Monday, August 17, 2009

Update on "Take and Eat" Program

Posted by Susan Newton, S. Hadley Town Democratic Committee:

From: Allan Patriquin (Center Church)
Date: Thu, 13 Aug 2009 10:20:50 -0400
Subject: Re: Take and Eat, Inc...
To: Kathleen Ryan

Hello Kathleen...
Thank you for your reply to the several questions I raised earlier. I have received an application form from Hector Figarella at the Food Bank, which has raised some new questions:
1) Should we apply as an "affiliate" of the Take and Eat program, or as an independent organization? One advantage of affiliating with you is the existence of an established program that can perhaps speed up the approval of our application.
(Kathleen): You will need to apply as an independent - Take and Eat no longer is a member of the Food Bank as our Program does not directly prepare any meals and therefore does not utilize those services. As mentioned in my earlier e-mail, the process is currently not very expedient but don't be frustrated by that as you will reap the benefits once a member.
2) In addition to the several churches that will be participating, the local Democratic Committee has expressed some interest in participating. Would this be a problem in combining religious and non-religious organizations? Is there a requirement that all volunteers must be members of the churches that sponsor the program?
(Kathleen): This is not a concern - we reach out to all who are interested in assisting in this program to feed and do a wellness check on the homebound senior population during the weekend. We don't proselytize to the clients as we extend this service to all, regardless of religious affiliation or not.
3) If the application process takes several months to complete, we would like to begin on Saturday, October 17th, and, if necessary, purchase food from other sources until Food Bank food becomes available. Would you have any recommendations about such other sources?
(Kathleen): The client count in S. Hadley is currently 60 - 65. Based on those numbers, the most cost effective and quality purchases would be through BJ's, Price Rite, Sam's Warehouse, and Costco. If any of the congregants have a connection to some of the local farms - that might be a good resource at this time for veggies/fruits. We certainly appreciate your help as we begin to take flight!
-----Original Message-----
From: Allan Patriquin
Sent: Friday, August 07, 2009 10:17 AM
Subject: application form to the Food Bank...Center Church will pay the $125 membership fee, and I will set up a financial donation arrangement with the local churches to underwrite our ongoing expenses.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Republican: "Block grants get jolt from stimulus aid"

BOSTON - Gov. Deval L. Patrick on Thursday awarded $40.4 million in grants, including $16.5 million for Western Massachusetts, for improving public housing, providing social services and upgrading roads. The governor unveiled federal Community Development Block Grants for communities with populations of 50,000 or less.

Patrick said $31 million came from annual block grant financing and another $9 million from federal stimulus dollars. "By leveraging state and federal recovery funds, we can continue to move our economy forward, put more individuals back to work and fund more projects now and in the future," Patrick said.

The stimulus dollars will go to communities for projects that were turned down for funds last year... The state receives a pot of federal money and then apportions it to cities and towns, which compete for grants.

Amherst, Chester, Greenfield, South Hadley, Ware and West Springfield are among the Western Massachusetts communities that received grants. According to the state, 88 communities applied for grants and 75 received them...

South Hadley netted $800,000 to upgrade two housing units, design a senior center and improve Canal Street...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Vacancies on the Board of Community Action


I serve on the board of Community Action ( Below is a message from the Executive Director, Jane Sanders.

If you know an individual who is qualified for and interested in serving on the Board, I would happy to speak with him or her about this fine organization, which serves South Hadley and every community in Hampshire County.

- Bob Judge


-----Original Message-----
From: Jane Sanders []
Sent: Thursday, August 06, 2009 1:20 PM
To: Linda Ackerman; Penny Davis; Tina Elzeneiny; Elizabeth Evans; Kate Finnegan; jerri higgins; mindy kelly; Dr. Sarah Kemble; evelyn mccoy; Sheila Mammen; Andrew Morehouse; Tony Motyl; Carla Oleska; Laura Reichsman; Maria Tarajano Rodman; Christopher Sikes; Andee Williams; Roseann Martoccia; Tracy Gaudet; Daisy Jimenez; Robert Judge; Susan Mareneck; Wynema Phillips-Horve
Subject: We need your help!

