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Sheriff’s office golf tourney driving force behind Warm the Children

GREENFIELD e_SEmD Each year, groups and individuals donate money, hats, mittens and scarves to needy children.

The Recorder’s annual Warm the Children clothes drive has been raising close to $80,000 for at least the past five years to do so – it has raised thousands of dollars for more than 25 years and has served about 1,000 each year.

This past May was the eighth time the Franklin County sheriff’s office held its annual Warm the Children golf tournament fundraiser at the Greenfield County Club.

“I’ve been doing it for two years,” said Sheriff Christopher Donelan. “I didn’t start it, but I intend to continue it.”

Donelan said the tournament, which hosted 36 teams this year, raises about $7,000 each year.

“It’s a way for our employees, folks throughout the county and a few folks from Hampshire and Hampden counties to give back and have fun at the same time,” he said. “We all spend time together for a good cause.”

Donelan said the sheriff’s office organizes several fundraisers throughout the year and gives to local charities.

“This one is special,” he said. “These children start life without a lot of opportunity,” he said. “It’s not a stretch to think a good number of those children served are the children of some of the guys in here.”

He said if his employees and others in the community can make those children’s lives a little more comfortable and give them a little more opportunity, then that’s wonderful.

Donelan said some of his staff organizes the golf tournament each year and it has become a seamless task.

“And it’s a great mix of excellent and horrible golfers – all having fun,” he said.

When asked which one he is, he laughed and said, “Horrible!”

Donelan said he and the other participants look forward to the tournament each year.

“After a long winter, it’s a nice sign that summer is on its way,” he said.

Donelan said it costs $300 to put a four-person team together.

The Warm the Children campaign involves The Recorder raising the money, Wilson’s Department Store ordering the clothing and organizing the volunteers, and Killeen Perras, who is a community coordinator at the Community Action anti-poverty agency, finding the children who need help by contacting social service agencies, schools and churches throughout the county.

Recorder Publisher Dennis Skoglund and Recorder Advertising Director Rich Fahey team up with two others each year to play in the golf tournament.

“It’s one of the best causes,” said Skoglund.

The Recorder begins raising money in September for the following year. The fundraiser runs through January, but money trickles in throughout the year.

In July, The Recorder tells Wilson’s how much it has to spend and tells Perras how many children may be served.

For more information about the sheriff’s golf tournament, call Norma Lovett at the sheriff’s office at 413-774-4014, ext. 2151.

To donate to Warm the Children, send checks to: The Recorder, Warm the Children, P.O. Box 1367, Greenfield, MA 01302 or drop off new coats, hats, mittens or scarves to The Recorder at 14 Hope St. in Greenfield.

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