Donation to Help Local Nonprofits
In conjunction with the celebration
of World AIDS Day, on Wednesday, December 1, Service Organizations
of Smith (S.O.S.) will donate $4,500 to two local nonprofit
organizations—Between Family and Friends and Tapestry
Health Systems—that work with people infected with HIV/AIDS.
The funds arrive at a critical time for the organizations
as budget cuts threaten the elimination of some of their services.
Between Family and Friends, which provides support to infected
individuals as well as to their family and friends, will use
its $4,000 award to support a congregate meal program for
one year, according to David McKinney, program coordinator
for the Springfield-based service. The congregate meals provide
an important support system for the organization’s clients,
many of whom are homeless, says McKinney, while also helping
people stay healthy by providing nutritionally prepared meals.
Tapestry Health Services will use its $500 donation to cover
the cost of transportation for clients to appointments with
nutritionists and for nutritional food supplements.
State funding for services for people with HIV/AIDS has decreased
by 40 percent in recent years, notes Lucy Hartry, director
of administrative services at Tapestry Health Systems, which
has offices throughout Hampden County. “The funding
will help fill critical gaps in health-related services to
help people stay healthy longer,” she added.
S.O.S. dedicated its annual fund drive this year to raising
money for HIV/AIDS organizations in response to the fact that
Hampden County has the 11th highest rate of infection in the
nation, according to Tiertza-Leah Schwartz, director of voluntary
services at Smith. Each year, Smith students involved with
S.O.S. identify a critical local need and develop a campaign
to raise money that is granted to local agencies. The yearlong
effort involves fundraising at concerts by Smith singing groups,
lectures, and other educational forums.
“The fund drive is important because it not only teaches
students the fundamentals of designing a direct-solicitation
fundraising campaign, but also because it educates the larger
Smith community about local needs and issues,” Schwartz
For those at Smith who know the people who will be affected,
the S.O.S. contribution is especially meaningful. Nicole Rosendale
’05, who has volunteered at Between Family and Friends
for more than a year, says, “The people I meet there
are amazing. They continually inspire me with their hope and
their strength, not only in my activism, but in every aspect
of my life. Volunteering for the center has truly opened my
eyes and transformed me to the core.”