PLAINVILLE - This June's highly successful Wings and Wheels Festival awarded $23,000 to both the Petit Family Foundation and Plainville Food Pantry, exceeding fundraising goals.
Rep. William Petit, his mother Barbara, father Bill and his young son William gathered along with Plainville Food Pantry President Maggie Carlin and town leaders at the food pantry for the check passing. The presentation was celebrated over pizzas from West Main Pizza and with young Will eagerly passing out armloads of "presents" - Petit Family Foundation backpacks - to event volunteers.
Councilor Scott Saunders, the organizer of Wings and Wheels, said that the fundraiser has collected more than $135,000 in six years. Last year, each organization was awarded $15,800 and the goal for this year was $20,000. He thanked everyone who helped to surpass that goal.
"The weather was a lot more cooperative this year so we were able to raise more," said Saunders. "Hopefully next year will be another good year after we were rained out last year."
"We are so honored and grateful every year for your donations," said Carlin. "Plainville is a special place - the citizens really rally around a cause. That is not something I have seen in any other town I have lived in. The pantry is a busy place, and while we do hope to go out of business someday, we do our best to take care of people as long as there is hunger."
When the giant checks were brought out, William, who was held in Rep. Petit's arms, proudly helped his father hold it up.
"When I told my son where we were going, he said, unprompted, 'The food pantry? That's a good place,'" said Petit. "I said yes it is - they help a lot of people. Now that there's pizza here he's even happier."
Petit later said that Plainville is a community with "great roots."
"This community has always supported the Petit Family Foundation ever since we got started," he said.
Petit then quoted Mahatma Gandhi with his famous line of "Be the change that you wish to see in the world."
"Most of you have jobs but you still volunteer at this event every year along with a half-dozen others around town," said Petit.
Town Manager Robert E. Lee, who volunteered at Wings and Wheels, said that the event showcases the best of Plainville, both in Robertson airport and "two significant charities." He said that he was glad to "play a small part" in the success of this year's event.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.