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April 19, 2024: Issue 8

Offering hope and help to those impacted by opioid misuse in

Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region.


See what's happening at OTF this month.


Explore OTF's COVID-19 Resource Guide.


Hope is here. Get help.

Resources for Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region. Click here.


Resources and upcoming events in the North Quabbin Region. Click here.


Find local resources in this issue.

Emergency Services Resources for Unhoused Individuals


Click here for resources.

Grayken Center for Addiction

Training & Technical Assistance

Click here to view and/or register for trainings.

GCC Community Engagement and Workshop Events

Click here to view and/or register for trainings.

"Like wildflowers, you have to let yourself grow in all the places people thought you never would."


Good morning ~

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. While addressing the impact of opioid use disorder is our primary mission, we would be remiss in not sharing how devastating alcohol use disorder can also be in the lives of people we know and love.

According to recent research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths attributed to "excessive alcohol use" increased by 29.3% from 2016-2017 to 2020-2021. The New York Times reports this is approximately 500 deaths per day in 2021. They further reported "a sustained spiked during the Covid pandemic that continued to rise after the shock of the lockdowns of 2020. The incidence of alcohol-related deaths was higher in men, but among women the death rate shot up at a quicker pace."

The prevalence of alcohol misuse has increased in our rural region, according to recent anecdotal reports provided by our law enforcement, as well as treatment and recovery partners. These observations echo data gathered by Baystate Franklin Medical Center's 2022 Community Needs Assessment, where they found "Franklin County has a rate of excessive drinking slightly higher than that of the state with about one in four adults reporting recent binge drinking. In Franklin County and North Quabbin, a higher percentage of people aged 65 and over have been diagnosed with a drug or alcohol use disorder than in Massachusetts as a whole. The state rate is 6.6%, compared to 9.4% in Greenfield, 10.6% in Montague, and 8.4% in Orange and Athol. "

There are bright spots. Thanks to the enduring prevention efforts of the North Quabbin Community Coalition, the Communities That Care Coalition, the Gill-Montague Community School Partnership, and the Greenfield Safe School Safe Streets Coalition, in partnership with area schools and other entities, the rates of youth substance misuse continue to be historically low.

Innovative programming continues to be implemented as organizations such as LifePath, The RECOVER Project, the Early Childhood Mental Health Roundtable, Valuing Our Children, the Brick House, Wildflower Alliance, the North Quabbin Recovery Center, Tapestry, and the Hilltown Recovery Theatre, among many others, work to meet people where they are at to offer hope and help.

If you know someone who is struggling, refer them to the MA Helpline at 1-800-327-5050 or text "HOPE" to 800327.

In gratitude,

Debra McLaughlin, Coordinator

Opioid Task Force of Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region

OTF Members in the News

"$194K Boosts Children's Advocacy Center " ~ Greenfield Recorder (4/2/24)

"The Children’s Advocacy Center of Franklin County and North Quabbin has secured $194,000 in federal funding to sustain its number of clinicians and expand its reach into the North Quabbin area.

Executive Director Jeffrey Trant explained the Greenfield- based nonprofit providing mental health services for children and families affected by sexual abuse submitted a congressionally directed spending application seeking money to help support its mission to offer trauma-informed mental health services.

“It will be spent on increased staffing, and also we are expanding our footprint into the North Quabbin region and these funds will help provide us with the resources to really accelerate that process,” Trant said. “We have three master’s- and doctorate- level clinicians on staff at the Children’s Advocacy Center and we have several funding streams coming to a conclusion. This will help sustain and grow the services.”

U.S. Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren recently announced that the money was designated for the nonprofit when President Joe Biden signed the fiscal year 2024 budget into law.

“The work of the Children’s Advocacy Center of Franklin County and North Quabbin in providing mental health services for children and families impacted by abuse is irreplaceable,” Markey said in a statement. “To support the expansion of their critical services, I’m proud Sen. Warren and I secured $194,000 in the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act.”

Trant said he appreciated that Warren personally called him to inform him when the bill was signed into law.

“Over the past two to three years, both the commonwealth of Massachusetts and the federal government, as well as local supporters, have made significant investments in the advocacy center,” he said. “We are just grateful and we are just enthusiastic about our ability to help more children and families.”

Trant also said some money will be used to open a Children’s Advocacy Center office in Orange. The nonprofit has for a year and a half provided its services to the North Quabbin region via a borrowed office space lent by Valuing Our Children, an organization dedicated to addressing the needs of youngsters, in Athol.

Trant said an Orange spot has been selected, though he declined to disclose more information at this time.

(Staff Photo/Paul Franz)

"Institute Welcomes Aspiring Chefs" ~Greenfield Recorder (4/11/2024)

"The culinary dreams of eight aspiring chefs are taking flight once again as Stone Soup Culinary Institute welcomes its third cohort of students.

