PeoplesBank Donation Supports Rent-stabilization Initiative
HOLYOKE — OneHolyoke Community Development Corp. announced a $20,000 donation from PeoplesBank to support OneHolyoke’s Working Families – Rent Stabilization initiative. The lead grant from PeoplesBank has allowed the organization to freeze rents for those in OneHolyoke housing units. “At a time when housing costs are spiking and rents are becoming unaffordable for many, OneHolyoke has maintained our rents without any increase over the past year,” Executive Director Michael Moriarty said. “We are able to accomplish this due to the community partnerships we have formed leading to grants such as this $20,000 gift from PeoplesBank. PeoplesBank understands the importance of community, and we appreciate their partnership in this important initiative to keep housing that is affordable to families in Holyoke.” OneHolyoke manages more than 160 units of non-subsidized housing in the Holyoke neighborhoods of the Flats, Churchill, and South Holyoke.
One Way Brewing Celebrates One-year Anniversary
LONGMEADOW — It’s been one year since One Way Brewing opened its taproom at 807 Maple Road in Longmeadow. In that year, the One Way crew has welcomed thousands of customers, released more than two dozen new beers, and made lots of friends in the community. In recognition of and gratitude for this milestone, One Way Brewing hosted a celebration on Jan. 22 at the brewery. The event featured live music from the Hard to Read band, as well as the release of a New England IPA anniversary beer that was brewed only for this occasion. Co-owners Jason Tsitso and Zach Schwartz also partnered with Fletcher’s BBQ Shop and Steakhouse for the event. “Zach and I would like to thank everyone who supported us this past year, from our awesome patrons to our One Way family,” Tsitso said. “But, to quote Bill Belichick, we’re on to year two.”
HCC Grant to Expand Outreach to Formerly Incarcerated
HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College (HCC) has been awarded an $81,605 Bridges to College grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education to expand community outreach to adult learners who have been previously incarcerated. Specifically, the money goes to Western Mass CORE, an HCC program that works in partnership with the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department to facilitate pathways to education for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals. CORE stands for community, opportunity, resources, and education. The program was founded in 2019 by two HCC professors, Nicole Hendricks (criminal justice) and Mary Orisich (economics). The Bridges to College grant will allow Western Mass CORE to expand office hours, advising services, and information sessions at the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department’s AISS facility, located in the WW Johnson Life Center on State Street in Springfield. AISS stands for Al Inclusive Support Services (formerly After Incarceration Support Services). The grant will also support the hiring of a new community-navigator position to lead this outreach work. This is Western Mass CORE’s third Bridges to College grant as project lead. The grant also will provide funding for Western Mass CORE to host a series of community events, including a monthly children’s story hour at the Holyoke Public Library for parents who have been previously incarcerated and their children, and community coffee hours at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute on Race Street. On March 24, as part of the grant and in partnership with Western New England University, Western Mass CORE will host an expungement event and CORI-friendly career fair in HCC’s Bartley Center for Athletics & Recreation, where formerly incarcerated individuals will be able to consult with lawyers to help have their criminal records expunged. In the meantime, Western Mass CORE will continue its work inside the Hampden County Correctional Center in Ludlow and the Western Massachusetts Regional Women’s Correctional Center in Chicopee. This spring, at the Ludlow jail, Hendricks will teach a criminology course, while Orisich will lead an economics class. HCC theater professor Patricia Sandoval will teach a fundamentals of acting class at the women’s jail.
UWPV to Distribute $258,500 in Emergency Food and Shelter Funds
SPRINGFIELD — The Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) is a program funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and designed to supplement and expand the ongoing work of local social0service organizations to provide shelter, food, and supportive services to individuals and families who are experiencing, or are at risk of experiencing, homelessness or hunger. The United Way Pioneer Valley (UWPV) serves as the administrator for Hampden County, South Hadley, and Granby for all EFSP funds. With the help of a local board comprised of local community leaders, UWPV determines how funding is allocated through a competitive grant application process. EFSP funding for Phase 40 recently became available, resulting in the distribution of $258,500 to be disbursed on a reimbursement basis to local nonprofit organizations.
Bulkley Richardson Supports Greater Westfield Emergency Food Pantry
WESTFIELD — The Greater Westfield Emergency Food Pantry received recently a $2,000 donation from the Springfield-based law firm Bulkley Richardson. “Since the expiration of special government assistance during the pandemic, we have witnessed the need for additional aid in feeding the hungry,” said Rebecca Hart, director of the Greater Westfield Emergency Food Pantry. “Along with a dramatic rise in prices for food and housing, food insecurity remains a growing concern.” Mike Roundy, partner at Bulkley Richardson and longtime Westfield resident, added that “seeing the real struggles that members of our community face every day to meet basic needs is painful. I am pleased that our firm can be a small part of the solution to help combat hunger, but there is so much more work to be done. I encourage others to help in ways that they are able.” The mission of the Greater Westfield Emergency Food Pantry is to provide food to those in need in the Westfield area; to foster self-sufficiency in individuals through encouragement, support, guidance, and education; and to identify and address the root causes of hunger in the community and to strive to provide long-term solutions.