| G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD – The $15,000 raised by Pride Stores makes a considerable difference in the lives of local children in foster care, according to Jim Williams, the program director for children’s programming at the Center for Human Development (CHD).
Williams was at the presentation of a check for $15,000 to MaryAnne’s Kids on Dec. 28 at the Pride Stores corporate offices.
He said the CEO of Pride, Robert Bolduc, has been involves with raising funds for the program for the past 15 years.
“Bob’s been doing it for years. He has been absolutely amazing,” William said.
Williams explained that while the funds given to foster parents cover some of the expenses of foster children, there are many activities for which it cannot pay.
MaryAnne’s Kids was established in 2000 in memory of MaryAnne Sadak-Eklof, who cared for many foster children before passing away in 1999.
The MaryAnne’s Kids Fund was created in 2000 in her memory by her sister Eva Santaniello.
Santaniello died in 2007 and MaryAnne’s Kids is administered through CHD’s Children and Families programs.
Activities such as attending summer camp programs, driver’s education classes, formal attire for proms and graduations and GED courses are paid for through funding through MaryAnne’s Kids, Williams said. He likened the program to “being a good grandparent.”
Currently there are 110 children in foster care every day locally with 50 more children in outreach programs, Williams explained.
Bolduc said CHD does a “terrific job” with the program. “I know every penny is well spent,” he said.
“It’s a good program and you can’t help wanting to help,” Bolduc added.