|By G. Michael Dobbs
The sale of a variety of gift items available through the Brightside Angels campaign helps area children.
Reminder Publications submitted photo
SPRINGFIELD – For the 29th year, people in Western Massachusetts are being asked to help children and families during the holiday season through the Brightside Angel Campaign.
The sale of a variety of gift items helps fund programs at Brightside for Families and Children. The program, which offers counseling and other services to strengthen families, currently helps more than 550 children, their siblings and families in their homes and schools.
“The need for a program like Brightside never goes away,” Daniel Moen, president and chief executive officer of Sisters of Providence Health Services said at a press conference on Nov. 20 at Mercy Medical Center. He noted the first mission of the Sisters of Providence more than a century ago as to care for children.
He added there is a waiting list for children seeking the counseling services.
“Families are offered a range of in-home counseling and tangible support including resource coordination, parenting skills development, behavioral technique instruction, mentoring and many other tailored services that assure the family is strengthened,” Brenda McCormick, vice president of Fund Development, Sisters of Providence Health System, said. “Brightside becomes partners with families and can collaborate over an extended period to assure that real change occurs.”
Last year with the assistance of O’Connell’s Convenience Plus stores, nearly $60,000 was raised, according to Suzanne Boniface the campaign’s funding development consultant. Of that sum, $35,000 was contributed by O’Connell’s Convenience Plus stores through the sale of paper angel Christmas ornaments.
Boniface said there are several new items thing year including an angel key chain, wine bottle stopper and magnets, as well as a number of jewelry items such as a Brightside Angel bangle bracelet, necklace, pendant on a cord and pin. She noted a new porcelain angle ornament will be available.
The Brightside Angel items will be available at the Mercy Medical Center gift shop, Kate Grey in Longmeadow, Pat Parker Flowers in Springfield, the Electric Café in Holyoke and the Genesis Spiritual Center in Westfield. Students at Holyoke Catholic High School will also be selling them.
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