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Bartolotta’s holiday spirit ignited by giving to those in need

Despite the ups and downs of business today, Bartolotta Inc. in Torrington, CT — under the guidance of Kevin Bartolotta, owner and president — has a strong reputation for being a major fundraiser and donor to needy causes.

Bartolotta’s charity efforts are well known among his colleagues, friends and associates across the country.

One charity that is always dear to his heart is the Friendly Hands Food Bank in Torrington. He began the Bartolotta Charity Fundraiser & Promotion in 2011, donating five cents on every package purchased from his company and $50 per truckload to those in need during the Thanksgiving holiday. In addition, he donates all of the fresh produce that goes into the holiday gift boxes that Friendly Hands gives out.

photo2Volunteers come together to fill baskets and assist in handing them out to people in need for Thanksgiving. (Photo courtesy of Bartolotta)“There are still a lot of people struggling in this area due to the economy, and without these gifts of food they may not have a holiday meal,” he said. “This year Friendly Hands will give out over 400 boxes of food, which is a 15 percent increase over what they gave out last year. We will be stepping up to the plate to fill the increase for them, and we will repeat our per-package and truckload donations.”

Friendly Hands also helps out with a huge amount of toy and gift baskets for those in need at Christmas. Many of the toys are donated, but they also buy some to fill in for what they need. “I donate money to the organization throughout the year, and some of that goes to the toys they buy,” he said.

Bartolotta also organizes a produce industry fundraising promotion in the early part of each year. The 2014 campaign will be the fourth fundraiser he has conducted. He chooses two charities to share equally what he is able to raise. One is always Friendly Hands, and the other is a charity that is in need due to a disaster or situation that has left a part of a population in dire need of assistance. Last year he chose the Rotary Foundation of Staten Island as the second beneficiary due to the huge losses that people there suffered from Superstorm Sandy.

“My goal last year was $25,000, but we raised over $30,000,” he said. “Both organizations received over $15,000. Every year more and more produce professionals from across the country hear about our efforts and join in by giving. We’re hoping to eclipse that figure again next year.”

He said that the second beneficiary for his 2014 campaign has not yet been chosen. He is considering several possible organizations, and he would like to keep the money somewhere where it will benefit people in need in the regions where he does business.

In Oct. 2012, Bartolotta opened a new facility in Glassboro, NJ. Although the strength of his business is still in New England and the Mid-Atlantic, it is quickly expanding as far south as Florida and into the Midwest.

“I’m open for suggestions if anyone knows a situation or group of people who are in need,” he said. “People are welcome to contact me with their ideas.

“I am also looking into starting a foundation to raise money on a larger scale so it can give grants and scholarships to those in need that approach the foundation,” he added.