$4K grant to support training materials, get-together for Village Neighbors volunteers

  • Village Neighbors Treasurer Don Stone, of Wendell, left, delivers a gift bag to Adrian Montagno and Heidi Steiner in Wendell. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 4/6/2021 5:40:45 PM

SHUTESBURY — The nonprofit providing services to people ages 60 and older in Shutesbury, Leverett, New Salem and Wendell will use a Massachusetts Service Alliance grant to help train new volunteers and build its membership base.

Village Neighbors will be reimbursed the $4,000 it takes to develop training materials and to host a socially-distanced get-together at the Leverett Village Co-op on Sunday, April 11, to honor volunteers with music, free T-shirts and other festivities.

The grant will help Village Neighbors improve the quality and quantity of online programming for its volunteers and members. The organization will update its volunteer training curriculum, develop an ongoing schedule of new trainings, and create more opportunities for virtual social connection, learning and entertainment for members.

Treasurer Don Stone said he and board member Miriam DeFant applied for the COVID-19 Resiliency Fund grant through the Massachusetts Service Alliance, a private nonprofit established in 1991. Stone said the money must be spent by April 30 — the end of the grant period, which began Oct. 1.

Stone also said some money will be used to help distribute Village Neighbors’ bimonthly newsletter, which is typically emailed to members. Village Neighbors has about 120 members and nearly 100 volunteers.

“With this extra support, we’ve printed it up and sent it out to a wider audience,” he explained.

Village Neighbors, launched in October 2018, typically provides seniors with rides to medical appointments, grocery shopping and social events. Additionally, volunteers help members register to vote, as well as visit members in their homes to help with cooking, moving furniture, changing smoke alarm batteries and other tasks.

Anyone interested in training or in need of help accessing available classes and events should call 413-345-6894 or email generalinfo@villageneighbors.org. Information about membership can be found at bit.ly/3rvW7nm.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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