Eight of the 24 seats on Community Action’s Board of Directors will be up for election in late October. These Community Representative slots are reserved for people who have or have had lower incomes, and live in either Hampshire or Franklin County. We will have a separate election in each county and elect four of the candidates in each. Only residents who earn up to 175% of the Federal poverty rate and are 18 or older may vote in the election.

Please think about program participants or anyone in the community who you think would be a good addition to our Board. We’d like to have candidates from all geographic areas of the counties, so please think far and wide. Candidates should be people who can reliably attend one evening meeting every other month. We will reimburse them for child care and travel expenses. The Board meets on the first Wednesday of the month in December, February, April, June, August and October from 6 - 8 pm. We are interested in people who care about our programs, will attend regularly, and will conduct themselves appropriately at meetings. It’s a very informal and friendly group!

You can email me with names, addresses (email or street address) and phone numbers of anyone you’re recommending. We will contact them to invite them to enter to run in the election. It would be great if you can talk to them first to make sure they’re interested. Potential candidates will be asked to attend an information session in late September/early October so they can learn more about the organization and what the Board does.

Having people with lower incomes on our Board is one of the most important ways we ensure that the people we serve have a voice in our programs and policies. We are especially interested in having people of color and people with disabilities as Community Representatives on the Board. Please do your part to make this election a success - thanks!

Monday, August 3, 2009

RE: South Hadley Girls Treatment Program - Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps

Dear Mary:

First, congratulations on the fine fundraiser on June 6. Bill and Lucia Foley, John and Pat Scibak, and Brenda and I enjoyed it very much!

The South Hadley Democratic Town Committee (SHDTC) met on July 16, 2009. Below is an excerpt from the minutes:

"Community Involvement Subcommittee. Having considered a number of organizations and initiatives for community involvement, the Subcommittee endorsed local food programs as the best option for participation by SHDTC members…. The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts has launched Hunger Champions, a new campaign designed to step up educational programming and enhance the ways in which volunteers can take part… Other community efforts considered by the Subcommittee included the South Hadley Council on Aging, and the Robert F. Kennedy Girls Program, which serves adolescent girls who have been involved in the court system. Information about these and other community organizations will be posted on the SHDTC Blog."

I have put a link to your program at (Scroll down to "Other links of interest"). Please send me any information that you would like us to post there, including any information about volunteer opportunities.

Thanks again for your hospitality and I hope we can find ways to collaborate!

- Bob Judge


South Hadley Democratic Town Committee

From: Mary Rice []
Sent: Friday, May 22, 2009 2:17 PM
To: Bob Judge,Sarah Etelman...
Subject: RE: South Hadley Girls Treatment Program - Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps


Thanks so much. We look forward to working with members of the committee in the future. We are holding a fundraiser on June 6th, 2009 at the Knights of Columbus Castle in Chicopee. I have ½ dozen tickets which I'd like to donate to members of your committee. If anyone is interested, these can picked up at our facility during Mon-Fri. business hours (8-4pm) over the next 2 weeks.

From: Bob Judge []
Sent: Friday, May 15, 2009 10:52 PM
To: Members of the Community Involvement SubCommittee
Cc: Mary Rice; 'Robert Judge'
Subject: South Hadley Girls Treatment Program - Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps


I had a good meeting on Friday afternoon with Mary Rice, the Program Director of the South Hadley Girls Treatment Program, at the program location at 87 Canal St. in S. Hadley.

Mary told me that the program's capacity is sixteen girls, who usually are between 14 and 16 years old. She would welcome volunteers from the South Hadley Town Democratic Committee. She said the timing is good, because she is trying to reach out to the community more than has been done historically.

