Regional Notebook: March 4, 2024

The 2023 Children’s Miracle Network Champion for Baystate Children’s Hospital, Ava O’Connor, shares her story with the Kellogg Krew during last year’s Radiothon.

The 2023 Children’s Miracle Network Champion for Baystate Children’s Hospital, Ava O’Connor, shares her story with the Kellogg Krew during last year’s Radiothon. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Marv Kelley, left, is congratulated on his AARP recognition by Trevor Boeding, program director for both the Rides for Health and Ombudsman programs with LifePath.

Marv Kelley, left, is congratulated on his AARP recognition by Trevor Boeding, program director for both the Rides for Health and Ombudsman programs with LifePath. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Published: 03-03-2024 2:01 PM

Applications open for Habitat for Humanity Projects

Applications are available for two new Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity projects: a one-bedroom, one-story adaptable home in Greenfield and a three-bedroom, two-story home in Northampton.

The application deadline is Wednesday April 3. Eligible applicants will have incomes up to 60% of area median income (adjusted for family size).

People who are interested in submitting an application are invited to attend an information session to learn more.


■In-person info session on Saturday, March 9, at 10 a.m. at Forbes Library.

■Online session Wednesday, March 27, at 6:30 p.m. Register to receive a Zoom link.


■In-person info session on Saturday, March 23, at 10 a.m. at Greenfield Public Library.

During the information session, potential applicants will learn about Habitat for Humanity’s selection criteria and how to prepare a complete application. The criteria include housing need, ability to make mortgage payments and willingness to partner with Habitat, such as by participating in the construction of the home and other Habitat projects.

Homes will be all-electric and built to ENERGY STAR standards. They are also designed to be wheelchair-accessible. The Greenfield home will be adaptable for someone with mobility impairments.

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For more information or to register for a session, visit

$2K scholarships available in 2024

HADLEY — UMassFive College Federal Credit Union has announced the Pioneer Valley Chapter of the Massachusetts Cooperative Credit Union Association’s Scholarship Program is accepting applicants for eight $2,000 scholarships.

To apply, students must be a member of UMassFive or have a parent/guardian who is a member of the credit union. Students must be high school seniors who will be enrolled in an undergraduate college degree program during the 2024-2025 academic year.

Completed applications must be received or postmarked by March 8. Applications may be dropped off at a UMassFive branch, emailed to or mailed to UMassFive College FCU Attn: Cait Murray, P.O. Box 1060, Hadley, MA 01035.

For more details and to access the application, visit

Annual radiothon to benefit Baystate Children’s Hospital

SPRINGFIELD — The public is invited to the 23rd annual 94.7 WMAS Radiothon to benefit Baystate Children’s Hospital at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on March 5 and 6.

Among the many stories shared during the radiothon will be that of Ryan Caney, who at 3 years old developed Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare nervous system disorder that causes muscle weakness and sometimes paralysis. Quick diagnosis and treatment at the Sadowsky Family Pediatric Emergency Department at Baystate Medical Center helped Ryan make a full recovery. Listeners will also hear about Evie Dedrick, who was born prematurely and spent time in the Davis NICU at Baystate Medical Center and then relied on care for respiratory challenges at Baystate Children’s Hospital.

“We really look forward to this event each year and the difference it makes for these kids in our community,” 94.7 WMAS’ Chris Kellogg said in a statement. “Being able to share these inspirational stories is a reminder of how important it is to support our local children’s hospital.”

Donating is possible by phone or text as well as online. Listeners can call to donate via the Lia Auto Group Phone Bank at 413-794-1111 on March 5 and 6 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. or visit

Suicide Loss Support Group meets monthly

GREENFIELD — The Greenfield Suicide Loss Support Group, as part of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, meets on the second Tuesday of each month from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Mohawk Mall, 91 Main St., in the Mental Health Association’s suite on the first floor (across from Zuttermeister Chiropractic). The group provides support and resources for individuals who have experienced the loss of a loved one to suicide.

Volunteers needed for restorative justice program

The Northwestern District Attorney’s Office partners with Communities for Restorative Justice (C4RJ), a community-based restorative justice organization, to divert certain cases out of the court system and into a restorative justice process. The organization is now seeking new volunteers.

The partnership has resulted in positive outcomes in cases in which a defendant/responsible party has been willing to admit to causing harm. In these cases, victims/impacted parties have had the opportunity to participate in determining how the harm can be repaired, including through community service, meaningful apologies, restitution and other restorative practices. Ultimately, at the conclusion of the restorative process, the criminal case is dismissed.

