SOUTHAMPTON – Mayors from across Western Massachusetts hit the links for a good cause when they took part in the inaugural Mayors Cup.
The event was hosted on Aug. 15 at the Southampton Country Club to benefit The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. Town officials and politicians from Chicopee, Easthampton, Greenfield, Holyoke, North Adams, Northampton, Pittsfield, West Springfield and Westfield took part.
Mayor Edward Sullivan of West Side organized the event that raised $7,400 for the cause. The team from Greenfield won the Mayors Cup trophy.
“I was amazed that West Springfield and Mayor Sullivan would take this on out of all the important issues that we’re facing in this society, that he would rally his colleagues, the other mayors of the cities and towns of Western Massachusetts region and say ‘Hey, let’s do something about it,’” Andrew Morehouse, executive director of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, said. “I’m grateful. We completely rely on community support to carry out our mission. About 60 percent of our budget every year comes from donations from individuals and businesses and faith groups, social groups and the like.”
Morehouse continued, “Without this kind of outpouring of support, we couldn’t function and therefore the people we support who rely on the food that we distribute through the food bank to all the pantries and meal sites would have nowhere to turn.”
Morehouse discussed the need for the food bank. He explained that more than 200,000 people in Western Massachusetts rely on “emergency food” to feed their families. “For every dollar donated to the Food Bank, we are able to provide up to $9 worth of food,” he added.
“It’s an excellent opportunity for cities to come together to demonstrate concern. We always like to support the charitable causes other communities support,” Mayor Richard Kos of Chicopee said.
Sullivan said, “I’m really pleased. I’m hoping it will be an annual event. It’s a very important cause. As we sit here people are indulging in food, but there are many people that go hungry every day. It was great to have the mayors come out as a unified front to support Hunger Action Month.”
Mayor William Martin of Greenfield said, “It’s a great tournament, a great idea by Mayor Sullivan [that] brings the mayors and the people of the municipalities together for a good cause. We certainly plan to be here again next year. The entire day was a wonderful time.”
As for taking home the trophy, Martin said, “It’s a surprise in a way, but we have some great golfers here in Greenfield.”
State Rep. Michael Finn won $480 from the 50-50 raffle, which he donated right back to the Food Bank. When asked why it was important to give the money back, Finn responded, “Because we’re here for a charity. It was great to win, but at the end of the day the donation is going to do more good at the food bank than it’s going to do for me.”
Finn said, “There are so many people in Western Massachusetts that need help and any little thing that you can to be able to help somebody out is worth the effort. It makes you feel good. That’s kind of why I’m involved in politics, helping people out.”
Michael Richard, interim superintendent of schools for the West Springfield Public School District, said, “It’s a great cause that touches all of these communities. I’m glad that the mayor [Sullivan] invited me to be a part.”
State Sen. James Welch said, “It was a great event, a very positive event for an organization that does a great amount of work here in Western Massachusetts and the Pioneer Valley. We know them quite well because we work hand-in-hand with them as legislators. I was happy to participate.”
Morehouse encouraged the public to support Hunger Action Month this September. For more information about the event, visit http://feedingamerica.org
To learn about The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, go to www.foodbankwma.org