Tapestry workers question outside group’s fundraising
To the editor:
We admire the work that the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) does. However, we are greatly disturbed by the recent presence of paid solicitors contracted by PPFA on Main Street in Northampton. After weeks of seeing the solicitors downtown, we felt we needed to raise our concerns.
First, we object to being asked for donations, as we work at the Tapestry Health site close to Main Street (Lucy for almost 28 years and Jenny for 20), and any extra funds that we have for charitable giving goes to our own agency.
Tapestry Health is a private nonprofit (non-Planned Parenthood affiliated) reproductive health care agency that has served all of western Massachusetts for 40 years.
Second, and more importantly, PPFA pays people to stand on the downtown streets of Northampton and solicit passers-by for donations. We strenuously object to that practice as PPFA offers no medical services in Northampton, or anywhere in Hampshire County. We realize the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts (PPLM) offers services to all western Massachusetts residents in their Springfield office, and we would have no objection to their advertising those services here. However, soliciting directly for donations makes us very uncomfortable. We feel it is an impingement on the ability of our agency to raise the much-needed funds from a small, limited population base in this area for the important preventive services we offer to all people, regardless of ability to pay.
We do not know if there is anything that can be done about this situation, but we feel it needs to stop.
There is nothing to be gained from two organizations such as ours working at cross purposes and infringing on each other’s “territory.” We want to work together to ensure that everyone has access to quality affordable health care. We, for instance, would never stand in front of one of PPLM’s facilities and ask people for donations to Tapestry Health.
We respectfully request PPFA pay us the same courtesy.
Lucy Hartry is health services manager for Tapestry and Jenny Fleming is a clinician with the agency’s Northampton Health Services.