WESTFIELD – A dedicated group of volunteers has been meeting weekly for months to raise $500,000 to furnish 25 rooms in the new Westfield Senior Center on Noble Street.
With a fall completion date for the new center, the Friends of the Westfield Senior Center group are asking the community to consider making a donation in any denomination.
“We have close to 80 percent of the funds needed in cash and pledges,” Mike Parent said.
Parent is serving on the development committee with Tom Humphrey, Kathy Millas, Tom Keenan, Bill Thompson, Lesley Lambert and Marion Kraus. Tina Gorman, executive director of the Westfield Senior Center, also serves on the committee.
Gorman noted that 50 percent of the funds raised to date have been donated by Lane Construction and Westfield Bank, and the committee is also reaching out to businesses and area residents.
“We are still approaching smaller businesses too and continuing our outreach to families,” said Gorman.
The city of Westfield provided the capital to construct the $7.5 million, 20,000-square-foot center which will be able to accommodate the city’s 8,000 seniors. The current center at 40 Main St. in the downtown area has been limited to serve approximately 2,000 older adults. The Friends group was formed to help provide furniture and other needed items that were not included in the bonding for the new center.
Corporate sponsorship opportunities at press time include a first floor vestibule, first floor fitness room, first floor office, kitchen, and second floor program associate office.
“We are especially hopeful to receive a sponsor for our first floor Veterans Affairs office suite,” said Parent, noting that pledge would be for $25,000.
In addition to these sponsorships, the committee encourages area residents to also consider other levels of giving that include sponsoring wall art pieces, individual windows, offices, stairs, and flagpoles.
“Gifts can be made in memory of a loved one,” Gorman said. “Families may also want to pool their resources and contribute to the capital campaign as a group.”
“No gift is too big or too small,” Millas, who also serves as treasurer of the group, said. “Every gift will be recognized.”
Donation pledges can also be made over several years and all gifts in excess of $500 will be recognized as a permanent part of the building.
For Kraus, who uses the senior center services regularly, she welcomes the chance to give back to the community by serving on the committee.
“I like Westfield and am so happy to see the new senior center coming together since it is so desperately needed,” Kraus said. “We now need every nickel and dime we can get.”
For Lambert, the final push has special meaning too.
“My mom uses the senior center,” Lambert said. “The art lessons have been transformative for her. The art lessons have been a gift for my mom.”
Humphrey added that the new senior center will be a resource for the “whole community,” adding that families can also find answers to questions about companionship programs for their loved ones, as well as health insurance counseling, fuel and nutrition assistance, medical equipment loans, support groups and educational sessions.
“We work with families to help them navigate the elder service maze,” said Gorman.
The Friends of the Westfield Senior Center is a tax-exempt organization under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and donations are tax-deductible as provided by the law.
For more information on the center or to make a donation, visit www.westfieldseniors.org or visit the Friends of the Westfield Senior Center Facebook page. Also, inquiries can be made by calling 729-0222.
A marketing insert will also be included in an upcoming Westfield Gas & Electric Department invoice with up-to-date project information. Donations can also be mailed directly to: FOTWSC Capital Campaign, P.O. Box 2184, Westfield, MA 01086.
“Be a part of history in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to give,” Parent added.
Gorman also noted that individuals interested in serving as a board of trustee member of Friends of the Westfield Senior Center are also encouraged to call her for more details.