With nearly 50 applicants vying for the openings, this year’s selection welcomes eight individuals who are eager to embark on a culinary journey under the guidance of Chef Instructors Brandon Shantie and Michael Hulburt. Participants immerse themselves in a 12-week program designed to cultivate not just culinary skills, but also an understanding of food justice and community empowerment. From mastering knife skills to exploring the tapestry of traditional cooking techniques, students gain hands on experience while earning certifications, such as ServSafe Manager. “At Stone Soup Culinary Institute, we believe in the power of food to nourish both body and soul,” Kirsten Levitt, executive director and chef at Stone Soup Café, said in a statement. “Our goal is to foster a new generation of culinary leaders who are committed to making a positive impact in our community.”

“We have all the ingredients in place and things are starting to sizzle,” Shantie said in a statement. “Three years into teaching here at the Stone Soup Culinary Institute and we are really starting to get into a groove. Our new students are getting a taste of some new aspects of the curriculum. I am looking forward to working with some of our restaurant partners — including Hope & Olive, People’s Pint and Mesa Verde — as they take on student interns from the institute to give them on-the-ground, real-world work experience” In addition to providing job training and certification opportunities, the Stone Soup Culinary Institute aims to create inclusive pathways for individuals from all walks of life, including those navigating reentry into society after incarceration. Through partnerships with local organizations such as the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Stone Soup Café aims to empower individuals facing barriers to employment by offering them access to vocational training. Many students live in Orange and take the bus to class every day, while others are from Greenfield and Turners Falls.

The institute operates as a tuition-free program, ensuring accessibility for individuals from diverse backgrounds. Additionally, students can access financial stipends to compensate for their time in class, further removing barriers to participation. These measures are made possible in part by funding received from the state through its Urban Agenda Grant Program, and from community contributions.

(Contributed Photo)


Virtual: Emergency Services for Unhoused Individuals Task Force

April 22, 2024

9:30 AM - 10:30 AM

Zoom details here.

Virtual: Harm Reduction Workgroup

May 1, 2024

11:00 AM - 12:00 Noon

Zoom details here.

Hybrid: Treatment & Recovery Committee

May 3, 2024

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Greenfield Community College,

One College Drive, Room C201

Zoom details here.

Virtual: Healthcare Solutions Committee

May 10, 2024

10:00 AM - 11:30 Noon

Zoom details here.

Hybrid: Sexual Exploitation & Trafficking Workgroup

May 13, 2024

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Franklin County Reentry Center

106 Main Street, Greenfield

Zoom details here.

Virtual: Education & Prevention Committee

May 14, 2024

9:30 AM - 11:00 AM

Zoom details here.

Hybrid: Public Safety & Justice Committee

June 3, 2024

1:00 - 2:00 PM

Franklin County Reentry Center

106 Main Street, Greenfield

Zoom details here.

Virtual: CAM Workgroup

June 11, 2024

11:00 am - 12:00 pm

Zoom details here.

Virtual: Methadone Workgroup

June 13, 2024

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Zoom details here.

Virtual: Housing & Workforce Development Committee

June 14, 2024

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM

Zoom details here.

Consult our website or Facebook Page for updates. Please email us with any questions!



Need help utilizing the Opioid Legal Settlement funds?

Help is here!

This website is devoted to you, those addressing the opioid crisis in your communities. Whether you need to file your Expenditure Form or Request Help in how best to use your settlement funding to address the opioid crisis in your community, we are here to help. The State of Massachusetts has contracted with JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. to support all municipalities in implementing, enhancing, or expanding a range of non-clinical evidence-based opioid abatement strategies and community collaborations. Request Help to request assistance.

We are here to provide equitable, participatory, and tailored support to ensure the success of your initiatives. Sign up for our mailing list to receive future updates from our program. Please visit the Office of the Attorney General’s Opioid Settlement FAQ page about the statewide opioid settlements. There you will find answers to common questions, including how best to use abatement funding.

Have you had or thought about having an abortion in the last 10 years?

Privately share your experience by clicking the link below before May 1st and receive a $15 gift card! The survey is available in Spanish, Haitian Creole, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and English!

Take Tides' Community Access Survey!

Tides for Reproductive Freedom is a 501c3 that can help pay for the cost of your abortion, plus the transportation to and from your appointment! 


CONNECT: Post-Opioid Overdose Outreach Services

Support & Resources After the HEALing Communities Study

Learn more at HealTogetherMA.org

Updated Emergency Resources for

Unhoused Individuals

Time Sensitive Announcements

Wednesday Nurturing Father's Program - Through June 20

April 1 - June 22 Free English Class for Immigrants and Refugees

April 6 - May 25 *Saturdays* Postpartum Therapeutic

Support Group

April 19 & 20 Across The Ninefold River

April 20 Exploring Vernal Pools

April 20 Emergency Bike Road Repair 101

April 21 Ready to Get Growing?

April 22 Beyond The Brain: Soul Exhaustion and Soul Care

April 22 Keeping Kids Safe

April 23 First Time Homebuyers Event

April 23 Quabbin Reservoir & Watershed Protection at New Salem Public Library

April 24 Meet The Employer Panel

April 24 & 25 Twistin' With Torri

April 25 Moms Do Care/EMPOWER Program:

Charting a New Course

Register below! https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0pcO2spjIvEtw2hbVcTj6ZA22J96y8WRtp

April 25 Consent & Boundary Setting

April 25 How Things Move In Nature: Snails!

April 25/May 2 CPR + First Aid - Bernardston

May 2/May 9 CPR + First Aid - Shelburne Falls

April 26 Garden Path Plant Sale at The RECOVER Project

April 26 Dress for Success

April 26 Homeschool Hangout

April 27 Wild Flower Walks

April 27 Wild Life Tales

April 27 Author Micha Archer with her newest book:

 What's New, Daniel?

April 27 National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

April 27 The Fabulous Hilltown Draw Around

April 27 2024 Visions of Community, Western MA Edition

April 27 Sunderland Public Library's 20th Birthday Party

April 28 Spring Awakening: Reiki, Yoga, Music

April 29 Sunderland Short Story Series

April 29 & 30 All-Abilities Social - Rock Painting

April 30 Movement Based Empowerment Workshop

April 30 Parenting Journey II

Twelve Week Series on Tuedays

May 1 2024 Law Day

May 2 Erving Public Library: Presenting Mister G

May 3 Perinatal Mental Health Awareness Day 2024 CONNECTIONS

May 3 Garden Path Group Field Trip

May 4 Cornhole Tournament

May 4 Hawley Woods Walk

May 6 Finding The Mother Tree - May Book Discussion

May 11 - June 22 Saturday Morning Buddy Baseball

May 18 Heart of Leyden Running Fest

May 22 Overdose Prevention & Narcan Training

Register Here!


Improving Housing to Improve Health News

Re-Entry Foundational Manufacturing Program

April at The Art Garden

April Brick House Events

April Community Action Family Center Calendar

April Franklin County Reentry Center Calendar

April Programs - Great Falls Discovery Center

April Montague Public Library Programs

April Events at the Sunderland Public Library

April Union 28 Community Network for Children Program Calendar

July - August at Hilltown Youth Recovery Theatre

Spring & Summer Pothole Pictures

Summer at The Art Garden

2024 Seeds of Solidarity Calendar of Events

SNAP Application Assistance
Always Open! Community Labyrinth in Greenfield

NQRC Weekly Schedule

RECOVER Project Groups At a Glance
Weekdays All Recovery Meeting at
The RECOVER Project


The Community Closet at The Franklin County Reentry Center

Monday - Friday
Movement Group with North Quabbin Recovery Center Peer Leaders
Mondays North Quabbin Patch Parents' Council

Mondays Breaking Barriers at the Franklin County

Reentry Center

Mondays Art Guild Meetings
Mondays Advanced Manufacturing Info Sessions
Monday Drug Court Alumni Group - North Quabbin

Second Mondays of the Month - North Quabbin B.R.A.V.E. Task Force Meetings

Mondays Alternatives to Suicide Group

2nd Mondays

Greenfield Healing Clinic

2nd and 4th Mondays
Parenting Together at the Brick House

Third Monday Alphabet & Allies

Third Monday Parenting With Pride

Mondays and Wednesdays
Restless, Irritable, and Discontent: Your Brain in Recovery

Tuesdays Peer-Led Grief and Loss Circle

First Tuesday - Dads' Group at Valuing Our Children

Tuesday Tea Time & Community Resource Drop-In

Tuesdays North Quabbin Recovery Center Coffee Hour

Tuesdays Greenfield Suicide Loss Group

First Tuesday - P.A.R.T. Task Force

Tuesdays Drop-In Knitting & Sewing Sessions

2nd Tuesdays New Member Orientation at the RECOVER Project

Tuesday & Thursdays Weekly Reentry Groups

Tuesday Men's Anger Management Group

Wednesday Women's Anger Management Group

Wednesdays - Wendell Library Playgroup with Sylvia

Wednesdays - Playgroup at the Leverett Library with Gillian

Wednesdays - Housing Navigator Sessions at the Franklin County Reentry Center
Wednesdays HEROES Study Hub at GCC
Wednesdays Men's Support Group:
Keep Moving Forward

