Commerce Bank participates in Day of Caring

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Commerce Bank participates in Day of Caring

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Commerce Bank employees recently participated in the United Way of Central Massachusetts’ annual Day of Caring, spending the day at Lutheran Social Services in Worcester calling recent donors to thank them for their support of the organization. From left, Michael Roy, Cathy Esposito, Lisa Lyons and Jamie How. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

WORCESTER — Commerce Bank employees recently participated in the United Way of Central Massachusetts’ annual Day of Caring, spending the day at Lutheran Social Services calling recent donors to thank them for their support of the organization.

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Central Mass. Nonprofits Suffering from Government Shutdown

Paige Pihl Buckley, GoLocalWorcester Contributor

Food pantries have been hit especially hard by the government shutdown.
As the government shutdown enters its third week, Central Massachusetts nonprofits are beginning to feel the pinch. Those that aren’t are fearful that a continued shutdown could be a major hit to their resources and, in turn, to their ability to serve families and individuals in need.

“This shutdown and debt ceiling brinkmanship are politically manufactured crises. Tragically, those who are going to be most impacted as it drags on are our most vulnerable citizens, who depend on government assistance programs – VA benefits, unemployment insurance, disability insurance, fuel assistance, reduced price school meals, WIC, SNAP, etc. – to make ends meet,” said Congressman Jim McGovern.

“Virtually every nonprofit in Central Massachusetts is feeling or will soon feel the squeeze. On one hand, they are experiencing a higher demand and drain on existing resources from low-income populations. On the other, resources that come directly or indirectly from the federal government will be drastically reduced or slowed,” he said. “It’s a vicious cycle, and one we don’t have to be caught in if the GOP will let us take a vote that reopens the government, and raises the debt ceiling.”
Local Nonprofits Hit Hard

Politics aside, the very real consequences of the shutdown are hitting some local nonprofits particularly hard.

“I think in our case one of the first programs to go with the shutdown has been the WIC program,” said Gordon Hargrove, Executive Director of Friendly House in Worcester. “This program buys food for babies, formula and other food for infants.”

WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) is a federal assistance program for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and children under 5 years old.

“People have been coming to us for formula and we don’t have very much unfortunately,” said Hargrove. “In turn people will use their money and, because formula is fairly expensive, they’ve been buying that first and then they’ve been having problems paying rent and utilities.”

This has led to increased demand for financial assistance said Hargrove, and lengthening lines at food pantries.

“We’re trying to stock up for Thanksgiving and the holidays but we’ve had to use most of our set aside applies to help folks in the immediate times,” said Hargrove.
End Of The Month Could Bring More Problems

Other organizations have not been hit by the shutdown yet, but worry that if the shutdown is not over before month’s end there will be serious repercussions.

“As of today, none of the funds that support our facility or health benefits have stopped,” said Frances Anthes, President and CEO of the Family Health Center of Worcester, Inc.

“But everybody’s really worried that if it goes on to the end of the month, there’s a problem for lots of different programs,” she said. “Many of the patients that come to the Health Center rely on government programs for something, and many of the patients seem very anxious because people are very afraid that they’re going to lose benefits they need to survive.”

David McMahon, Co-Executive Director of the Dismas House of Massachusetts, Inc. expressed a similar sentiment.

“Currently there has not been enough time for the full federal shutdown to impact our small nonprofit,” he said, “but if it drags on longer we anticipate it will hurt state programs that fund such organizations as ours, so we are hopeful for a resolution soon.”
Hope For Compromise

Tim Garvin, President and CEO of the United Way of Central Massachusetts, said that while his organization has not yet been affects they have been working to help other partner organizations that have.

“We at the United Way are concerned about the continued shutdown,” he said. “We have reached out to those who serve the most basic needs of food to make sure they don’t run out of food. We don’t want anyone to be hungry. Should we hear from our partner agencies, if they are struggling, we will provide assistance where we can.”

Garvin also noted several developments, which he said we reasons to be optimistic. He said that late Friday night his office received word from United Way Worldwide that their federal emergency food and shelter funding would grow in the coming fiscal year. He also said he had received assurances from the USDA that current funding would last through the end of the fiscal year.

“We do remain aware and fearful,” Garvin said, “but we are also hopeful. There are good people in Congress that are going to work to resolve this. I’m optimistic that they’ll always do the American thing and help our neighbors in need.”

