United Way hosts “Hats off to Our Heroes” to honor local supporters

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – United Way of Pioneer Valley honored the hundreds of people who make the organization work on Wednesday.

During the “Hats off to Our Heroes” luncheon at the Sheraton Springfield, Executive Director Paul Mina said their services have more impact than ever.

Thousands of people depend on food pantries supported by United Way. The United Way also operates a suicide prevention lifeline which took 48,000 calls last year.

“The whole idea is to improve the quality of life for the people who live and work here,” Mina explained. “And the United Way has always been the most prolific funder of their progress.”

And organizations like the Collaborative for Educational Services support many students who find themselves lagging in their studies.

“We run an after school program for youths grades 6 through 8,” Jim Ostrout told 22News, “and we help them achieve academic and social success.”

Virginia Dillon of the Homework House said, “We provide after school tutoring and monitoring for elementary school students in Holyoke, and we also run a five-week literacy intensive summer program.”

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno joined the salute to the agencies that collectively provide a lifeline to thousands of western Massachusetts families.

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