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Gray House plans annual benefit event

By Laura Maynard

Staff Intern

SPRINGFIELD - On June ll the Gray House in Springfield will hold its seventh annual Summer Breakfast at the Crestview Country Club in Agawam.

Started in 1984, the Gray House is a small, non-profit organization located in the North End of Springfield. The House runs four major programs throughout the year to help its neighbors in need.

"We provide four primary services - a food and clothing service, adult education, and an after school and summer program for kids," said Gray House Executive Director Eileen Hurley.

The Gray House serves around 8,000 people a year, hoping the help break the cycle of poverty. Their adult education program is in its 15th year with about 100 students in it. This past year they had 51 students from 19 different countries graduate. Hurley explained that the after school and summer programs are a way to help the children have a normal childhood.

"We take them out of the city [in the summer program] and provide them with the opportunities that other kids have," Hurley said.

The after school program is designed to help the children find success at school. They are required to do at least a half hour of homework a day and, because the MCAS are given only in English, to speak only English while they are there.

The Annual Summer Breakfast, in its seventh year, is a way to raise money for the house as well as to let people know more about it.

"We typically net about $7,000, and the money goes toward the general operation of Gray House," Hurley said. "We have great raffle prizes and gift certificates and it is a great time for people who have sponsored us."

The Gray House receives very little state or federal funding and is run predominantly on donations. Around 60 percent of their funding is from individuals, and roughly 91 cents for every dollar donated goes directly to the programs.

"We have a wonderful following of people who support the Gray House," said Hurley.

The Seventh Annual Summer Breakfast, on June 11, will be held at the Crestview Country Club in Agawam from 8:30 to 10:30 am. For tickets or more information call the Gray House at 734-6696.