Upton Men’s Club has been quietly enriching the community for more than 20 years
By Christine Galeone
When something goes wrong in a small town, the people responsible for causing the problem usually can’t remain anonymous for long. But when things go well, not too many people tend to be aware of those responsible for the successes that support and bolster the community. Many don’t know about all the genuinely concerned citizens who work behind the scenes to enrich their communities.
The Upton Men’s Club is filled with those types of citizens. It exists “to provide support to the community where public funds fall short.” But that doesn’t begin to describe the positive difference the club’s members have had on the lives of people of all ages.
Since 1997, members of the Upton Men’s Club have helped their community by volunteering for and donating to programs, initiatives and organizations that enhance/revitalize Upton. While it provides opportunities for local men to build friendships and a professional network of peers, it also focuses on providing service to the community and working with other organizations that serve Upton as well. The 54-member club has raised more than $500,000 to benefit Upton and its residents.
Alan Nasuti, the club’s president, said that the nonprofit is currently “comprised of a diverse set of citizens focused on giving back” to their community. And the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t deter them from pursuing those goals. “Our mission is to provide support for above-and-beyond projects that benefit our community at large,” Nasuti said. “With that in mind, the biggest challenge the club and its members faced during the pandemic was getting together in person to plan and hold charitable events. We pivoted to online meetings but found there was a bit of Zoom fatigue for our members and constituents.”
Over the years, the club has had an indelible impact on its community. For children, it has donated playground equipment to the Upton Town Playground and Miscoe Hill School, provided funding for the S.T.A.R. program in local schools, sponsored summer reading programs at the Upton Library and more. Among its safety-related endeavors, it donated emergency call boxes to Kiwanis Beach and the Upton VFW playground, and it donated truck-mounted lights and 30 smoke-piercing emergency flashlights to the Upton Fire Department. The club also holds monthly dinners for seniors at the Upton Senior Center, awards annual community service scholarships to graduating students, and manages the annual Upton Fireworks event.
And the pandemic didn’t stop the nonprofit from continuing its altruistic work. “The great thing about the club is our members’ innovation, dedication and fortitude,” Nasuti shared. “As such, we were able to still provide boxed dinners for local seniors, we held an ice-out challenge as part of a community engagement and fundraising event, we partnered with the Fire and EMS to build stands for holiday trees and had families decorate them on our town common, and partnered with the Upton Police to deliver Easter eggs to over 160 households and 300 children. All being socially distant and following CDC protocols.”
“We are looking forward to getting back together, in person, as a group and community,” Nasuti said. “We will be holding our annual fireworks celebration on August 21, and we will be holding our charity golf event on September 24.”
More information about volunteering for the nonprofit or becoming a member is available on the Upton Men’s Club website, www.uptonmensclub.org.
If you would like to suggest a Blackstone Valley nonprofit or initiative for this series, please contact Christine at [email protected]