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Pioneer collects donations for ‘Family Cheer’

NORTHFIELD — The holidays are here and the local high school community is once again thinking of what it can do for the less fortunate.

The Pioneer Valley Regional School is collecting donations for its Family Cheer program.

Formerly called Holiday Cheer, the program was rebranded this year after one school parent mistakenly referred to it as “family cheer,” and the name stuck.

According to the school, 28 percent of students qualify for free or discounted lunch, because of their families’ low income.

The program started in 2001, so that families struggling to make ends meet would have a little extra for presents.

After the economic downturn in 2008, the program’s focus has grown to include more than just gifts. It now provides assistance with rent, phone bills, gasoline and heating fuel and other utility costs.

Through the years, the program has helped 141 people in 43 families.

The school seeks donations of money, grocery store or gas station gift certificates, movie tickets, gift cards to area businesses and more.

If you would like to contribute, checks payable to PVRS Family Cheer 2013, or other donations, may be sent to Pioneer Valley Regional School, 97 F. Sumner Turner Road, Northfield, MA 01360.

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