Leominster, Mass.–—United Way of North Central Massachusetts thanked volunteers and donors last night for their support in creating over 100,000 health and human services in 22 local communities, from Athol to Littleton.

Celebrating its 37th annual thank-you event at the DoubleTree by Hilton, Leominster, the local nonprofit organization recognized companies and individuals for supporting its work in the area of health, education and financial stability.

Suzanne Farias, general manager for the DoubleTree by Hilton and volunteer campaign chairwoman for United Way of North Central Massachusetts, said that the annual community campaign drive, which includes corporate gifts, employee giving and individual donations, is responsible for providing critical health and human services, from feeding hungry families to helping children learn to read.

Doug Petersen, president and CEO of Workers Credit Union and United Way board chairman, also thanked the audience for their support. “United Way donors and volunteers are making a significant difference for so many families, right here in our community.”

The evening included recognition of local companies for conducting outstanding workplace campaigns. The United Way of North Central Massachusetts’ Spirit of North Central Massachusetts Corporate Leadership Awards were presented to: Aubuchon Hardware, Westminster; Main Street Bank, Ayer; Workers Credit Union, Fitchburg, and Athol Savings Bank, Athol.

Lisa Shivo, from PolyOne Distribution, Littleton, was named the 2016 Employee Campaign Manager of the Year and Research Results, Inc., Fitchburg, “Best Community Champion.”

Three United Way Youth Venture scholarships were awarded during the evening. United Way Youth Venture, managed by Mount Wachusett Community College, is a school-based program that empowers young people to make positive change in their community; it reaches over 4,000 students in 17 schools across seven districts, including Mount Wachusett Community College.

Aidan Provost of Winchendon, who attends Murdock High School, received a $1,000 scholarship. She is a member of the United Way Youth Venture team, Sound of Murdock. Provost plans on attending the University of Massachusetts Amherst, College of Engineering.

Alexander Ramos of Leominster, a dual enrollment student at Leominster High School and Fitchburg State University, also received a $1,000 scholarship. He is a member of United Way Youth Venture team, Peer Initiated Tutoring. Ramos plans on attending Fitchburg State University.

The Bob Chauvin Leadership Award for $2,000, created to honor Chauvin’s commitment to United Way Youth Venture, went to Laura Jenny of Lunenburg, a Leominster High School student. She is a member of United Way Youth Venture team, Protecting Law Enforcement and Youth (PLAY). Jenny plans to attend Harvard University.

The evening also highlighted United Way’s other initiatives, including United Way Combat Hunger, United Way Early Childhood Literacy, United Way Supplemental Basic Needs, United Way Emergency Shelter Fund and United Way Greatest Needs Fund—which supports over 35 health and human service programs in the region.

With nearly 600,000 meals packaged since its inception, United Way Combat Hunger relies on volunteers who package meals for local families in need; the meals are distributed through 20 partner food pantries.

United Way Early Childhood Literacy, designed to improve school readiness, helps young people learn to read in Fitchburg, Leominster, Gardner, Templeton and Winchendon.

To assist struggling families who may not qualify for government benefits, United Way Supplemental Basic Needs Fund provides heating assistance and other emergency support.

The United Way Emergency Shelter Fund provides lodging for homeless individuals during extreme weather conditions

United Way Greatest Community Needs Fund supports important health and human services programs, with a specific focus on youth development, emergency food and utility assistance.

The cost of the evening’s event was underwritten by: DoubleTree by Hilton, Leominster, Avidia Bank, Hannaford Bros. Co., Ms. Marina Raher, CPA, Rollstone Bank & Trust, Simonds International, Sterilite Corporation, Workers Credit Union and an anonymous donor.