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Company Notebook

FamilyFirst Merging with North Brookfield Savings
NORTH BROOKFIELD — North Brookfield Savings Bank (NBSB) in North Brookfield and FamilyFirst Bank (FFB) in Ware have entered into a definitive agreement to combine into a single mutual savings bank. The combined bank will operate under the name and charter of North Brookfield Savings Bank. The transaction is subject to the approval of the corporators of NBSB and the shareholders of FFB as well as the approval of the banks’ regulators. FamilyFirst Bank operates three banking centers in Ware, Three Rivers, and East Brookfield. “These branch locations complement the North Brookfield branch system very well,” said NBSB President and CEO Donna Boulanger. NBSB operates four banking centers in North Brookfield, West Brookfield, Palmer, and Belchertown. All existing FamilyFirst branches will continue to operate, as will all North Brookfield Savings Bank branches. “FamilyFirst has created a customer-first culture with a strong focus on community, making this a natural fit for North Brookfield Savings Bank,” said Boulanger. “We look forward to introducing NBSB’s products and services to FamilyFirst’s customers and to supporting the local communities.” NBSB, founded in 1854, is a mutual savings bank with more than $200 million in assets. NBSB has received the highest Five Star Superior Bank rating from Bauer Financial for 74 consecutive quarters. The combined bank will have in excess of $260 million in assets. “I look forward to working with NBSB to complete this transaction for the benefit of FamilyFirst customers and employees. NBSB has a history of being committed to providing superior products and services delivered with a true personal touch,” said FamilyFirst President and CEO Michael Audette. Both banks use the same core technology providers, so the integration of the banks should be an easy transition for FamilyFirst customers. The transaction is anticipated to close in the late first quarter or early second quarter of 2014.

HMC Welcomes Donation from Holyoke HealthCare
HOLYOKE — Holyoke Medical Center announced a recent donation from Holyoke HealthCare Center in the amount of $4,810. The donation was made possible by the generosity of the center, a member of National HealthCare (NHC) and its philanthropic arm, the Foundation for Geriatric Education (TFGE). The donation will help participants in a five-day ‘boot camp’ for people recently diagnosed with congestive heart failure (CHF) that will be offered through the multi-agency Cross Continuum Team consisting of Holyoke Medical Center, Holyoke HealthCare Center, the Care Center, the Holyoke Visiting Nurse Assoc., and Renaissance Manor. The funding will provide boot-camp participants with large-number bathroom scales to weigh themselves every day. “Monitoring weight is a very important part of the self-management process for patients with CHF,” said Cherelyn Roberts, Holyoke Medical Center manager for the State Action on Avoidable Rehospitalizations Program. “Any change in weight could signal the need for medical attention, so these scales are crucial and will help patients be a stronger partner in their care. The goal is to help people avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and stay at home, where they want to be.” Holyoke HealthCare Center Administrator Thomas Accomando explained that the funding provided by TFGE was raised locally through events such as car washes, bake sales, and tag sales held at Holyoke HealthCare Center, along with personal donations. “The teams here at Holyoke HealthCare Center and NHC are proud to assist in education-related projects for our community involving the care of our elders, thus continuing the philosophy of our founder, Dr. Carl Adams,” said Accomando. Funding was also provided to Holyoke Medical Center for the purchase of a Resusci Anne QCPR torso mannequin with wireless skill recorder and carrier, a special training IV arm for intravenous insertions into elderly patients with thinner skin, and video equipment for recording educational sessions provided to Cross Continuum Team partners.

Big Y Nets 126,000 Pounds of Food for Area Needy
SPRINGFIELD — In a chain-wide effort to help the hungry within their local communities, Big Y’s fourth annual Sack Hunger/Care to Share Program brought 15,741 bags of food to local charities. Sack Hunger bags are large, brown, reusable grocery bags filled with staple non-perishable food items for local food banks. Customers purchase a Sack Hunger bag of groceries for $10, and Big Y distributes the food to that region’s local food bank. In turn, the food banks distribute the filled sacks to area soup kitchens, food pantries, senior food programs, day-care centers, as well as many other member agencies. All of the donated sacks are distributed within the supermarket’s marketing area, so every donation stays within the local community. Since its inception four years ago, more than 55,000 bags have been donated to the area’s needy via the Sack Hunger Program. This year’s endeavor ran from Oct. 31 through Dec. 31. All five food banks within Big Y’s marketing area are participating in Sack Hunger. These food banks represent more than 2,100 member agencies throughout the region. They include the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, the Greater Boston Food Bank, the Worcester County Food Bank, Foodshare of Greater Hartford, and the Connecticut Food Bank.

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