Our Lodge is called the North Haven Sons & Daughters of Italy Lodge #2805 and was established on January 11, 2004. We are a part of The Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America (OSDIA). Our Lodge was founded by the OSDIA State President, Neil Velleca Sr. Pictured are the 40 original members of the Lodge. The installation dinner was held at Zandri's Stillwood Inn, in Wallingford CT. The Lodge's first official meeting was held on February 3, 2004 at the North Haven Rec. Center.
Our very first meetings were actually held prior to our official Lodge formation. The first being held on October 14, 2003. The next meeting was November 18, 2003. Both of these meetings were also held at the North Haven Recreation Center. After the installation dinner and the February 2004 meeting our March meeting was held in the Rec. Center. Then on April 6, 2004 we rented our first place, and held our 3rd meeting at the North Haven American Legion Hall.
As our lodge membership grew, we decided we wanted a larger place to meet and on November 1, 2005 we started meeting at St Therese Church. We continued to grow and motivated by Storage space needed, for the Lodges Cultural Activities, Social Activities, the Italian Festival and Bingo, in 2006 we decided to rent our own place. This place was located behind Dino’s Restaurant in Kimberly Plaza, North Haven. In mid-August of 2006 we signed a lease and after that year’s festival was over, we were able to move there. Our first meeting was held there on September 5, 2006. We were able to remain there until we decided to end our Bingo and Italian Festival. Plus, our rent went up in 2014. Thus, our last meeting was held there on February 3, 2015.
We then downsized for the first time in our history. Our new meeting place was going to be St. Frances Cabrini Church Hall, in North Haven. Our first meeting at our new meeting place was held on March 3, 2015. As of now this is our current meeting place.
Our membership enrolment varies! Recently we have been lucky enough to maintain approximately 100 members. Made up of Women and Men of all age groups, and nationalities. The majority of our members have a connection to an Italian American Heritage.
Our Lodges first major event was held on September 18, 2004 at the former Fantasia Banquet Facility in North Haven. The event is called the Distinguished Citizen Award Dinner. This event is still our signature event and fundraiser. However, this event was Scheduled for March 15 2020 and like everyone else covid 19 forced us to cancel it. We regrouped and along with our honorees and their family of supporters we will able to hold a successful dinner on August 29 2021.
In 2004 our group moved swiftly, and held many other smaller fundraising events besides the Distinguished Dinner. Then in the fall of 2004 we were offered a chance to take over a bingo event. A meeting was held and on November 15, 2004 we began hosting a weekly Bingo on Monday nights, at Zandri’s Stillwood inn. Many members helped by working at the bingo, but we also had a very dedicated few who would volunteer for 9 years plus, until we stopped holding the Bingo in December of 2013.
Subsequently, on a summer night in 2004, there was a cookout, 8 people were there. This is when our Lodge bingo, and the security it supplied the Lodge, gave us the opportunity to plan our most popular community event at that time. It was called the Italian Festival of Angels. The inaugural Italian Festival of Angels was held on August 26 and 27, 2005. Like Bingo this event had a core group of members who volunteered to make it a success. In addition to the core group, some years this event had over 100 members who volunteered to help. We ended our Festival in 2013. We tried to regroup and bring it back in 2018 but we fell short.
Over the years we are proud to say we have given away 180,876.00 to local, state, and national charities, and Lodge scholarships. Which averages to approximately 10,000.00 per year. Our By Laws Require us to support charities and scholarships with at least 50% of our lodges yearly profit. We also promote Italian American culture and heritage. Another way we help our community is with our community outreach programs, that involve our members volunteering to help others by donating, time, food, goods and supplies.
This is only a summary of our Lodge; it would be almost impossible to name every event we held and every time someone made a significate difference in our Lodges history. We appreciate everyone and we are thankful that it happened the way it did. There were ups and downs, that’s still true. There are a couple things that seem to remain constant. We welcome all who want to help and participate, we like to help as a group, and we want to have some fun doing everything! If you would like to join this club, please contact one of these people or any member you know.
The Lodge Installation Dinner, January 4 2004 at Zandri's Stillwood Inn.