Anthony Saramago, Adeline Miller and Coral Vega, of The MH Group and CEO Nicole Polite, MH Cares Foundation Board Chair Valerie Francis and Alianza DV Services Executive Director Carmen Nieves stand with the donations raised by The MH Group on behalf of Alianza DV Services.
Reminder Publishing photo by Sarah Heinonen

EAST LONGMEADOW — When Nicole Polite met Alianza DV Services Executive Director Carmen Nieves at Bay Path University Women’s Leadership Conference in April, she learned about some of the organization’s urgent needs.

Alianza is a Holyoke-based organization that offers free help obtaining safe housing, food, clothing, medical support, court orders, legal help, therapy and childcare for people who have experienced domestic violence. As the CEO of The MH Group, a staffing and recruitment firm in East Longmeadow, Polite said she knew there was something she could do.

“I felt it was a great opportunity to help,” Polite said. She said that many of the people who seek the help of Alianza also require the assistance of staffing and recruiting agencies, such as The MH Group. She added that it is difficult to find steady work without a home address. Polite reached out to Valerie Francis, who chairs The MH Cares Foundation’s board, and they got to work. On May 10, The MH Group and its charitable foundation donated a room full of supplies and a $2,500 check to Alianza.

Francis said learning of Alianza’s needs was a successful “call to action.” She noted that the donated items are everyday necessities for the people the organization serves.

Nieves said the Holyoke-based organization, which has been operating for 40 years, is seeing how the housing crisis in Massachusetts is affecting its clients. “We are at the intersection of domestic violence and homelessness. There’s nowhere for them to stay,” she said, referring to people and families — about 70% of the people Alianza DV serves are parents — who are seeking to leave abusive living situations. Nieves added that when it comes to the state’s emergency shelter system, “There’s actually a waiting list for people who are fleeing. They want to flee. They are in imminent danger.”

The $2,500 monetary donation could pay for a family to stay in a hotel for about one week, Nieves said. With the money Alianza will save through the donation of tampons, towels, bedding and other essentials, the organization could purchase bus or plane tickets or security devices, such as a doorbell camera or a cell phone. All of which will help people live safely and with dignity.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and needs help, call the Alianza DV Services hotline at 413-536-1628 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233) or text 88788. Learn more about Alianza DV Services at alianzadv.org.

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