Third Wednesday of the Month

Last Wednesday of the Month Office Hours With An Atto

First & Third Thursdays Parent Support Group
Thursdays Recovery Support Group Meetings at the Franklin County Reentry Center
Thursdays Coffee Hour at the Brick House
Thursdays Beyond Trauma Group in Spanish
Second Thursdays Every Month, Peer Grief Support

Fridays FreeWrite of Franklin County

First Friday of Every Month: Open Mic at the RP

Every First & Third Friday - Grandparents & Kinship Support Group

Every Second Friday Chosen Family Night

Every Third Friday: Karaoke at The RECOVER Project

Last Friday of the Month: Gardening in Recovery
Homeshare Program with LifePath
Act Now to Stay Covered with MassHealth
DIAL/SELF AmeriCorps Opportunity at
Montague Catholic Social Ministries
CHCFC OBAT Same Day & Tele-Health Appointment Information
Free English Classes
Free Meals and Essentials
Saints James and Andrews Parish Hall
Come Cook with Franklin County
Community Meals Program
A Residential Program of Behavioral Health Network
Orange Food Pantry Seeking Non-Food Donations
The Franklin County Community Meals Program seeking non-food donations for its Orange Food Pantry

When people think of donating to our agency and food pantry, they often think of food- however, that's easier for us to obtain with local partnerships with farms and retailers. What we struggle to keep stocked are hygienic & household products, such as:

  • Adult pull-ups size Medium, Large, & XL
  • Menstrual products
  • Bath products- bath wash or bar soap, shampoo, conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Floss
  • Mouthwash
  • Toothpaste (we have plenty of toothbrushes currently!)
  • Paper Towels
  • Toilet Paper
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Dish Soap
  • Household cleaners- Windex, multi-surface, floor cleaner, etc.

Dozen-sized egg cartons for repackaging the hundreds of eggs we receive weekly from retailers are also needed.

Please share this list amongst your networks! Donations can be dropped off at 324 Wells Street (the Franklin County Community Distribution Center) at our office, or if donating a large amount, drop-off can be coordinated via donate@fccmp.org. (Image credit: Pixabay)
Family Self-Sufficiency Program Available
Eviction Self-Help Booklets Available in Multiple Languages

MLRI has recently updated and translated some of our self-help booklets for unrepresented tenants facing eviction. While we still recommend tenants facing eviction seek legal help, we know resources are limited and many tenants have to represent themselves. We hope these booklets can be helpful to pro se tenants and their advocates.

You can see the full list of booklets below, or at MassLegalHelp. The booklets can help tenants prepare for court, outline their legal claims, and file court forms. There is also a booklet to help public housing tenants navigate the Grievance process.

Please reach out if you have any questions about the booklets and how they can be used.

What steps to take before going to court and what to bring to court.

An easy-to-use checklist that tells you what conditions violate the State Sanitary Code. You can also use the free self-help guided interview, MADE: Up To Code.

The Answer is a court form that tenants facing evictions can file with the court to outline your legal claims and tell the court your side of the story. You can also use Greater Boston Legal Services’ free self-help guided interview, MADE

How to ask the court to accept your Answer and Discovery forms late.  You can also use Greater Boston Legal Services’ free self-help guided interview, MADE.

A form with instructions for tenants facing eviction to get information to prepare for their trial.

A form with instructions for tenants in foreclosed properties to get information to prepare their case. 

A form you can file to transfer your eviction case from a District Court to a Housing Court.

How to get a new court date if you missed your court date.

If you lost your eviction trial and think you have a good case, you may appeal. This document tells you which Appeal form to use.

How to file an appeal from a case in Housing Court.

How to file an appeal from a case in District Court.

How to get time to stay in your home if you lost your case.

How to ask the court to pay for court costs. 

How to think through the terms you want in an agreement. Includes a worksheet and stipulation forms to use when you go to court. Read this booklet as webpages and watch the videos!

How to correct errors on your online court records. The Booklet includes the court form you can save to your computer, fill out, save again and print when ready.

A booklet for tenants in Mass. about the grievance process, including worksheets to help you prepare for a grievance hearing.

Update! Greenfield CSC New Hybrid Operations Change
The Greenfield Court Service Center is located at 43 Hope St., 1st Floor, Greenfield, MA.

They offer in-person services on Tuesdays & Thursdays, ONLY, from 8:30 am-1 pm, and 2 pm-4 pm. Remote services (email, phone, Zoom) are available on Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays.

For an intake, contact the Virtual Court Service Center, Mon. thru Fri. 9 am-12 pm by telephone: 1-646-828-7666, press #, #, then enter meeting ID: 161 526 1140 or by video: www.zoomgov.com/j/1615261140.

Opioid Task Force of Franklin County and the North Quabbin Region www.opioidtaskforce.org
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