United Way of Pioneer Valley seeking volunteers due to increased need

The United Way of Pioneer Valley is looking for volunteers to help with the significant increase in need out in the community.
Published: Nov. 15, 2022 at 2:22 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 15, 2022 at 4:50 PM EST
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Ahead of the holiday season, the United Way of Pioneer Valley is looking for volunteers to help with the significant increase in need out in the community.

“We are always looking for volunteers because the concept of United Way is everybody in the community coming together to get things done,” said Walter Rice, director of outreach and programs for the United Way.

The United Way of Pioneer Valley is a huge resource for members in the community providing various resources for daily life, but with a drastic increase in need at the Springfield service center on Main Street, taking on 117 new families since opening in March, they are looking for more volunteers to help.

“We are looking for volunteers to be empathetic and impactful to our community. We are just looking for someone to share our community bond,” Rice explained.

Rice told Western Mass News how big of an impact volunteers can make, especially when helping out during the holidays.

“Those that we serve we want them to make sure we have the best Thanksgiving with their family, but we also want to reinforce the values of Thanksgiving, those values of the community coming together to share a meal,” Rice noted.

For Thanksgiving meals this year, United Ways is hoping to help over 600 families. Alice Buckner, director of fundraising, showed us some of the bags they’re preparing.

“We are doing a meal-in-a-box kind of a concept, so people can get an oven stuffing roaster and all of the fixings, so people can decide when they want their food and how they want their food. We just put it together,” Buckner explained.

With the current turkey shortage, they’ll be distributing chickens instead. Distribution for Thanksgiving dinners will be on Monday, November 21 in Chicopee and Tuesday, November 22 in Springfield. Buckner also told us they are always accepting everyday needs, especially since it’s getting colder.

“Food items, personal care items, warm clothing, holiday gifts, assorted warm hats socks slippers, as well as children’s toys,” Buckner said.

Other donations that often go forgotten, but are crucial, include children’s books, birthday cake mix, and spices.

“We really cannot thank the volunteers enough for their hard work and passion to the clients because we are all one big family,” Rice said.

You can CLICK HERE to learn more about and donate to the United Way of Pioneer Valley.