Columbia Gas presents $20,000 grant to Pioneer Valley USO

Date: 12/4/2012

SPRINGFIELD – At the second annual Pioneer Valley USO Veteran's Day Breakfast, at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, Columbia Gas of Massachusetts President Stephen Bryant presented the Pioneer Valley USO with a grant of $20,000 from the NiSource Charitable Foundation. The funds will be used to stock the shelves of the USO Food Pantry and to provide holiday food baskets to military families.

The USO serves all branches of the military, active, reserves and National Guard. The Pioneer Valley USO is a relatively small center located at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee and Barnes Air Reserve Base in Westfield. More than 10,000 military men and women and their families are served at these two local bases.

The food pantry is vital service of the USO providing Monday night family dinners, care packages at the time of deployment and while stationed abroad, and access to the Food Pantry so that families can supplement their weekly food shopping.

The Food Pantry has registered nearly 400 qualified families and has served nearly 10,800 family dinners since Jan. 1.

"The employees of Columbia Gas of Massachusetts, in particular our veterans, reservists and National Guard remain very supportive of the work of the USO. We are extremely proud to support an organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life, and lift the spirits, of our military personnel and their families," Bryant stated.

As one of the seven energy distribution companies of NiSource Inc., the donation to the Pioneer Valley USO is part of the NiSource Charitable Foundation's Supporting Those In Need campaign. The yearly campaign provides more than $320,000 to local, regional and national human-services organizations across its operating companies.