Hilltown Voices: Gateway junior organizes support for Puerto Rico

  • Zachariah Vaughan, owner of Grace paint and Tile, works on the lettering on the side of the Old Creamery Grocery in Cummington. The cooperative will hold its birthday party over Nov. 4-5 weekend. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

For the Gazette
Friday, October 27, 2017

HUNTINGTON — When Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico, Huntington’s Kilee Holmes, a junior at Gateway Regional High School, knew that the situation called for a massive relief effort. She was ready to share her time, skills and leadership abilities to help out on a grassroots level.

Working together with other students and members of her Spanish class, Holmes, 16, organized a drive to collect emergency supplies to be sent to the island.

Starting Wednesday and lasting through Nov. 8, Gateway will host collection drives at its four district schools.

While Holmes was unavailable for comment, Gateway spokeswoman Wendy Long praised the student’s initiative and commitment to help those in need.

“We are lucky here at Gateway, we have no shortage of great kids and Kilee is certainly one of them,” Long said.

Long said that Holmes represented Gateway at Mass STAR, an annual conference sponsored by the Massachusetts Youth Leadership Foundation. STAR signifies “Students Accepting Responsibility.”

“Kilee came back from the conference determined to do a community service project,” Long said. “When the hurricane hit, she decided to do this.”

Mass Youth Leadership Foundation is designed to inspire and motivate students while providing them with the necessary tools to expand their talents and develop into strong leaders able to serve their communities.

“Kids have missed prom, graduation and champion sports events to attend the conference and they all come back saying it was worth it,” Long said. “I have never seen kids come back from any other event more energized or dedicated to serve the community.”

Chester and Littleville elementary schools are collecting school supplies, the middle school will collect personal care items, and the high school will collect infant care items.

In addition, a final collection will take place on Saturday, Nov. 4, from 12 to 2 p.m. at the Gateway soccer field.

The following is a list of new and unused items that are needed:

In the Chester and Littleville school office: notebooks, folders, pencils, backpacks, pens, loose-leaf paper and binders.

At the middle school: shampoo, conditioner, bodywash, toothpaste, toothbrushes and feminine hygiene products.

At the high school: baby diapers, training pants, wet wipes, soap and lotion.

For more information call: 685-1003.

Old Creamery celebration

CUMMINGTON — The Old Creamery in Cummington has been a staple in the community for years. However, in early November of 2012, a few hundred citizens and supporters successfully raised the funds needed to purchase business and begin operating under cooperative ownership.

Today, this community-owned business has 776 owners, and to celebrate its five-year anniversary as a co-op, the creamery is holding a weekend “birthday party” to mark the special event.

On Saturday, Nov. 4, and Sunday, Nov. 5, the Old Creamery will pull out all the stops with festivities including music, food, raffles and sales.

Live musicians will perform throughout the event and there will be old-fashioned cider pressing, samplings from local and regional producers, wine tastings with a storewide wine sale, no-cost raffles ranging from a $100 shopping spree, to a Creamery-baked pie, samples of Creamery-baked goods including a big birthday cake on Sunday afternoon, and more.

Member-owners of the Co-op will get a 10 percent savings on their shopping during the weekend, and anyone who becomes a new member-owner can also enjoy these discounts.

The Old Creamery Co-op is committed to creating local jobs, selling products from local farms and producers and supporting the local economy.

The event is open to everyone and the cooperative owners hope all will come to celebrate. For more information call: 634-5560.

Free shredding day

WILLIAMSBURG — On Saturday, Nov. 4, from 9 to 11 a.m., all residents of Williamsburg and surrounding communities are welcome to bring up to three boxes of documents per person to the highway garage for shredding.

Please note that three-ring binders, large binder clips, vinyl and plastics will not be accepted.

The highway garage is located at 24R Main St. This free public service is provided by Valley Green Shredding of Westfield and hosted by the town of Williamsburg.

For questions, call Charlene at 268-8418.

Ideas for this column on life in the Hilltowns can be sent to Fran Ryan at: Fryan.gazette@gmail.com