Mary said the girls have all been in court. Some of the girls are mothers. Many of the girls are from Springfield or Holyoke but they come from across the state. They usually stay there for 3 to 6 months before returning home, sometimes to a foster home. The program delivers psychological services, medical services as needed, and it operates an accredited school in coordination with the S. Hadley schools.

Some of the girls have recently started visiting seniors at Hubert Place, next door, to the benefit of the seniors and themselves.

The staff ratio is one staff per four girls. Mary said we could assist by accompanying the staff on field trips for the girls. Or, we could help by working with the girls with crocheting, which is apparently a popular activity there, as the girls got involved in a project to knit for newborns at Mercy Hospital in Springfield. We could help the girls who work in the kitchen.

Mary said the best times for volunteering, because of the weekday schooling, would be the weekend. She would prefer female volunteers, but there are male staff and men can volunteer, too. To become a volunteer, you must complete an application and pass a criminal background check.

I was impressed by the facility and the atmosphere there. I explained to Mary the process that we are using, wherein each of us is gathering information about a potential community involvement idea. I told Mary that we will then recommend one or more efforts to the full Town Committee, and that I would be back to her after we consider all of the possibilities. She said she would be happy to meet with our sub-committee if we wished.

Below is a story from the December Republican about the Program. Mary said that in response to the story, people and businesses from S. Hadley and the surrounding area contributed generously to the program.

- Bob

Teen girls ask gifts for winter

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


SOUTH HADLEY - Staff at the South Hadley Girls Treatment Program want to make sure the girls in the program are not forgotten this holiday season. Many of the girls do not have families and won't receive the presents that most teenagers receive on the holidays.

To make sure they receive some Christmas cheer, the Robert F. Kennedy Children's Action Corps, which runs the program here and at three other sites in the region, has started its "Winter Wish" drive. It seeks new hats, mittens and coats for teenagers who may not have any winter clothes.

It also welcomes CDs, board games, makeup, personal care items and other gifts appropriate for teenagers. "One thing they really like is yarn. It goes fast. They all crochet," said Mary L. Rice, the program's director here.

The girls are playing Santa Claus, themselves, by crocheting baby hats and booties for the Welcome Baby Basket program of the Springfield Infant Toddler Services at Mercy Medical Center in Springfield.

Some of their own requests for Christmas presents are very modest. Fourteen-year-old Brenda just wants a teddy bear. "I like stuffed animals," she said. "(A teddy bear) could be a friend to you."

Seventeen-year-old Rosie, who is nine months pregnant with her second child, a boy, just wants baby clothes. "This is my second baby. I put my kids pretty much before myself," Rosie said.

The youths have been sent to the South Hadley program by the state Department of Youth Services.

"Our students are often the victims of abuse or neglect, were exposed to violence and were generally not supported at home, leading them to paths of self-destruction," Edward P. Kelley, president and chief executive officer of the corps, stated.

Although studies show that most children who hurt others have been hurt themselves, Kelley said the public rarely thinks about the reasons why teens break the law or became unlawful and instead see only the unlawful acts.

Rice said the drive will accept pretty much anything with the exception of used clothing. Donations of presents or money may be dropped off weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the center at 87 Canal St....

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Governor Patrick in Chicopee August 6th

Not trying to overwhelm you with Deval Patrick stuff, as that's really not the point of this blog, but did want to make sure everyone's aware of this event:

Deval Patrick Committee


Governor Patrick will be holding a town hall forum in Chicopee on Thursday, August 6 from 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM at the Chicopee Public Library Amphitheater (Main Branch) located on 449 Front Street in Chicopee. In case of rain, the event will be held in the Public Library Community Room.

Keeping to his commitment to encourage civic engagement, Governor Deval Patrick has embarked on his second annual town hall-style meeting tour. All are encouraged to come and talk directly with Governor Patrick about issues they care about.

To RSVP, click here: (Note: you will be required to create an account if you do not already have one on aPebble, our online tool for community organizing.)

Hope to see you there.

The Deval Patrick Committee