Sorority celebrates 100 years with gift to Shelton’s Spooner House

Photo of Brian Gioiele

SHELTON — A national sorority is celebrating its birthday, but it’s Spooner House that’s getting the gift.

Sigma Gamma Rho sorority’s Iota Chi Sigma alumnae chapter, which serves Fairfield and New Haven counties, donated 100 bags of necessities Sunday for those individuals who use Spooner House. The Shelton-based agency provides food, shelter and support services to people in need.

The donation is part of the chapter’s Project Warm Heart, a local initiative designed to make a “major impact in our local community serving 100 homeless persons or families in need,” said Dr. Natasha Wright, centennial basileus (international president) with the Iota Chi Sigma Alumnae Chapter.

“The theme of 100 is inspired by 100 years of sisterhood, scholarship, and service and living out our slogan of ‘greater progress, greater service,’” Wright said.

Chapter members made several stops with donations Sunday. The sorority selected Spooner House thanks to Tanya Henneghan, a city resident who has been part of multiple events benefiting the organization.

“Our focus is to serve the community,” she said. “What better way than to make a contribution to Spooner House? It’s been great to pool our resources, reach out to those who can help, and help contribute to those in need. This was a true success.”

Project Warm Hearts provides winter accessories and toiletries to those in need.

“Over the past two years, many families and local organizations have experienced hardship due to the pandemic and supply shortage,” Wright said. “We are hopeful to make an impact by supplying those in need with supplies to stay warm and clean. Additionally, hand-written heartfelt notes were written to each person receiving a Project Warm Heart gift of care, love, and respect.”

She said the sorority members hope the recipients feel cared for and remembered.

Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority is a national collegiate sorority established in 1922 by seven women educators in Indianapolis, Ind.

Over the years, Wright said Sigma Gamma Rho has served as a home for thousands of collegiate and professional women “looking for a place to share inspiring life experiences, learn new things, conquer life challenges, thrive in society, and uplift the community through sisterhood, scholarship, and service.

“The dynamic women of Sigma Gamma Rho have built and sustained a well-known and highly respected reputation for leading positive change,” she added.

The sorority has more than 500 chapters in the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Bermuda, Canada, Germany, South Korea, Belize, Ghana, and the United Arab Emirates.

“We have a proud history of providing a positive and proactive community outreach,” Wright said. “Sigma Gamma Rho enhances the quality of life for women and their families in the U.S. and globally.”

Over the last 100 years, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc., has partnered with such organizations as the Centers for Disease Control, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, GirlTrek, March for Babies, Own your vote with Oprah Winfrey, and USA Swimming.

Sigma Gamma Rho established a footprint in Connecticut in 1993 at the University of Connecticut with its first undergraduate chapter and then again in 1995 with its first graduate or alumnae chapter. In 2005, the Iota Chi Sigma Chapter was founded, serving New Haven and Fairfield County.

Wright said the Iota Chi Sigma Chapter is dedicated to serving the area community through programs such as our annual Youth Symposium, Heart Health initiatives, Operation Big Book Bag, and A3 for Life (HIV/AIDS awareness).