Pictured: City Councilman Tom Winiewski, PACT President Stan Machosky,
Toledo Mayor Michael Collins and PACT Vice-President, Matt Zaleski.
From the Toledo Blade, Monday, August 11, 2014:
The second annual Polka Party Picnic offered far more than the expected polka dancing and kielbasa meal at St. Hyacinth Catholic Church on Sunday afternoon.
At the event, the Polish -American Community of Toledo, or PACT, announced plans to launch a $1million capital campaign to raise funds to establish a Toledo area Polish-American Community Center.
“A major issue is that the churches formed by some of the first Poles who came to Toledo are slowly closing”, said Toledo Polish Genealogical Society and PACT member Marge Stefanski. “Many believe some of the Polish heritage in the community is being lost in the process.”
“We need to keep the heritage going by passing it on to the young crowd,” Stan Machosky, PACT Board President said. “We need a place to assemble to transfer this to the young.”
To read the entire article, go to http://www.toledoblade.com/Culture/2014/08/11/Poles-set-sights-on-1M-center.html
Thanks you to St. Hyacinth and St. Charles for giving PACT this venue to launch this campaign. It is with the interest of the entire Polish population of Toledo and North West Ohio that this endeavor is being started.
In 2009, a group of Poles gathered at Ski’s Restaurant to address some of the needs of the local Polish community. Like some of the other area ethnic groups in the Toledo area, the Poles were witness to a dying heritage, with their old Polish neighborhoods becoming blight-ridden and once popular churches closing. Certainly the future looked bleak.
To address these issues and more, the group formed a new Polish organization — The Polish-American Community of Toledo (PACT). Five years later a lot has changed for the Toledo Poles.
Along with spearheading a litany of events that call attention to the Polish heritage, PACT wants to build a much-needed Polish Community Center for the Toledo area.
“Leading up to this point, PACT has been able to successfully promote the Polish heritage with annual events like our Wagilia Celebration, Kielbasa Klassic Golf Tournament, annual scholarship competition, our Kielbasa Cook-off Competition, and more,” said Stan Machosky, President, PACT. “But now we feel the time has come to try and fulfill a significant part of PACT’s mission — To build a Polish-American Community Center.
When PACT, a Non- Profit 501-C-3 organization, was created in 2009 it had a mission of supporting and furthering the cause of local Polish-American groups and to enhance the lives of local Polish-Americans. PACT wanted its members to help promote, support, and patronize locally owned Polish-American businesses. PACT wants support for Polish-American business owners, and wanted its members to promote, join and support local and national groups and organizations that help promote events that perpetuate Polish culture and traditions. But a key piece of that mission was the building of a Polish-American Community Center that would ultimately house a cultural center, library, youth recreation center, and provide a venue for local Polish American groups to hold their activities.
On Sunday August 10, PACT announced an ambitious capital campaign to raise $1 million to build the Polish-American Community Center.
“When Poles first came to Toledo and settled in their neighborhoods, they built churches that served the function of a Polish community center. As Poles left those neighborhoods, the churches declined in attendance and eventually closed. However the need for a Polish-American Community Center still exists to help promote the Polish heritage,” said Mr. Machosky.
To meet its financial goal, PACT plans a grassroots campaign to reach out to local Polish-Americans, and to seek grants and donations from area corporations. In addition PACT plans an on-line fund raising effort with Indiegogo.
“We want a grassroots campaign to make all area Poles feel like they are part of this development. We also like the idea of an on-line effort which gives us access to Poles and other Polish organizations around the world who may wish to contribute to our effort,” said Mr. Machosky.
PACT says it is hoping to work with a prominent local Pole — Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz — to see what’s available through the Lucas County Land Bank for redevelopment.
Those wishing to make donations can send checks made payable to Polish-American Community of Toledo, P.O. Box 1033, Sylvania, OH 43560. They can also visit the Indiegogo.
American Originals: Northwest Ohio’s Polish Community at Home, Work, Worship, and Play is the latest book to be published by the University of Toledo Press.
The 258 page work presents a glimpse into the history of one of Toledo’s most important ethnic groups.
“The book is a mix of the broader themes that have shaped our community with the actual lives that Polish-Americans recall–sometimes remembered with pain, more often with joy, and always with the respect for the accomplishments of the families, friends and neighbors,” said Timothy Borden, editor of the book. “These are the histories of true American originals, who found a proper home for their ideals in the Polish-American community of northwest Ohio.”
The book includes several chapters by Borden, who holds a Ph.D. in history from Indiana University Bloomington. Others with chapters include David Chelminski, Dorothy Stohl, Jane Armstrong-Hudiburg, Sarah Miller, William Samiec, and Margaret Zotkiewicz-Dramczyk.
Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur also contributed a chapter on the history of her Polish family, including the story of her father, Steve, who was known in the community as “Kappy.” Kappy began his career as a trucker and produce dealer in the 1930’s, and in the 1950’s, he and his wife Anastasia, opened the Supreme Market in Rossford. The market sold Polish specialty items. Kaptur also recounts several trips she made to Poland to visit the homeland of her ancestors, and how moved she was by the Polish people and the tales of their struggles throughout history.
The book also looks at the artistic expressions of Toledo’s Polish community in its polka music. The chapter by Zotkiewicz-Dramczyk looks at some of the beloved polka bands that played in many venues around Toledo. It includes interviews with some of the bands’ leaders and discusses the evolution of Toledo’s polka music. A listing of polka recordings by Toledo bands is also included. In addition, Zotkiewicz-Dramczyk discusses the influential Toledo Polish music radio show hosted for years by Chet Zablocki, assisted by his wife Helen, and then after Helen’s death, by his second wife, Sharon.
Other chapters look at Polish wedding traditions, the role of local Catholic sisters in educating the new immigrants to Toledo, and the experience of those growing up in Toledo’s two Polish neighborhoods–Kuhschwantz and Lagrinka. “American Originals is an important contribution to Toledo’s history and is also a fascinating read for anyone who is a part of the Polish community, or just an admirer,” Barbara Floyd, director of the UT Press said.
The book is for sale from the UT Press website: www.utoledopress.com, at Barnes & Noble at The University of Toledo, or by contacting Barbara Floyd, at 419-530-2170.
For more information about the book, or to schedule interviews with the authors, contact Floyd.