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GoLocalWorcester.com

Saint-Gobain to hold surplus sale

WORCESTER — Saint-Gobain will host its fourth annual Abrasives Discounted Products Sale from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 19.

The sale, which is open to the public, will take place rain or shine at the Saint-Gobain Executive Garage at One New Bond Street, Worcester.

The sale will include discontinued and overstocked abrasives items, such as sandpaper, cut-off wheels, floor sanding products, automotive refinishing products, microfiber cleaning cloths, grinding wheels and sharpening stones, with proceeds donated to the United Way of Central Massachusetts.

For more information, call Trish Dawson at (508) 795-5762.

Last year, Saint-Gobain’s combined corporate, employee and retiree donation to the United Way of Central Massachusetts was $396,000.

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Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Conference on Empowering Girls This Weekend At Clark University

GoLocalWorcester Features Team

Bringing power to girls is the focus of a weekend conference at Clark University.
Empowering girls is at the forefront in Worcester this weekend, when the Clark University student organization All Kinds of Girls (AKOG) will host a conference, “Inspiring Strength & Empowering All Kinds of Girls” on Saturday, October 5, on the Clark campus. The conference will bring together several presenters and panelists from around campus, from New England, and from local chapters of national organizations such as United Way, YWCA, and Girl Scouts.

The conference will begin with registration and a breakfast at 9 a.m. Numerous workshops and breakout sessions will occur throughout the day until 5 p.m.

All activities through 2 p.m. will be held in Tilton Hall, second floor of the Higgins University Center, 950 Main St., Worcester. After 2 p.m., sessions will be held in either the Grace or Lurie Conference Rooms on the first floor of the Higgins University Center.

President David Angel will welcome guests at 9:30 a.m. with an introduction to the conference.
Keynote: Coming Of Age in the Culture of ‘Twerk’

At 9:45 a.m., Esther L. Jones, assistant professor of English at Clark University will be delivering the keynote address, “Girls to Women? Coming of Age in the Culture of ‘Twerk.’”

“State of Girls,” the first panel at 10:45 a.m., will allow individuals from different communities and offices to share their perspectives on the current state of girls and where to go from here. Panelists include:

Karen King, Women’s Initiative of the United Way of Central Massachusetts
Sarai Rivera, Worcester District 4 City Councilor
Professor Hilda Lloréns, Brown University
Kathleen M. Palm Reed, assistant professor of psychology (who will discuss her work with CAVE: Clark Anti-Violence Education Program).

After lunch, a second panel will commence at 12:45 p.m., titled “Same Goal, Different Pathways.” This panel is made up of representatives from organizations whose programs focus on empowering young women and violence prevention. Each panelist will share their different approaches. Panelists include:

Mary Scully ’14, Clark senior and AKOG mentor/Steering Committee member
Jessica Donati ’13, Clark junior, Big Brothers Big Sisters
Lindsay Carpenter, YWCA’s Girls Promoting Safety Program
Pattie Hallberg, CEO, Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts.

At 2 p.m., a workshop titled “A Day in the Life of AKOG” will focus on the matter of responding to violence. A second workshop will include a panel of Clark alumni and former AKOG members: Helen Ward, Jenna Wills, Theresa Pickens, and Ellen Davis.

Breakout sessions titled “A Moment as a Mentor” and “Girls and the Media” will follow at 3:45 p.m. and 4:25 p.m., respectively. Lucia Alfaro from the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children will be assisting with a session, as will Sam Diener, visiting professor of peace studies at Clark, who works with the organization Peace Now.

The conference is open to the public. For more information on the conference, contact Ms. Imogene Winkleman atiwinkleman@clarku.edu and (914) 330-4313.
AKOG

AKOG was started in 1998 in response to a community desire to create a space where generations of females could foster positive growth through mentorship and openly explore their personal and political identities. Through positive interactions with others, the program aims to support girls in developing a solid sense of self while simultaneously fostering their role as important and powerful contributors to the formation of the evolving social world.

The All Kinds of Girls Program is funded by a generous grant from the Women’s Initiative of the United Way of Central Massachusetts, the Clark University Office of the Provost, and the Student Council at Clark University.

