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Fourteenth annual Brightside campaign offers new angel

Date: 11/25/2014

HOLYOKE - A holiday season tradition continues for a 30th year as the Brightside Angel Campaign was announced on Nov. 21 at Holyoke Mall.

This year a special anniversary porcelain angel ornament was commissioned and will be on sale at the mall, along with an angel wind chime, magnets, jewelry items and angel white chocolate lollipops.

The fundraiser receives the bulk of its donations through the sale of paper angels at O'Connell's Convenience Plus locations throughout Western Massachusetts.

Douglas Moen, president and CEO of the Providence Health Systems, told the audience at the announcement that “Brightside is a very special program.” He noted it was the first ministry started by the Sisters of Providence in 1881 as an orphanage and is a “place of hope and healing.”

Brightside for Families and Children currently serves more than 580 children, their siblings and their families in their homes and schools with in-home counseling and family support.

Moen said, “The demand is always there, unfortunately.”

He added Brightside offers a full set of services to help families stay together.

Eighteen years ago Michael and Joan Sobon, the owners of O'Connell’s Convenience Plus, started their sponsorship of the program. Joan recalled how meeting a child at Brightside convinced to “take it on as our charity.”

Mark Paglia, Director of Outpatient Behavioral Health Services, said Brightside services work with “families in crisis who are losing hope.”

He noted the annual Angels Campaign helps close the gap in funding the organization receives from insurance.