Area briefs: It Takes a Village toys and coat drive; Transhealth Holigay party; Wistariahurst market, open house

Wistariahurst, in Holyoke.

Wistariahurst, in Holyoke.

Published: 11-30-2023 10:07 AM

Decking the
Hilltowns with toys and winter warmth

HUNTINGTON — Several businesses, schools, and agencies in the Hilltowns are collecting toys and winter clothing to benefit local families through It Takes a Village, a small nonprofit based in Huntington.

The nonprofit manages the Village Closet, a donation center full of free baby and children’s clothing, diapers, and other essential supplies. Last year, the Village Closet welcomed over 600 families between Thanksgiving and Christmas, distributing over $80,000 in toys, books, and winter clothing.

Among the groups organizing collection drives is the Huntington Fire Department. On Saturday, Dec. 16, Santa will participate in the town’s annual Parade of Lights, riding around town on a fire truck. In addition to handing out candy door-to-door, Santa will collect new, unwrapped toys from any house that wishes to donate. Families can also drop off toys at the Huntington Fire Department at an open house from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. on Dec. 16.

Agencies collecting toys this year include Westhampton Congregational Church and Westhampton Public Library, 1 North Road; Northampton Key Club Toy Exchange, with drop off Friday, from 5-8 p.m. at 380 Elm St. in Northampton; Williamsburg Hair, 45A Main St., Williamsburg, through Sunday, Dec. 10; and Gateway Regional Project 351, 12 Littleville Road, Huntington, through Dec. 14.

Agencies collecting coats include the Hilltown Family Center, 9 Russell Rd, Huntington, through Thursday; New Hingham PTO, 30 Smith Road, Chesterfield, through Dec. 8; and Done Right Chimney, 49 Main St., Unit #4, Williamsburg, through Dec. 9.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

New owners of old Northampton Post Office building on the hunt for tenants
Restaurateurs opening 2 businesses in Amherst face nearly $500K for violations at Eastern Mass. restaurants
Hillside Pizza closes Hadley location, but business brisk at other locations
UMass will reportedly join the Mid-American Conference (MAC) in all sports in 2025-26
Amherst board relaxes zoning for big project next to UMass
Springfield diocese continues to court buyers for properties across Western Mass.

Families will be able to shop for toys for free at the Village Closet during the week of Dec. 18. Visit for details on open hours that week.

Community members who wish to donate winter coats and toys directly to the Village Closet can do so at 2 East Main St. in Huntington. The hours are Sundays and Mondays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and the first Tuesday of the month from 5-7 p.m.

Northampton FD firefighter graduates academy

SPRINGFIELD — Collin Stevenson of the Northampton Fire Department is among 25 firefighters to graduate from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy’s 50-day Career Recruit Firefighting Training Program in November.

In addition to Northampton, the graduating firefighters of Class #S34 represent the fire departments of Attleboro, Charlton, Chicopee, Douglas, East Longmeadow, Falmouth, Longmeadow, Lowell, Uxbridge, Ware, West Springfield, Westfield, and Westminster.

Students receive classroom training in all basic firefighter skills. They practice first under non-fire conditions and then during controlled fire conditions. To graduate, students must demonstrate proficiency in life safety, search and rescue, ladder operations, water supply, pump operation, and fire attack.

The MFA provides recruit and in-service training for career, call, and volunteer firefighters at every level of experience, from recruit to chief officer, at campuses in Stow, Springfield, and Bridgewater.

Transhealth to host annual Holigay Party

Transhealth, a health care organization serving the trans and gender-diverse community, will hold its second annual Holigay Party on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m.

The event, to be held at the Marigold Theater in Easthampton, will include music, dancing, and a performance by NPR Tiny Desk contest winner Quinn Christopherson.

Christopherson is an Ahtna Athabascan and Iñupiaq songwriter, born, raised, and based in Anchorage, Alaska. He was the 2019 winner of NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest with his song “Erase Me,” which NPR called “a nuanced take on his experience as a transgender man coming to terms with the power of his voice.”

The Holigay Party will also feature a cash bar, dancing, and opportunities for community connection. The event is open to everyone who supports the trans community.

Tickets are available by donation. No one will be turned away for a lack of funds. For more information contact Celia Overby at

Wistariahurst Holiday Open House and Festive Market

HOLYOKE — Wistariahurst’s Holiday Open House and Festive Market will take place this Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 2-3, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the 238 Cabot St. museum.

The event features a market with local vendors offering an array of products such as art, delicious treats, jewelry, and many other items. Throughout the event, people of all ages will be able to enjoy holiday story time, a model train, sample tasty treats, and groove to holiday tunes.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit