Skip to main content

Children in Western Mass. Dream Big in a Bed of Their Own Thanks to the Credit Unions of the Pioneer Valley Chapter

November 1, 2018 - Community

Oct. 23, 2018 (Marlborough, Mass.) — The credit unions in the Pioneer Valley Chapter have once again come together to support “A Bed for Every Child,” an initiative of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless (Coalition). Earlier this season in 2018, the Chapter raised $19,671 to provide 78 children growing up in poverty within the Chapter’s region a chance at a good night’s sleep. Last year in 2017, the Chapter raised funds to donate 52 beds and this year was determined to increase their donations.

The most recent delivery of 30 beds was made Wednesday, Oct. 17 for the Springfield Public School (SPS) system in Springfield, Mass.

Chapter officials, credit union CEOs, and Cooperative Credit Union Association (CCUA) staff welcomed local dignitaries for the beds’ arrival, including Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and Stephanie Sanabria, City Connects coordinator, who distributes the beds throughout the school system. “A Bed for Every Child” Program Director Tina Giarla from the Coalition was on hand as well for the special delivery.

Mayor Sarno expressed his appreciation to the credit unions for their generosity in supporting children within the local community. “I thank all the credit unions that participated in this and raised money for beds for school-age children in our communities.”

Giarla shared her story of being a homeless youth and not having a bed of her own. She said, “Getting a bed of my own was the most wonderful thing to me. Having the chance to get a good night’s sleep, pursue an education, and begin breaking the cycle of poverty for myself made a difference for me in my life. It led me to the Coalition.”

Sarno commended Giarla on her accomplishment in life saying, “You are a true testament to everyone out there that is struggling with poverty and the decisions you made to rise above it.” He was grateful to the credit unions for their efforts to help those in need by commenting, “We all have children of our own and the thought of them not having a bed of their own is heart breaking, I thank you all for your generous donations for beds.”

The highlight of the hour for Chapter President James Wage from UMassFive College Federal Credit Union (Amherst); Chapter Treasurer Kara Herman from Freedom Credit Union (Springfield); credit union CEOs David Plantier, MassMutual Federal Credit Union (Springfield) and Richard Kump, UMassFive College Federal Credit Union; Lee Craig from MassMutual Federal Credit Union; Dean Martino and Donna Bevilacqua from CCUA was loading bed frames, mattresses, bedding (pillows/comforters), and books from the Coalition’s truck into the trucks and SUVs of four families from Springfield, Chicopee and Holyoke that were in immediate need of seven beds. Those seven children had their first night of many sweet dreams in their own beds all thanks to the credit unions in the Pioneer Valley Chapter!

The group then carried the remainder of the shipment into the temporary storage located at the Springfield Department of Public Works until the beds can be distributed. Later in the day, three more beds were distributed to a family in great need.

“A Bed for Every Child is a great example of the credit union’s mission of People Helping People. I thank all the credit unions involved for an event that has such meaning. Our daily lives are so busy and at times, it’s easy to forget that some families and children do not have the basic necessities such as a bed. Our Chapter’s goal for the upcoming year will be to break this year’s donation and raise funds for 100 beds,” said James Wage, President, Pioneer Valley Chapter representing the UMassFive College Federal Credit Union, Amherst, Mass., one of the credit unions raising money for A Bed for Every Child.

Robyn Frost, Executive Director for the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless is grateful for the efforts provided by the credit unions in Massachusetts to provide beds. “The support from credit unions including those in the Pioneer Valley Chapter has allowed A Bed for Every Child to meet the growing need for beds for children without one of their own.”

Springfield City Connects Coordinator Stephanie Sanabria added her thanks to the credit unions, “A Bed for Every Child has provided much needed support to young children and their families in more ways than I imagined. We live in a world where we take simple necessities for granted (hot showers, a working stove, a bed to sleep on each night, etc.) and every time I connect with a family, hear their story of struggle and perseverance, I am reminded as to how important this initiative is in bridging a gap in their lives. This amazing initiative helps provide crucial support to our children within the community, so they can receive a good night’s rest to learn and thrive in school, and in life. Thank you to the local credit unions for their generosity and support!”

Participating credit unions in the region that provided funds for the 78 beds include: Arrha Credit Union, Springfield; Freedom Credit Union, Springfield; Holyoke Credit Union, Holyoke; MassMutual Federal Credit Union, Springfield; Pioneer Valley Credit Union, Springfield; Premier Source Credit Union, East Longmeadow; UMassFive College Federal Credit Union, Amherst; and West Springfield Federal Credit Union, West Springfield; all members of the Cooperative Credit Union Association’s Massachusetts Pioneer Valley Chapter.

Additional deliveries will be made in the coming months in Springfield and the Amherst area on behalf of all the Chapter’s participating credit unions.

In recent years, from the support of Massachusetts Credit Unions affiliated with the CCUA, more than 6,000 children have received beds throughout the Commonwealth.

About Cooperative Credit Union Association
The Cooperative Credit Union Association in Marlborough, Mass., promotes the interests of nearly 200 credit unions located throughout Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Delaware. CCUA is, first and foremost, an advocate for its members before Congress and state legislatures, regulatory bodies and the public. In addition, it provides an array of services including educational programs, workshops and conferences; a daily e-briefing on all the latest news and issues facing credit unions; and, through its CU Connect program—a select group of service providers and system partners – previews and offers quality products and services to its member credit unions.

About A Bed for Every Child
A Bed for Every Child is an initiative of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless that distributes new twin beds to children living in poverty throughout Massachusetts. Since its inception, the program has delivered more than 6,000 beds

Img 4633

Pictured with Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno (holding Boston Red Sox comforter) are representatives from the Pioneer Valley Chapter from left to right – Chapter President James Wage, UMassFive College Federal Credit Union, Amherst; Dean Martino, CCUA; Lee Craig and David Plantier, MassMutual Federal Credit Union, Springfield; Mayor Sarno; Chapter Treasurer Kara Herman, Freedom Credit Union, Springfield; Richard Kump, UMassFive College Federal Credit Union, Amherst; and Tina Giarla, A Bed for Every Child.