Sons of Italy doles out $52k in donations to local organizations

LAURA JAMESON/THE EXPRESS Sons of Italy board members are pictured with representatives from multiple organizations that received donations from the Sons.

LOCK HAVEN — A large crowd gathered on the second floor of the Sons of Italy Tuesday night as its board handed out over $52,000 in donations to multiple local organizations.

The money is taken from the club’s gambling proceeds. The club is required to donate 60 percent of the funds to local organizations.

President Dan Vilello called the 43 organizations to receive donations “the lucky winners.”

“You put a lot of time into your organizations. We’re happy to just be a small part of it,” Vilello said.

The donations ranging from over $7,000 to $100 were presented to many grateful representatives for various programs including multiple local sports teams.

LHU wrestling coach Scott Moore said he’s thankful for the Sons’ support to help “bring a lot of entertainment and pride to this community.”

The university’s head boys’ and girls’ soccer coaches also expressed gratitude for the donations to their programs.

Boys’ head coach Scott Long said his team’s portion of funding will go toward an Italian exchange student involved in the program.

“This goes to one of our athletes from Italy,” he said, adding another soccer player may be coming to the university to play. “We’re very hopeful to continue that relationship.”

Although this was Girls’ head coach Maggie Kuhn’s first time accepting funds, she thanked the Sons for their donation.

“I’m very appreciative of your support of the program,” she said.

West Branch Soccer Club member Abe Stauffer said the Sons have been helping fund various improvements to the program.

“The last three years we’ve been so fortunate,” he said, adding that previous donations have helped buy new sets of goals as well as help fund the upkeep for the 14 acres of soccer fields they maintain.

“We have one of the best fields in the area,” he said.

The Sons donated to six area Little League teams. The club is nostranger to supporting local baseball teams having donated to Little League programs since 1947, Vilello said.

Among those in attendance were the Aftershock Softball program which is going into its 10th year providing a program for local girls.

Another was Mill Hall Little League which plans to put the funds toward field and dugout improvements, President Steve Hill said.

This was the first year Woolrich Little League received donations. President Rebecca Dunlap said Woolrich LL serves between 100 and 150 children each year and was thankful for the funds to help continue to do so.

The Clinton County Historical Society plans to use their portion of donations to complete the third phase of a three-year project to renovate the caboose located at the Bald Eagle Valley Trail head in Castanea.

“It’s quite a gem for Clinton County,” Historical Society president JoAnn Bowes said.

The Clinton County Arts Council plans to put its donation toward their annual LH JAMS festival this August, coordinator Steve Getz said.

Brooke Stover, president of Harger Utility Charities, said their donation will go toward the charity’s 9th annual sporting clay shoot to benefit a local veteran.

“It’s a fun time. This goes straight to our event,” Stover said.

Lisa Bangson, executive director of Infant Development Program Inc., said the program is going into its 46th year of service. “Infant Development is very blessed to have the support of the Sons,” she said.

The program serves 300 children and families to help provide assistance with education for both a child who may have a developmental issue or to help a parent by ensuring their child gets the best education possible, she said.

In total, the Sons donated $52,690 Tuesday evening and a total of $121,357 in 2019, Vilello said.

Vilello noted that the feeling of thankfulness expressed throughout the night was mutual.

“We appreciate what you do as much as you do us,” he said.

He took the time to thank the board members and trustees of the Sons for helping with the donation process.

“Nothing gets done in this club without their support,” he said.

Members of the Sons board include: Vilello, president; Lew Santonico, vice president; Steve Acquino, treasurer; Scott Moore, financial secretary; Craig Miller, orator; Bob Nevins, recording secretary; trustees Tom Walker, Perry Walker, Larry McNerney, Bill Sementelli and Ken Fisher; Steve Tasselli, guard; Craig Rippey, historian; masters of ceremonies Keith Duvall and Wally Watt; and Dennis Caprio, past president.

Almost all 35 donation checks were handed out to representatives present at the event.

The following organizations received a donation:

Clinton County Arts Council; Central Mountain High School “Shark Tank”; Keystone Central Foundation food pantry; Keystone Central Summer Recreation Program; Clinton County Women’s Center; Kettle Creek Watershed Association; Clinton County Housing Coalition; Red Cross; Help for Pets; BENV Kiwanis Club Back to School Fund; Lock Haven Police Department; Lock Haven University Student Retention Fund; Clinton County Treatment Court; Art Post Awareness; Downtown Lock Haven Inc.; City of Lock Haven Summer Concert Series; Camp Cadet; Captain Andrew Koss Memorial ROTC Scholarship; Horses of Hope; Harger Utility Charities; Central Pennsylvania Food Bank; Infant Development Program; Clinton County Historical Society; Salvation Army; Ross Library; YMCA; Clinton County Connections; 15 Clinton County fire companies; Clinton County Special Olympics; Clinton County CleanScapes; Woodward Township Recreation Committee; Mill Hall Little League; Lock Haven/Flemington Little League; Woolrich Little League; Aftershock Softball; Thunderstruck Softball; Yeti Baseball; West Branch Soccer Club; Mill Hall Youth Soccer; LHU Men’s and Women’s Soccer; LHU Gray Eagles Football; LHU Wrestling, and Clinton-Centre Baseball Hall of Fame.