On January 9 following an extended cold spell, a broken water valve unleashed a torrent of water onto both floors and the cellar of the Italian Cultural Center in Springfield Mass.
The South End of Springfield was the destination of thousands of Italian immigrants beginning in the late 1800s. The Italian Cultural Center, located in a historic building in the heart of the old Italian community, is a non-profit organization that exists to keep the culture, traditions and language of our ancestors alive, and to teach them to new generations.
The destruction was extensive - ceilings, floors, and walls must be rebuilt. Tables, chairs, furnishings, and some of our Italian memorabilia and wall hangings are damaged, some beyond repair. Items in our Italian Gift Shop were subject to water damage and high humidity, and must be replaced.
We have one of the few Italian Libraries in the State with many Italian classics, some over 100 years old, and many books may need to be replaced.
What was especially heart sickening was that our alarm system was also destroyed by the water, and before we could have it replaced, thieves broke into our building and stole many items including electronic equipment, food, and the wine that we serve at our events.
Our building is shut down, and scheduled dinners, cultural events, cooking classes, lectures and Italian movie nights had to be cancelled. These events are needed to pay our bills and we have lost these sources of income. We don’t know how much of the damage will be covered by insurance, or when we’ll be able to open again. Early feedback from the insurance company has not been encouraging.
In these days of electronic social media it’s easy to lose a personal connection to the culture and traditions of our parents and grandparents that made us who we are. Since 1985, our Cultural Center has strengthened those old bonds and forged new ones for younger generations.
Please contribute and help us to restore our Italian Cultural Center so we are able to continue to promote Italian Culture and the Italian way of life! Grazie!
Please spread the word by sharing this on Facebook, by email, or text messages with friends and family.
Stephanie Spolzino, President
Here are more pictures of the damage and aftermath.
The ICC is a Tax-Exempt 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. Contributions to the ICC are tax deductible.