Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Councilors seek help with fireworks fundraising

NOTE: The Wallingford Fireworks Fund will meet at Gaetano's Tavern on Main (40 N Main St  Wallingford) on Wednesday February 8th at 7:30PM in the dinning area.

The meeting will be to recruit volunteers to work as part of the fundraising committee for the 2012 fundraising season which will kick off on March 1st.

For more information contact Jason Zandri at 860 614 6069 or via Jason@Zandri.net. You can also contact Craig Fishbein at his law offices - (203) 265-2895


As published in the Record Journal on Tuesday January 31, 2012

By Russell Blair
Record-Journal staff
(203) 317-2225

WALLINGFORD — If Jason Zandri has learned one thing in his past two efforts to raise money for the town’s Fourth of July fireworks celebration, it’s that you can never start too early.

Zandri, a Democratic town councilor, has headed the effort to pay for the fireworks since the town dropped the festivities from its budget in 2010. He’s already started a blog to promote this year’s fundraising efforts, and will be holding a meeting soon, looking for people to join a fundraising board to oversee the operations.

“We’re looking this year to get a formal fundraising committee established,”Zandri said. For the past two years, Zandri, his father, Geno, and Republican Town Councilor Craig Fishbein have collected most of the donations. But Jason Zandri said it can’t continue with just the three of them.

“It can’t just be the Jason, Craig and Geno show,” he said. “We lucked out doing it twice like that.”

The first year the money was raised, Jason Zandri worked from his Wallingford home and his flexible schedule allowed him time for fundraising outside Stop & Shop and Dunkin’ Donuts. But last year, Zandri took a job in New York City and had to restrict his efforts to the weekends.

“For 16 weeks that’s all I did on the weekends,” Jason Zandri said.

With his new responsibilities as a councilor, putting in the same effort this year will be “impossible.”

“I’m just too involved,” Jason Zandri said. “I have to tend to my council duties, and the majority of the fundraising comes during budget season.”

Fishbein agreed, noting that he too became busy in 2011 and didn’t help out as much as he did the year before. “We need all the help we can get,” Fishbein said.

Jason Zandri said he hopes more of the people who come out to the show will help pay the costs associated with it. Many of the donations in the past two years have come from large businesses and not individuals.

Fishbein said he was disappointed that two fundraisers scheduled last year — a matinee movie and a concert at Zandri’s Stillwood Inn — drew small numbers of people.

“It was very discouraging,” Fishbein said.

Fundraising efforts at the show last year also didn’t garner as much money as was expected, Fishbein said.

Jason Zandri will once again ask the mayor if the town can pay a portion of the costs, such as the police and public works overtime, but he said he wasn’t optimistic the town would put money toward the project. The fund has about$1,000 left over from last year to put toward the 2012 show.

Last year the $24,150 for the show was raised with little time to spare. Mayor William W. Dickinson Jr. said the check was delivered to the town at 2:30 p.m. on May 27, 2011, only hours before his 5 p.m. deadline.

A $2,500 donation from New Life Church helped the charity reach its goal in 2011. Similarly, a $5,000 gift from Choate Rosemary Hall in 2010 pushed the fund past its $30,000 goal.

For more information on fireworks fundraising, visit http://wallingfordfireworks.blogspot.com.

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