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Volunteers needed for tax season

WORCESTER — The Worcester Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition is recruiting volunteer tax preparers, site greeters, benefit counselors and foreign language translators for each of its four community Volunteer Income Tax Assistance sites.

The Worcester EITC will hold two volunteer information sessions from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Nov. 6 and Nov. 12 at the United Way of Central Massachusetts, 484 Main St., Suite 300. To register, email rcrimmin@unitedwaycm.org”>rcrimmin@unitedwaycm.org by Nov. 4 for the Nov. 6 session and Nov. 10 for the Nov. 12 session, or call (508) 757-5631, ext. 223.

United Way of Central Massachusetts is part of the Worcester EITC Coalition, which is working to create awareness about the EITC and engage volunteers to help prepare taxes for free. During the 2012 tax season, The Worcester EITC processed more than 1,800 tax returns for free and returned more than $3 million to low- and moderate-income families in central Massachusetts.

For more information, visit http://www.unitedwaycm.org.

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Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Central Massachusetts United Way seeks volunteers

SHREWSBURY, Massachusetts- The Worcester Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition (EITC) is currently recruiting volunteer Tax Preparers, Site Greeters, Benefit Counselors, and Foreign Language Translators for each of its four community Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites. This is a great opportunity to give back to the community once a week for a ten-week period and help working individuals and families claim eligible tax credits.

The Worcester EITC is holding two volunteer information sessions on Wednesday, November 6th and Tuesday, November 12th from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Both will be held in the United Way of Central Massachusetts, 484 Main Street, Suite 300, Worcester, MA. To RSVP please email Rita Crimmin at rcrimmin@unitedwaycm.org by November 4th for the November 6th session and November 10th for the November 12th session. Rita can also be reached by calling 508-757-5631 x223. If you are interested but cannot make either information session, please contact Rita and make an appointment at your convenience.

United Way of Central Massachusetts is part of the Worcester EITC Coalition, which is working to create awareness about the EITC and engage volunteers to help prepare taxes for free. During the 2012 tax season, The Worcester EITC processed more than 1,800 tax returns for free and returned more than $3 million to low- and moderate-income families in central Massachusetts. The Worcester Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition is one of the many ways that United Way of Central Massachusetts connects people to resources to improve the community. For more information about United Way of Central Massachusetts go tohttp://www.unitedwaycm.org.

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Shrewsbury Massachusetts Lantern

Worcester’s new mobile library will visit schools

WORCESTER — The Worcester Public Library will soon add another piece to its “One City, One Library” initiative with a second mobile library.

Funding for the additional mobile library was being sought by the library foundation as part of the One City, One Library initiative, which will expand public library services in four elementary schools this fall.

Coined “Little Libby,” the new mobile library will be a smaller version of the existing Library Express, which is sponsored by the College of the Holy Cross, and will provide regular mobile library services to those elementary schools that were not selected for the initial One City, One Library pilot project.

“This is one more visible example of putting our mission of ‘Connecting people and resources to improve the community’ into action,” said Timothy J. Garvin, CEO of United Way of Central Massachusetts.

In June, city, school and community leaders announced the formation of a public-private partnership to open four public branch libraries at Roosevelt Elementary School, Tatnuck Magnet School, Goddard Science and Technology, and Burncoat Preparatory as part of the initiative.

These school-based branch libraries also will serve residents during after-school, weekend and school vacation hours. The partnership aims to connect every elementary school with access to library services and materials, while opening the doors to the public for convenient, neighborhood-based library services.

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Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Stepping Up for Girls Event on Evening News

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Caring to Make Things Better

In Worcester during the United Way Day of Caring on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013. (T&G Staff/PAUL KAPTEYN)

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WORCESTER — St. Vincent Hospital employee Raymond Desroches of Worcester sweeps a patio at the Curran Terrace public housing complex Thursday during the United Way Day of Caring.
PictureT&G Staff/PAUL KAPTEYN

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In photo, St. Vincent Hospital employee Jane Berger of South Easton cleans a door at Curran Terrace.

Other Day of Caring volunteers worked such tasks as painting the new Early Learning Center at All Saints Church, sprucing up a homeless shelter and doing yard work at a group home for people with disabilities.

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Worcester Telegram & Gazette

Saint-Gobain/United Way vs. Girls Inc. Basketball Game on News

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