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Library's Teen Advisory Council hosts collection for hurricane victims

By Michelle Symington

Staff Writer

AGAWAM When the Agawam Public Library's Teen Advisory Council (TAC) met with Children's Librarian Cynthia Sutter to go over possible future programs, the group of teens came up with a project of their own a collection to help young victims of the recent hurricanes.

"I was very impressed," Sutter said about the group's idea. "I was impressed with the fact that they wanted to spend their time and energy doing something for others."

She added that the local teens realized that they would need to move quickly if they wanted to do the collection.

"[That] meant more meetings and more work," she said, adding that the TAC is a "great group."

The TAC was formed at the library to create a way for teens to be involved in the improvement of teen services at the library, Sutter explained. About 15 to 20 teens are members of the Council.

She said that the library is trying to increase the teen services portion of the library and the group gives library officials ideas about programs that would interest children in their age group.

Sutter explained that the categories up for discussion at the TAC meeting were programs, projects, activities and events.

"I had created the list before the hurricanes and one of the projects [on the list] was a community service project," Sutter said. She added that a collection for the food pantry was an example of a project on the list.

"The group came up with the idea for the victims of the hurricanes and specifically [for the] children," she said.

Sutter contacted the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, which expressed the need for children comfort kits.

Members of the TAC have begun to collect items to make Kiddie Comfort Kits for the children ages birth to 12 affected by the disaster. Items needed include hand wipes, hand sanitizers, wash cloths, soap, baby wipes, toothbrushes, toothpaste and shampoo.

Once the collection deadline approaches, the Agawam teens will meet to begin to put the kits together, which will the be given to the Red Cross and Salvation Army for distribution, according to Sutter.

She said that the Salvation Army has a truck leaving for Louisiana and Mississippi at the end of October, The Red Cross will donate the items collected by the teens to 47 families that have been relocated from the areas harmed by the hurricanes to the Springfield area.

The Kiddie Comfort Kits collection box is located at the front desk of the library, which is located at 750 Cooper Street. Items will be collected through Oct. 31.

Items can be dropped off during normal library hours, which are: Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Friday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.; Saturday from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.