Falcons give back at local shelter

by Josh Tannenbaum || AHL On The Beat Archive

Members of the Springfield Falcons, along with their wives and girlfriends, delivered personally-donated items and served food at Friends of the Homeless in Springfield on Dec. 17.

Friends of the Homeless, Inc., a non-profit 501(c)3 organization established over 20 years ago to serve Greater Springfield, operates the largest emergency shelter for adult individuals in Western Massachusetts, provides services aimed at ending homelessness and operates 110 low-income housing units.

“To our clients that don’t get a lot of attention, this is really a special evening,” Kathy Tobin, director of program development at Friends of the Homeless, said. “The food we serve at every meal is really important, but more important than the food is the way in which we serve it.”

The Falcons players used their own money to purchase items on the Friends of the Homeless client need list, which includes toiletries, kitchen utensils, bus passes and gift cards in small denominations to places where such items can be purchased.

Andrew Joudrey, Ryan Craig, Cody Bass, Jonathan Marchessault, Spencer Machacek, Patrick McNeill, Lukas Sedlak and Ryley Grantham delivered the donated items, served food and interacted with and signed autographs for those in attendance.

“If it puts a smile on some of their faces, it makes it worthwhile,” Joudrey said. “There’s a lot bigger things in this world than hockey, but the fact that we do have an impact, it definitely makes a good difference.”

This is the second year in a row that the Falcons have visited Friends of the Homeless to serve food and donate needed items. The relationship between the two organizations is strong, and the team plans to return to serve food again later in the season.

“We love our relationship with the Falcons,” Bill Miller, executive director at Friends of the Homeless, said. “The guys are great for coming out. They’re an important part of the community, and for them to come up here, it means a lot to our clients and guests.”