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Help Women Cross the Digital Divide Through a Day of Giving on June 18

SPRINGFIELD — When Dress for Success Western Massachusetts was forced to shut down its boutique due to social distancing, staff and volunteers sprang into action to see how they could continue to serve the women in their programs. They quickly learned that many of the women were at a distinct disadvantage because they either lacked connectivity or did not know how to use the tools needed for things like Zoom meetings or online learning.

To remedy this, Dress for Success put together a digital-literacy task force to provide outreach and individual support during this critical time. On Thursday, June 18, the organization will host a 24-hour Day of Giving. The goal of the Day of Giving is to purchase at least 20 laptops — complete with software and internet access — to help women bridge the digital divide.

“Not surprisingly, those who are already challenged by socioeconomic barriers are being even more severely impacted by this pandemic,” said Jessica Dupont, Dress for Success board president. “While we are all transitioning to a heavily digital world, we want to make sure women who do not have the financial means to own a computer or have internet access are not left behind.”

Dress for Success Western Massachusetts is part of a worldwide nonprofit organization dedicated to the empowerment of women as they take control of their personal and professional lives. Programs include Foot in the Door, a professional women’s mentorship group, and the Margaret R. Fitzgerald Mentoring Program. At the completion of such programs, each woman receives free professional attire and accessories at the Dress for Success suiting boutique at Eastfield Mall in Springfield. Prior to the pandemic, women were also referred to the boutique by social-service agencies throughout the region.

People can visit Dress for Success Western Massachusetts at westernmass.dressforsuccess.org and donate online at any time, but the organization hopes they will do so on June 18 during the Day of Giving. Call Margaret Tantillo, executive director, at (860) 638-8980 for additional details.

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