Publication: In Your Northwest Corner

In Your Northwest Corner Vol. 18

February 15, 2024

Originally Published September 30, 2021

The Lustre Kings. rock the grounds of Litchfield Community Center during the Sunset Concert Series

A Place for Community to Come Together

The Litchfield Community Center has served as a hub of Litchfield since it opened its doors in 2000. The Community Center offers constant and innumerable activities that bring the community together, including movies, fitness, arts classes and a teen center.

In the summer of 2021, the Community Center had residents dancing the night away with its Sunset Concert Series featuring bands: CT Grateful Dead All Stars, Mystic Jammers, and The Lustre Kings.

"The Center is an incredible resource for people of all ages as well as organizations. It's reassuring to know that we can continue to be a hub where community comes together," said Berta Andrulis Mette of the Litchfield Community Center.

A 2021 grant from the Northwest CT Community Foundation Litchfield Community Center Music Fund supported Spring, Summer and Fall events at the Community Center.

Other recent grants from the Northwest CT Community Foundation Covid-19 Rapid Response Fund and the Northwest CT Community Foundation Khurshed Bhumgara Fund supported the Community Center in its mission to provide a comfortable environment that encourages creative, intellectual and recreational pursuits to reflect the interests and needs of the community.

Valley Thrift Store volunteers unpack donations

In Stock: Clothing, Household Goods, and Hope

The Valley Thrift Store in Winsted provides gently used basic clothing and household goods for just a few dollars, enabling those living in poverty in Litchfield County the ability to shop for themselves and their children—back-to-school clothing and shoes, kitchen needs, such as plates and dishes—even children's Halloween costumes.

"We are a small charity, but our community impact is significant. We are a fixture in our community for those living in poverty or in financial insecurity,” said Diane Hayes of The Valley Thrift Store.

The all-volunteer shop donates profits to local charities serving residents experiencing homelessness and hunger, and charities focused on children’s services, health needs and veterans services.

Recent grants from the Northwest CT Community Foundation Covid-19 Rapid Response Fund and the Northwest CT Community Foundation Marion Wm. & Alice Edwards Fund provided needed support to help The Valley Thrift Store respond to the growing needs.

“COVID-19 devastated our operations and our ability to support our communities. [These Grants] helped us to focus on the needs of our community,” said Diane.

​ River information and outreach staff prepare for a busy day on the river

Keeping the Housatonic Clean, Healthy, and Accessible

The small staff and 200-volunteer team of the Housatonic Valley Association work to conserve the vulnerable natural places of the lower Housatonic River Valley, protecting rivers, and streams, and providing community education and activities, such as river clean-ups, hikes, and paddling events.

"Covid-19 restrictions on indoor activities have led to increased demand for natural areas in Northwest Connecticut, especially along the Housatonic River for swimming and picnicking,” said Lindsay Larson of Housatonic Valley Association.

A recent grant from the Northwest CT Community Foundation Covid-19 Rapid Response Fund supported Stepping Out Safely, a collaborative program for 22 land trusts to facilitate equitable and safe public access to area natural resources in response to Covid-19 restrictions.

A grant from the Northwest CT Community Foundation Buchanan Fund provided flexible program and operations support. A grant from the Northwest CT Community Foundation Khurshed Bhumgara Fund made possible two seasonal bilingual river information and outreach interns in for 2021.

"Ensuring that river access sites stay clean, safe, and open serves both Northwest Corner residents and the diverse visitor groups from other areas. We aim to ensure Northwest Connecticut continues to offer equitable access to the river for all.”