Communities for Restorative Justice provides significant training to prepare volunteers to work with restorative justice principles and the C4RJ process. Anyone interested is invited to email C4RJ Program Director Yael Yaaloz at More information can be found at

AARP honors LifePath volunteer

GREENFIELD — Marvin “Marv” Kelley, a LifePath Rides for Health volunteer and Citizens Advisory Board member, was recently recognized by AARP as a nominee for the 2023 Andrus Award for Community Service, though Paul Glass and Charles D. Evans of Falmouth were ultimately the recipients. It is the association’s most prestigious state volunteer award for community service.

The Rides for Health program launched in 2015, with Kelley as one of the original volunteers. The program trains volunteers to provide escorted transportation to older adults who otherwise would struggle to get to their medical appointments. Each volunteer is matched with one or more clients and the pairs work out their own appointment details.

According to Program Director Trevor Boeding, Kelley began with two trips the first month, and since then he has helped 39 individuals get to medical appointments totaling more than 334 round trips that equal 12,168 miles. Currently, Kelley serves 10 clients and is requesting more.

“Marv is always ready to help, and enjoys driving longer distances with his clients to Boston, Gardner and Springfield from our home area of Franklin County and the North Quabbin,” Boeding said in a statement. “He is also invested in the program itself, sometimes making and implementing suggestions for improvement.”

Kelley also serves as chair of LifePath’s Citizens Advisory Board, a group that provides direction and guidance for LifePath’s program work and allocation of federal Older Americans Act funds.

“Marv demonstrates a level of commitment to helping meet the needs of the area’s older adults that is certainly worthy of recognition,” Lynne Feldman, director of community services for LifePath, said in a statement. “The dedication of our volunteers like Marv is humbling and inspiring to see. We thank AARP for its work to highlight the contributions made by volunteers.”

Rotary District offers scholarships

Rotary District 7890 of northern Connecticut and western Massachusetts is accepting applications for a $30,000 scholarship to study at the master’s level outside the United States in a Rotary country in one of the Rotary’s Areas of Focus.

Candidates must have permanent residency in one of the towns covered by Rotary District 7890. Eligibility criteria and the application are available at under Dunn Endowed Scholarship.

Rotary District 7890 is also accepting applications for a two-year, fully paid, graduate-level Peace Scholarship program by the Rotary Foundation for candidates who are working preferably in the humanitarian service-related areas for at least three years. The Rotary Foundation will place the selected candidates in one of the seven designated universities. Details are available at

Family members of current and former Rotarians are not eligible to apply.

Questions may be directed to or

Local Farm Awards see record number of applications

Following a year of enormous challenges, a record 199 western Massachusetts farmers recently applied for infrastructure improvement grants from the Local Farmer Awards, a program of the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation. This represents a 21% increase in applications from last year.

“Farmers are struggling” Harold Grinspoon, founder of the Local Farmer Awards, said in a statement. “They work so hard and never ask for help. These capital improvements for their farms can help them continue to support our economy and food supply.”

Three new funders helped increase the available funding for the projects. Three County Fair, Andrew Associates and PeoplesBank Workplace Giving Campaign joined the Harold Grinspoon Charitable Foundation, Big Y and the Massachusetts Society for Promoting Agriculture, the program’s partners, along with a team of 15 funders committed to supporting local farms.

“Forty-six of the farms are first-time applicants,” Cari Carpenter, director of the program, said in a statement. “The project descriptions farmers submitted are excellent. Our reviewers will have their hands full selecting the best among them.”

The Local Farmer Awards program is in its 10th year of helping local farms grow. To date, the program has helped 266 local farms with 572 infrastructure projects totaling $1.28 million.

Food resource hotline available to those in need

Individuals and families in need of immediate access to food resources are advised to call Project Bread’s toll-free FoodSource Hotline at 1-800-645-8333.

Assistance provided ranges from screening and signing up Massachusetts residents, including college students, for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program); connecting callers to local resources, such as free meals for kids; and helping locate and refer clients to emergency food programs, such as community meals and food pantries, and other federal programs such as WIC (Women, Infants and Children). The hotline serves as the resource recommended by the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance and Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for residents seeking help with food access.

Calls are taken Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Counselors can assist callers in more than 180 languages.

For more information, residents can visit Project Bread’s Food Resources pages, available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Vietnamese and Haitian Creole.