GREATER SPRINGFIELD -- The March of Dimes Western Massachusetts Chapter has no intention of slowing fundraising efforts just because of the economic recession; rather, they're striving for a record-breaking year.
The foundation, which works to improve infant health through research, grants and community advocacy, hopes to raise a record, $48,000 at its annual Signature Chefs Auction on Nov. 1 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke.
"We [raised] $41,000 last year so I decided to set the bar high," Division Director Kristin Introvigne said, adding that the benefits of infant health outweigh any cost.
Chef and local business participation is at its highest this year, she noted, with 12 restaurants on board, including Spoleto Restaurant, Caf Lebanon, Storrowton Tavern, Log Cabin and Delaney House and Tavern on the Hill.
The night will also include a silent and live auction as well as the presentation of the Charitable Leadership Award to Springfield Falcons Charities and their Owner and General Manager Bruce Landon.
"They just seemed like a natural nominee [for the award]," Introvigne said of the Falcons. "They've done so much for community organizations in Western Massachusetts, not just the March of Dimes."
Landon credited all those involved with the Falcons organization. "We are very humbled at being selected to receive this award . It's not just me, it's really our organization and all those who work with me," he said.
"Our whole goal with Springfield Falcons Charities is to give back to the kids. Having two healthy kids of my own and healthy grandchildren, you learn to be really grateful for what you have," Landon added.
Damon Markiewicz, manager of media relations for the Falcons and also a member of the March of Dimes board of directors, called the award "an honor." A premie himself, Markiewicz said he and the Falcons are dedicated to helping the foundation in any way they can.
Tickets are still available for the Signature Chefs Auction at the Log Cabin, 500 Easthampton Rd., Holyoke on Nov. 1 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $100 each and sponsorships are available for $1,500.
Silent and live auction items include vacation packages, signed sports memorabilia from the Falcons, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, Columbus Blue Jackets, New England Patriots and Boston Red Sox, free dinners from participating restaurants, jewelry and toys courtesy of Hasbro.
For more information or for tickets, visit http://www.marchofdimes.com/massachusetts/37739_65919.asp or contact Introvigne at 575-1070 or KIntrovigne@marchofdimes.com.
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