By TAYLOR MURCHISON-GALLAGHER
Community members flocked to Imagine Nation Museum Early Learning Center to celebrate the fourth annual Kiss-A-Pig Contest.
Francis “Jay” Porrini, representing Liberty Recycling, won the smooch by raising $6,000, which combined with the other seven contestants, raised an overall total of $15,000. All funds raised will benefit Imagine Nation, a division of the Boys and Girls Club of Bristol Family Center. Michael Suchopar, president and CEO of the BBGC, said this was the “best ever result” from this fundraiser.
“People wanted to see me kiss the pig, so, they put up a bunch of money,” said Porrini. “I think it’s a great program, both of my kids have used the facilities.”
Kiss-A-Pig is a fundraiser in which you hope to win a kiss with Daisy the famous potbelly pig. For the past 18 years, Daisy and Farmer Minor have traveled the country to put on their “Pig Out on Reading” program, which encourages a child to read more frequently. And recently, they began to visit assisted living facilities and memory care units, working with patients suffering from Alzheimer’s, and dementia.
“We hope the most they [children] get out of it is to encourage them to read – that’s what we hope, they’ll read more – because it’s so important for their future success,” said Farmer [Paul] Minor, of Minor Farms. “I think it’s also positive because so many kids don’t see farm animals, and so, Daisy is a rather unusual animal – not really a farm animal… She sleeps in bed with her head right on my shoulder at night, but she’s still a very positive influence.”
The eight competitors were Dr. Charles Bencivengo and Dr. Wing Ko, representing Bencivengo and Ko Dentists; Richard Caruso and Mike Preleski, representing Tracy Driscoll; Mike Ferruci and Steve Merchant, representing Ray’s CARSTAR; Jason Fields, representing the Bristol Exchange Club; Laura Lagace, representing Dream Makers Design Studio; Jay Maia, representing the BBGC; Joe Pieksza, representing Crowe; and Porrini.
Doreen Stickney, development and marketing director at Imagine Nation, said Kiss-A-Pig originated in the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and the Bristol division ran the contest for many years before disbanding.
“All of the funds that we receive through Kiss-A-Pig will go back into our program and support the children and families we service with new programming that we can bring in, new supplies and materials that we have, and special events that we provide for our children here at the Imagine Nation,” said Coral Richardson, director of Imagine Nation.
To begin the ceremony, Miss Forestville Outstanding Teen 2018, Gia Iwanec, led the crowd in the Kiss-A-Pig song, and s Bristol Central High School student played a drumroll for the announcing of the winners.