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Eighth annual Magical Night of Giving set for Nov. 24

Date: 11/15/2013

By Lori Szepelak

HOLYOKE – Area residents across Western Massachusetts will be able to help nonprofits during the Holyoke Mall at Ingleside’s eighth annual Magical Night of Giving on Nov. 24.

The festive affair, planned from 6 to 9:30 p.m., is a “great opportunity” for nonprofit organizations to raise money, according to Bill Rogalski, general manager.

At press time, there are more than 50 nonprofit groups selling tickets to the event for $5 each. Each organization keeps the money from each ticket they sell. Some of the nonprofit groups participating include Providence Ministries in Holyoke, Amelia Park Children’s Museum in Westfield, the American Red Cross, and the Ludlow Boys & Girls Club, as well as many school and church groups.

The $5 ticket can be used that evening for discounted shopping at participating stores. In addition, the ticket can be used to receive a free small cone at Dairy Queen and a free brewed beverage at Starbucks. A complete list of prizes and offers are listed on the mall’s website.

As an added bonus, the $5 ticket is also a raffle ticket to enter to win a $1,000 Holyoke Mall gift card or one of many other prizes provided by mall shops and the event’s sponsors. Santa Claus will arrive in Sears Court at 8:30 p.m. to pull the names of the winners for the raffle.

Dan Kane’s Rising Stars and the Holyoke High School Marching Band will provide the entertainment for the Magical Night of Giving. Tickets will also be sold that evening by some of the participating nonprofit groups at various entrances to the mall. Tickets are also available at the Customer Service Center to benefit The Jimmy Fund or St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Guests to the event are also encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to the Customer Service Center the day of the event to benefit Providence Ministries.

Representatives from Providence Ministries will be on hand to sell the $5 tickets as well, and to thank everyone who donates food. Last year more than 1,000 pounds of food was donated to Margaret’s Pantry, a program of Providence Ministries. Men from Loreto House, a 24-hour transitional housing site for homeless men, also overseen by Providence Ministries, will also be on hand to help organize the food and bring the items back that evening to Margaret’s Pantry.

“Loreto House has been very good to me,” Steve Schroeck said during an interview with Reminder Publications. “I am very grateful for all the services I’ve been provided.”

Throughout the year, Schroeck and others have taken the lead to give back to the community, ranging from helping set up and break down the Positively Holyoke Summer Concerts series, to picking up furniture and household items from area residents for St. Jude’s Store in the city, and this month helping to organize and transport the food collected from the Magical Night of Giving.

Schroeck is indebted to Loreto House for providing him with a “safe place to live” and now looks forward to being on his own next month but also mindful of continuing to give back when he can to others less fortunate.

Alan Arslanian, a U.S. Navy veteran who served during the Vietnam War, echoed the sentiments of Schroeck.

“I am thankful that Loreto House gave me an opportunity to stay,” he said, noting he had been “homeless for a while” and had spent time at the Springfield Rescue Mission.

“I have a plan now for employment and a voucher from the Veterans Administration so I’m looking forward to working again and also to giving back and helping others.”

On average, the Loreto House provides rooms for 60 to 75 men each year. The program is designed to not only offer basic food and shelter for up to 20 men, but also access to medical care, various support services dealing with addictions, housing and employment searches, life/survival skills, job preparation assistance, and other educational opportunities.

In this season of giving, Schroeck and Arslanian are examples of individuals who want to reach out and help by volunteering their time to ensure nonprofit agencies survive and thrive.

There is also still time for organizations to pick up tickets to sell. For more information, call the mall’s marketing department at 536-1440 or visit