GREENFIELD — After two months on pause, donations for the immigrant and refugee families at the Days Inn on Colrain Road are once again being accepted.
In particular, there is a need for winter clothes of all sizes, including coats, boots, hats, gloves and scarves. Donations — the acceptance of which was put on pause in July, with the city citing capacity limitations — can now be brought to the Health Department at 20 Sanderson St.
Mayor Roxann Wedegartner previously said she was notified by Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll and the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities that, due to a “critical shortage of affordable housing in the state,” families with children would be provided emergency shelter in Greenfield at the Colrain Road hotel. There are currently 45 families, for a total of 143 individuals, according to interim Chief of Staff Diana Schindler. Of those, 78 are adults and 65 are children. Of the children, 21 are school-age, seven are preschool-age and 37 are under the age of 4.
Of the families at the hotel, roughly 55% are Haitian refugees, according to Marisa Perez, who is overseeing the emergency shelter at the Days Inn. Of those, about half came directly from Boston; others, however, were stationed for a few years in other countries, including Chile and Mexico, before finding their way to the United States. Other families immigrated from Colombia, Jamaica and Africa, and some are Massachusetts residents.
“There’s been a lot of discussion about … people being able to volunteer there,” Schindler added. “ServiceNet is working on getting that in order, and what they’d like to do is get their paid staff hired and trained, and then coordinate the training and the vetting process for volunteers.”
Schindler said the families are being assisted by several service agencies and “seem to be settling in.”
“The families seem to be settling into the community,” Schindler said. “Many have joined local churches and many families are taking advantage of the opportunities in the community, including the parks and spending time downtown.”
ServiceNet job openings can be found online at servicenet.org/jobs by searching “Greenfield” as a location.
Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at [email protected] or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne.
To read the original article, click here.