Regional Notebook: March 2, 2022


  • Dakin Humane Society in Springfield transported four dogs from the Windham County Humane Society in Brattleboro, Vermont last week. The dogs are among 21 that were being mistreated and were taken in by the Vermont shelter. Contributed Photo/Abigayle Bogdan

Published: 3/3/2022 3:54:09 PM
Local federation joins $16M national campaign to support Ukrainian Jews

SPRINGFIELD — In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts has joined the Jewish Federations of North America’s $16 million emergency campaign to provide humanitarian assistance to vulnerable Jewish populations living in Ukraine.

Money will be allocated through the Jewish Federations of North America’s core partners — The Jewish Agency for Israel, the Joint Distribution Committee and World ORT — and others who are on the ground in Ukraine, according to a Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts press release. The funding will support urgent needs of vulnerable Jewish populations, community security, temporary housing for displaced persons, emergency needs in Jewish schools and aliyah-related assistance.

“We were built for moments like this, for the daily needs of our community and for support of Jews in need wherever they live,” Nora Gorenstein, interim executive director of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, said in the release. “When one Jewish community is under attack, it is our responsibility and our honor to be able to stand up and support each other. We urge all members of our community to give toward the efforts of our overseas partners.”

Donations can be made online at

Central West Justice Center gets new director

WORCESTER — Community Legal Aid, a nonprofit that provides free legal services to low-income and elderly residents of central and western Massachusetts, has named Kristen Williams as director of its affiliate organization, the Central West Justice Center.

According to a Community Legal Aid press release, Williams replaces Leticia Medina-Richman, who has been named the nonprofit’s chief operating officer.

As director, Williams will oversee a team of lawyers, paralegals and staff that assist low-income and elderly clients with immigration, housing and employment benefits in the five counties of central and western Massachusetts, the release states. The Central West Justice Center has offices in Worcester, Northampton, Springfield and Pittsfield.

Williams, a Philadelphia native who now lives in Connecticut, joined Community Legal Aid in 2014 as an AmeriCorps attorney representing tenants in eviction cases. According to the release, she then became a staff attorney representing clients in public benefits cases, including Social Security, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and unemployment.

Dakin Humane Society helps Vermont shelter in large dog rescue

SPRINGFIELD — Dakin Humane Society was one of several animal welfare organizations that responded to help a Vermont humane society that had received 21 dogs that had been mistreated.

The dogs — 16 of which are Treeing Walker Coonhounds, with the remaining five being mixed breeds — were tied up outside with inadequate shelter, their water bowls had frozen and there was no food in sight, according to the Windham County Humane Society, the organization that took in the animals. According to a Dakin Humane Society press release, most of the dogs are in very poor condition, malnourished and have medical issues.

Last week, Dakin staff transported four of the dogs back to their Springfield facility to lessen the burden being faced by the Windham County Humane Society. Maya Richmond, executive director of the Windham County Humane Society, noted it typically costs about $500 to bring a dog into the shelter, which could include an evaluation, food, medication, spay/neuter surgery, transportation and cleaning. Dogs in poor condition can cost double that amount, which prompted the humane society to seek help.

“Dakin is here for tough cases like this,” Development and Marketing Director Stacey Price said in the release. “These dogs will need medical care, rehabilitation and recovery time, and we can offer that. The collective effort of multiple animal welfare groups coming together saves lives and we’re pleased to be able to provide that by helping our partners at Windham County Humane Society.”

The four dogs being cared for by Dakin are being evaluated and receiving medical attention. They are not yet available for adoption.

NAMI holding 11th annual Art and Poetry Show

AGAWAM – The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Western Massachusetts will hold an opening reception for its 11th annual Art and Poetry Show, featuring the work of artists and poets living with mental health conditions, on Tuesday, April 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Chicopee Public Library, located at 449 Front St.

The reception, and parking adjacent to the library, are free. According to a NAMI press release, the show will feature artwork and poetry for sale, with proceeds going to the artists. Complimentary refreshments will be served.

The exhibit runs through the end of April.


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