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Warm The Children

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Norma Lovett’s golf tournament goes a long way to keeping local kids warm

  • Norma Lovett stands in her office at the Franklin County Jail. Lovett organizes the sheriff’s office golf tournament that is Warm the Children’s biggest fundraiser.<br/>Recorder/Paul Franz

    Norma Lovett stands in her office at the Franklin County Jail. Lovett organizes the sheriff’s office golf tournament that is Warm the Children’s biggest fundraiser.
    Recorder/Paul Franz

  • Norma Lovett stands in her office at the Franklin County Jail. Lovett organizes the sheriff’s office golf tournament that is Warm the Children’s biggest fundraiser.<br/>Recorder/Paul Franz

GREENFIELD — For nine years, golfers have teed off at the Country Club of Greenfield in May as part of the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office golf tournament to raise money for Warm the Children.

As golfers compete across 18 holes, one woman has been working behind the scenes to make sure the annual tournament runs smoothly and raises money so that local children can have coats, mittens and scarves in the long cold winter months.

Norma Lovett of Greenfield organizes the competition, finds the sponsors and signs up the golfers. And each May, the sheriff’s office brings in an average of $7,000 in the annual golf tournament.

About 144 golfers from all walks of life turn out to raise money. The tournament sells out each year with crowds lining the course.

“It’s a wonderful cause,” said Sheriff Christopher Donelan. “It’s money that stays in our community.”

The competition is meaningful to the department, Donelan said, because some of the children who receive warm coats are the children of inmates.

The sheriff’s office donates the money to Warm the Children, a program which has been run by The Recorder for 26 years, raising money to buy clothes for about 1,000 needy children in the community each year.

The tournament raises the most money for Warm the Children each year.

The annual golf tournament first sprang from a spaghetti supper.

Lovett, who has worked for 19 years at the county jail as an administrative assistant, said she first saw an advertisement in The Recorder looking for donations.

To help out local children, the sheriff’s office started hosting a spaghetti supper. The sheriff’s office later switched to hosting a golf tournament because it brought in more money.

“We’ve always been a big supporter of Warm the Children,” Lovett said. “It’s a great feeling to know we’re one of the biggest supporters and it all goes to the kids.”

But while Lovett organizes the tournament in the spring, she also volunteers as a shopper at the Warm the Children store in the fall, where she helps families pick out coats. The clothing is purchased and the store organized by Wilson’s Department Store.

“It’s great to see the faces of some of the kids,” Lovett said. “When the little kids come in, you see how happy they are because they are getting a new coat. You know they will be warm for the winter.”

For its 10th year, the sheriff’s office is upping the ante. It wants to raise $10,000 this coming spring.

“It’s for the kids. I’d hate to see any little kid that doesn’t have a coat,” said Lovett.

To donate to Warm the Children, send a check to: Warm the Children, c/o The Recorder, P.O. Box 1367, Greenfield, MA 01302. New clothing may also be dropped off at The Recorder, 14 Hope St., any time during the year.

The Recorder will carry weekly stories about the progress of this year’s drive and the people helping and helped.

If you have stories to tell about Warm The Children or plan fundraisers, let us know. Call 772-0261, ext 245, or write to: kmckiernan@recorder.com

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