HOLYOKE — Thanks to a generous donation from the Friends of the Holyoke Council on Aging, the senior citizens of Holyoke have a brand new vehicle to get around the city.

“It fills a great need as they were down to one transport car that we had purchased for them over five years ago,” said Elaine Pluta, president of the Friends of Holyoke Council on Aging. The $41,000 donation bought a brand new Hyundai Santa Fe from Gary Rome Hyundai in Holyoke.

The purchase has been in the works since last summer when Council on Aging Director Navae Rodriguez came to a Friends meeting to inform the group that a vehicle the city had purchased for them many years ago was on its last legs and the COA would soon need another form of transportation.

“At our next meeting, we started to look at our funding status at the time and determined that we were able to give them what they needed to buy a new transport vehicle for the COA from our endowment investment,” recalled Pluta. “This is the second vehicle that we have purchased on their behalf.”

This purchase gives the COA two working vehicles to transport the city’s senior citizens to and from appointments and the senior center. The COA has seen an increase in the need for this service over the last five years or so. Its other vehicle was also a donation from the friends and was bought at Marcotte Ford in Holyoke, as the group likes to support local dealerships. This is just one of the many ways that the friends supports the needs of the Holyoke Senior Center and COA.

“We are constantly raising money on behalf of the COA and they have come to us with many needs over the years,” said Pluta. “We also have an endowment fund which is where the money for this particular donation came from. We’ve had the endowment for about nine years now.”

The friends organization began raising funds about 12 years ago as soon as the plan for a new senior center was announced. Over the years, the group has helped to refurbish the patio, as well as assisting with many other smaller projects. The funds are raised by hosting concerts, jewelry and pocketbook sales, a fashion show and shredding events, in addition to yearly membership drives.

tlevakis@thereminder.com | + posts