HOLYOKE — The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke will help distribute gifts to 122 children and their families today, Dec. 18. Nearly 385 employees of Valley Health Systems Inc., which includes Holyoke Medical Center, Holyoke Medical Group, Holyoke VNA Hospice Life Care, and River Valley Counseling Center, donated all the gifts.
“We are incredibly appreciative of the generosity expressed by the employees of Valley Health Systems. We have partnered with the hospital and affiliate agencies for four years, and every year they help make the holiday season for the children and families involved,” said Eileen Cavanaugh, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke. “Some of these families would not be able to celebrate the holidays at all if it were not for the amazing people who have gone above and beyond fighting the pandemic. They truly are heroes.”
In past years, Valley Health Systems employees would deliver the gifts to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke and have a small celebration, sometimes with some of the families receiving the gifts. Last year, the celebration also included musical entertainment from Holyoke High School. Due to COVID-19, all the presents this year will be collected at Holyoke Medical Center and delivered to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke without additional celebrations.
“We love this partnership with the Boys & Girls Club and are so excited to be able to help so many families,” said Kathleen Anderson, director of Community Benefits at Holyoke Medical Center. “This year, we asked staff to concentrate on getting each child a toy or game, a hat and mittens or boots, a book, and some arts and crafts. Because food insecurity is such a challenge for so many families right now, each family will receive a gift certificate at a local grocery store to be able to purchase their holiday dinner or whatever they need for their family.”