Hospital Employees Join Forces with Youths in Third Annual Coat Drive

WARE — Baystate Mary Lane Hospital employees joined forces with local young people to stage their third annual Coat Drive.

“A record number of winter coats were collected during the annual coat drive this year,” noted Joanne Champagne, Radiology Technologist and coat drive coordinator at the hospital. “Coats in all types and sizes, and even some hats and gloves were among the donations.”

Alyssa Robinson, whose mother Cheryl is a nurse at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital, joined the coat drive effort with a team of girls that she is active in, the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls, Spencer Assembly No. 67. “I could not imagine what it would be like to have to face winter without a warm coat,” said Robinson. “When my mom told my sister and I about the coat drive, we wanted to do more than just donate a coat from our closet.”

So together with their friends they worked diligently to team up with hospital employees to collect coats and help out.

Throughout the winter, a bin located near the elevator at the hospital was filled, and monthly the coats were delivered to the Trinity Episcopal Church’s Jubilee Cupboard in Ware, where they were distributed. According to Cheryl Vaugh, the Jubilee Cupboard coordinator, “ever since 1983, Ware’s only food and clothing pantry has been a good barometer of our local economy and for those falling through the cracks. This year, the cupboard served more individuals than ever before in its history, as the gap in our social services safety net is growing wider. The cupboard served between 200 and 300 local seniors and families with hungry stomachs and cold bodies, a telltale sign that working families are finding it harder to make ends meet. We are grateful for the help and support of the Baystate Mary Lane Hospital employees.”

Said Joan Joan Sullivan, president, Baystate Mary Lane Hospital and Baystate Health Eastern Region, “we were very pleased with the generosity of our employees and the success of this annual coat drive. Our dedicated team of health care professionals consistently deliver high quality patient care and also demonstrate their support for the community that that they live and work in.

“This winter alone, in addition to the annual coat drive, our employees participated in several hospital sponsored food drives, the Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign, and the Ware Christmas for Kids Campaign,” she continued. “Our employees also donated more than $11,000 to the United the United Way of Hampshire County, which invests funds that maximize the impact of programs and services for members of our local community,” said Sullivan.

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