Florence Bank Partners with UMass Sports Properties, UMass Hockey to Ice Out Hunger

FLORENCE — Florence Bank has partnered with UMass Sports Properties and the UMass Amherst hockey team to Ice Out Hunger in the Valley. Through this innovative new program, the bank will provide $9,500 in $500 grants to each of 19 food pantries across the region.

A different food pantry will be highlighted during the first intermission at each Massachusetts home game, and a lucky fan will be chosen to ride on the Mullins Center’s Zamboni, which has been wrapped with Florence Bank’s branding. Riders are selected randomly after submitting an entry form at umassathletics.com/ride.

Each of the following food pantries will receive $500: Amherst Survival Center, Easthampton Community Center, Friends of Hampshire County Homeless Individuals, the Parish Cupboard in West Springfield, Northampton Survival Center, Easthampton Congregational Church, Not Bread Alone soup kitchen in Amherst, the Gray House in Springfield, Margaret’s Pantry at Providence Ministries in Holyoke, Helping Hands Cupboard Food Pantry in Belchertown, Neighbors Helping Neighbors in South Hadley, Chesterfield Community Food Cupboard, Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen in Chicopee, Most Holy Redeemer Church in Hadley, Southampton Community Cupboard, Springfield Rescue Mission, Center for Self Reliance in Greenfield, Manna Soup Kitchen in Northampton, and Open Pantry Community Services in Springfield.

Andrew Stuebner, general manager of UMass Sports Properties, the multimedia rights holder for Massachusetts Athletics, said the partnership with Florence Bank has been developed over the past few years with Jim Hickey, the bank’s senior vice president and marketing director.

“In exploring high-impact ways to complement Florence Bank’s key objectives of building relationships with local organizations and supporting the communities the bank serves, the concept came to light thanks in large part to Jim,” Stuebner said, adding that the Rider of the Game and Ice Out Hunger themes evolved to ensure a philanthropic component. “It’s a win-win promotion, providing lifelong memories for lucky fans while supporting those in need.”

Matt Garrity, president and CEO of Florence Bank, added that “pantry leaders have told us that the funds we are providing will cover the cost of tens of thousands of meals for people in need in the Valley. The success of the Massachusetts Hockey program provides us with a unique way to communicate the issue of food insecurity to folks in the Pioneer Valley. We’re pleased to partner with UMass to help Ice Out Hunger in the Valley.”

The Massachusetts Minutemen hockey season is in full swing, with the team currently ranked 11th in the country and playing what Stuebner called “a high-energy brand of hockey.” The game schedule can be found at umassathletics.com/sports/mens-ice-hockey/schedule.