| Chris Maza
GREATER SPRINGFIELD – It’s nearly time to put on that cocktail dress or pull out that extra-stylish pocket square and step out in style for a good cause.
Angels Take Flight, the nonprofit that provides luggage and other items to children transitioning to or from foster care placements, hospitals, homeless or domestic violence shelters, and other safe homes, will host its first-ever cocktail party at Center Square Grill as its fall fundraiser.
The party, supporting the organization that was founded in Springfield and recently expanded with an office in Virginia, will take place at the eatery located at 84 Center Square, East Longmeadow, Nov. 26 from 3:30 to 6 p.m.
Attendees will have the opportunity to meet and mingle with other supporters as well as representatives of the agencies for which Angels Take Flight provides luggage as well as toys for the holiday season.
“We decided to have this fundraiser as something different. We really think it will be a lot of fun and different from what we have done in the past,” Angels Take Flight President and Founder Tamara Blake told Reminder Publications. “We recently had our first fundraising event in Virginia and it was held at a local, top-rated restaurant in Arlington. It was amazing, the restaurant was supportive, and we really hope to replicate that. We loved that people had an opportunity to connect and network. They were actually able to talk, which is what we loved. We want to replicate that. We really see a lot of potential in this event for supporters to connect and talk with agencies we work closely with.”
Blake added Center Square Grill would be a “great venue” for the fundraiser.
“It is a local business and they are located conveniently for many of the people we expect to attend,” she said. “They were supportive throughout our search for a venue and of course, they offer wonderful food and ambiance.”
Angels Take Flight took off in September 2010 and now more than six years later, has made significant strides, according to Blake.
“Probably our biggest gains have been in becoming recognized as a trusted resource within the community. We have seen an increase in word of mouth referrals and agencies report loving to work with us based on the instantaneous ability to provide items to transitioning youth,” she said. “We love that we receive requests from individuals and agencies approach us regarding running a drive for us and collecting items.”
She added the organization’s message has also started to strike a chord with the younger generations.
“For example, one of our biggest supporters is little Sofia, who is 9 but has been involved since she has been about 4,” she said. “She has been involved in so many ways. She has modeled for us for our photographs to promote the organization, she held a lemonade stand for the proceeds going to us, and she recently initiated a drive at her school. She collected many toiletry items for children who enter into safe homes, shelters, and foster care and presented all of the items to us at our 2016 5K. We love her, and all the children who volunteer for us, so much.”
Blake said he hoped to see approximately 50 people at the cocktail party. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at http://angelstakeflightcocktailparty.bpt.me. The ticket price includes appetizers. Raffle prize donations are also still sought for this event from the public and local businesses alike. Donations would be publicly acknowledged on the Angels Take Flight social media outlets.
In addition to the cocktail party, Angels Take Flight is in the midst of its holiday toy collection season. Those with toy or luggage donations can contact the organization at 426-8801 or AngelsTakeFlight@ymail.com or visit http://angelstakeflight.org/get-involved/donate. Fleet Feet Sports on Bliss Street in Longmeadow has also volunteered to act as a donation collection site.
Those interested in a more hands-on role with Angels Take Flight can find more information at http://angelstakeflight.org/get-involved/volunteer.