Educators' sorority brightens Thanksgiving for several New Britain families

Published on Wednesday, 22 November 2017 21:08
Written by Erica Schmitt

Staff Writer

NEWINGTON - Five New Britain families will enjoy Thanksgiving this week because a group of Newington teachers made it their mission.

The town’s chapter of Alpha Delta Kappa - a sorority of altruistic women educators - delivered five food-filled baskets to the Friendship Service Center before the holiday.

Stuffed inside were all the usual suspects and some new additions, from stuffing mix and cranberry sauce to pie crust, black beans and coffee. Also included were $25 gift cards to local grocery stores so recipients could purchase perishable ingredients like turkeys and apple cider.

“I challenged them to make three baskets and they made five,” publicity chairwoman Jess Morin said.

She and fellow club members packed the library media center at Newington High School one recent afternoon to prepare their donation.

“I am so impressed,” Club President Julie Butryman said. “Hopefully, we’ll make some Thanksgivings for these families.”

The Friendship Center serves homeless people and those transitioning into independent living situations. Staff and volunteers operate a soup kitchen, apartment style housing, an emergency shelter and provide support services.

As advisor of the Community Club at John Wallace Middle School, Morin joined students in the soup kitchen last year. This fall the group collected 150 pairs of brand new socks for residents. They plan to serve lunch there again in January.

The Friendship Center was founded 50 years ago. It’s organizations like ADK and area faith communities that have anchored ongoing outreach to New Britain’s most forlorn residents.

Newington’s chapter of ADK has partnered with the center before. The ladies participate in Hartford’s annual Walk against Hunger each year, earmarking it as beneficiary.

Beth Manke-Hutvagner lives in Newington but teaches in Hartford schools. As one of the club’s younger members, she loves volunteering alongside others who retired from her hometown district years ago.

“A lot of these women I had as teachers when I went to school in Newington,” Hutvagner pointed out. “I love it. It comes full circle.”

The club will also fulfill the holiday wishes of Newington families who are struggling financially. Their annual Adopt-a-Family drive benefits the town’s department of human services, which provides gifts to households that use the food bank.

Erica Schmitt can be reached at 860-801-5097, or

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain, Newington on Wednesday, 22 November 2017 21:08. Updated: Wednesday, 22 November 2017 21:11.