This weekend, the women of the New Haven chapter of The Links Inc. will mark 50 years of service to the greater New Haven community.
The Links Inc. is a national organization founded in 1946 in Philadelphia. It’s grown to nearly 300 chapters in 41 states, Washington, D.C. and abroad and a membership of 17,000 women of African descent bonded under the motto “Linked In Friendship, Connected In Service.”
The New Haven chapter was chartered in Dec. 1972 and has spent the last five decades working to improve the lives of all who live in and around the Elm City.
Chapter charter member Patricia Downing comes from a long line of women in The Links and says it’s been a lifetime of connecting with likeminded women to serve.
Get Connecticut local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Connecticut newsletters.
“My mother was a Link. My sister was a Link. My mother-in-law was a Link, my two sisters in law were Links. So when I was asked to join, I was delighted to spend the time with the lovely ladies," Downing said.
Vice President Kamala Harris is among the political community civic members who make up the sisterhood.
Former New Haven mayor Toni Harp has been a Link for 39 years and serves as the New Haven chapter president.
“I really wanted to have a mechanism to get out in the community and to help as I could. As an individual, I can only do so much. But with 40 other women, I can do so much more. We do things together to enhance the community and to assure that some of the needs that go unmet can be met by the work that we do in the community," Harp said.
For more than a decade, the New Haven Links have partnered with the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen in New Haven to serve their clients.
“Last year, we did 673 pounds of canned goods, dry goods and turkeys that we collected for this organization. Friendship is important, but it's not all that we are. Service is as important and its equal a component of who we are and what we are about,” said Elsie Chapman, the New Haven chapter’s financial secretary.
The New Haven Links are having a Thanksgiving drive on Sunday, Nov. 13. Anyone who would like to make a donation is welcome to drop off dry and frozen goods, along with frozen turkeys, at the Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen’s Temple Street location from 1 to 3 p.m.