WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) – On June 1st, the lives of thousands of people from Westfield to Brimfield changed in an instant. A tornado damaged or destroyed homes, putting people who’ve never asked or looked for help in the position of needing help. That’s when WGGB TV and United Bank joined forces and created a tornado relief fund. We asked you, our viewers and United Bank customers to help the people hit the hardest. And you came through. Between June 1st and now, you donated $40,000.
Wednesday afternoon on abc40 news at noon, WGGB owner John Gormally and Dena Hall of United Bank presented checks for $10,000 each to the United Way of the Pioneer Valley, the Community Foundation of Western Mass, the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross. All four agencies jumped into action June 1st, helping people in countless ways.
The Community Foundation provided grants to non profits. Square One had a van destroyed, so they were able to help them pay for a new van.
Major Thomas Perks of the United Way told abc40, “Right off in the first two weeks we provided over 14,000 meals. We also have been helping families. Upwards of 2,000 families we’ve worked with.”
Rick Lee of the Red Cross told us, “The generosity ranged from companies like Big Y that arrived with truckloads of water, WalMart, private individuals, corporations, and foundations. It was a Who’s Who of Greater Springfield and Western Mass.”
While the United Way of the Pioneer Valley is involved with what’s been called long term recovery groups through FEMA, they were coordinating through the national organization, All Hands Volunteers, which does a lot of disaster relief work.
All agencies say there’s a lot of work still to be done and the money you donated through our relief fund will go a long way in that effort.