By Chris Maza|
SPRINGFIELD – Angels Take Flight, the nonprofit organization that strives to make life better for at-risk children, wants to put a smile on your face, too.
The organizations’ second annual comedy showcase will take place on Nov. 30 with all proceeds going to help support children in local communities undergoing difficult transitions with a primary goal of providing luggage and other items to children living in foster care, shelters or other group home settings.
Angels Take Flight’s mission statement explains that the group “provides children with essential items to help restore a sense of lost hope and confidence they often experience due to the trauma caused when major transitions occur. Instead of departing place to place with their belongings in a garbage bag, Angels Take Flight gives these children a piece of luggage which they can keep for their move.
“Our goal is to give children their wings,” it continues.
The show will take place at Masonic Lodge in East Longmeadow, 43 Chestnut St., at 7 p.m. with doors opening at 6:15 p.m. Tickets are $30 and include a meal provided by Nino’s Pizzeria in Springfield.
“Last year [the event] was received very, very well. The whole night was very positive. You could feel a very positive energy in the room and we’re hoping to recreate that,” Tamara Blake, founder of Angels Take Flight, said. “We want to help children with transitions in their life and make those transitions positive, so we wanted to bring positivity to the community. We thought a comedy show was the right way to go to instill that positivity.”
This year’s comedy show will feature two acts from performers those who attended last year’s event will be familiar with – Darryl Rosemond and Marcellino Hill.
“Two of our comedians from last year are back and we’re very excited about that,” Blake said.
Rosemond, a Springfield native who graduated from Springfield Technical High School, has performed on big stages, appearing on the Def Comedy Tour and opening for the likes of Cedric the Entertainer, Jamie Foxx and Sommore. Hill is a Connecticut resident who was recently part of the Funny Bone Comedy’ Club’s Last Comedian Standing competition.
New to the lineup this year is Darren Rivera, part of the Three Amigos of Comedy, which, according to their Facebook page, is “a multicultural stand-up trio that promotes diversity through laughter.”
In addition to food and laughs, Angels Take Flight will have a 50/50 raffle and will be accepting toy donations.
“We really want to beat the number of toys we raised last year, which was over 2,000 toys,” Blake said.
Toys are collected by the nonprofit, and then distributed throughout the community during the holidays. Those in need may contact Angels Take Flight to receive assistance.
“For our toy drive, we don’t deny anybody. We’re not asking for W-2s or anything like that,” Blake said. “We think if someone is taking the time to apply, they should get some, and the same goes for the luggage.”
The comedy showcase is one of several fundraising avenues taken throughout the year; other programs have included a 5k road race, a Christmas in July toy fundraiser and a winter toy drive.
“It’s really important to fundraise throughout the whole year,” Blake said. “While it’s wonderful that people think about donating during he holidays, it’s important to do it year round because that’s how you’ll make the most impact.”
Blake said she has seen rapid growth in the number of people her organization has been able to reach, as well as the number of people who want to help out.
“Members of our community are really starting to recognize Angels Take Flight as a nonprofit,” she said. “Recently we had a fashion show thrown in our name where we received the proceeds, which was a blessing.”
Angels Take Flight is also expanding its contributions to the community. In addition to the distribution of luggage and toys, the organization will be offering a scholarship opportunity that Blake explained will benefit “a teenager in transition from high school to college.”
“We’re going to be having a scholarship breakfast, probably in June, to unveil the recipient and we hope to do that every year,” she said.
To help get information regarding new and existing initiatives, Angels Take Flight has launched a new, updated website, www.angelstakeflight.org.
“We think it’s really representative of us as an organization,” Blake said of the new site.
Information regarding this month’s comedy showcase and other upcoming events, as well as forms for toy and luggage requests are available on the site. Those interested in donating or acting as a sponsor for an event, may also visit the site for details.
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