|By Erin O'Connor |
AGAWAM On Oct. 17 representatives from the United Way of Pioneer Valley celebrated with Mayor Richard Cohen and municipal employees in the kick-off campaign for this year's fundraising event.
"If they [municipal employees] agree to make a weekly contribution of three dollars or more then they will get a free incentive day," City Council member George Bitzas said to The Reminder. "It is helping a worthy cause and enjoying that one day."
A volunteer committee made up of Chris Sparks of the Parks and Recreation Department, Kristina Borgatti of the Agawam Senior Center and Aldo Mancini of the Public Works Dept began collecting signatures from various department members on Oct. 19. Town officials have been working with Nathan Davis of the United Way of Pioneer Valley to organize the campaign and launch day.
"Next week all departments in town except for the School Department will give to this worthy cause," Bitzas said. The [School Department] has a separate campaign.
"I will be writing a check and I challenge others," Cohen said in regards to donations.
"Please welcome us into your [municipal] office," Sparks said.
The volunteer committee will solicit municipal offices that include, but are not limited to, the Department of Public Works, mail rooms, the Treasury Department, the library and the police and fire stations.
"It will be a payroll deduction," Cohen said. "This is the second year that we have used this as an incentive. Now it has been proven that it really works."
Davis said that last year with contributions from just under 2,000 individuals in this region more than 175,000 people in the Pioneer Valley, South Hadley and Granby areas were helped.
"The people that are visited are the people that went through the different unions to coordinate the days off," Cohen said. "I would like to see an increase by 200% this year," he added.
"This is an incredible opportunity to truly make a difference in the community that we serve. The more that we can show our confidence and trust then the better our campaigns will be and the more we can help people to help themselves. This is a special journey together to help people," Cohen said.