendance numbers are expected to rise, and the need might prove even greater for families who suffered economic distress because jobs lost or hours cut.

Families must meet state or federal poverty levels to be eligible for Campership’s assistance. The United Way of Greater Waterbury volunteers to screen applicants for eligibility and coordinates communication between the Campership Fund and the camps,

Application time is now. The United Way is sending out Campership Fund information to school districts and community partners and agencies within the agency’s 10-community service area, as well as to the 2-1-1 Info Line. Applications will be accepted through Friday, May 14.

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.

The Campership Fund, a 501(c) 3, is required to adhere to its guidelines of no salaries for the board and no expenses; every penny raised goes to the cost of sending children to camp.

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

Donations amounting to $2,675, all applied to the Monteiro Challenge as well, recently were received from:

Charles and Lynn Franklin Henry, Woodbury, in honor of the Monteiro Family, $500

Jason Van Stone, Don Cullen and Ted Antonellis, of Drew Marine, in honor of all the kids who deserve a chance to go to camp, $300

Bob Zinno of Take 5 Audio, Middlebury, in honor of the Monteiro Family, $250

UNICO of Waterbury, Waterbury, $250

The children of Yolanda Genovese, North Salem, N.Y., in loving memory of Yolanda Genovese from her children, $200

Anonymous, Middlebury, $200

Paul and Cindy Paolino, Waterbury, in memory of Albert Sousa Sr., $100

Fran and Mary Brennan, Middlebury, in memory of William McEntee, $100

Walter and Joann Kloss, Middlebury, $100

Northwest Community Bank, in memory of Ann Charbonneau, $100

Don and Maria Michaud, Prospect, $100

Greg and Barbara Hanisek, Waterbury, $100

Mr. Jack Betkoski and Ms. Sheila Glazer, Beacon Falls, in memory of Ginger Teubrier, $100

Charles Monagan, Middlebury, $100

G.S. Regan Associates Inc., Waterbury, thank you to Campership and Michael Mucciacciaro for all the hard work, $100

Tom and Sandy Hill, Watertown, in memory of Big Tom Hill III Jr. and Barbara “Kip” Hill, $50

Rita Saturno, Prospect, $25