Oct 11, 2013
News photo by STEVE NYBERG
Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis, center, addresses those on hand for the annual Winter Coat Drive kick-off event at The Gardner Museum, Wednesday.
News Staff Writer
GARDNER — Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis’ annual Winter Coat Drive kicked off Wednesday at The Gardner Museum, which will serve as one of the main drop-off centers this season.
“One of my favorite things that we do every year is the coat drive. There is such a need in the community. It far exceeds what we are able to contribute. We are doing what we can,” the sheriff said. “It helps that we have so many great partners. Over the years, Wachusett Mountain has been our biggest donor, literally hundreds of coats — 500 to 1,000 at a time. They get us started. We also see such a great outpouring from communities such as Gardner.”
According to Mr. Evangelidis, last year’s campaign was a “great success” as more than 1,500 new and lightly used jackets were collected and distributed to families in need throughout the region.
“As many families continue to struggle during the winter months and especially during these tough economic times, winter coat donations are important this year more than ever,” he said.
For the third year in a row, the Gardner Community Action Committee will serve as the pickup location for the city and surrounding communities.
“I think the coat drive is wonderful. It is a huge asset to our community,” said CAC Director Julie Meehan.
“The donation of these new and lightly used jackets represents more than just a winter coat. They provide our clients with warmth, as well as a feeling of pride and self worth.”
The coat drive, initially launched as a volunteer effort through the Worcester County Reserve Deputy Sheriff’s Association, is set to run through early December.
Oct 2, 2013
Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis interviewed on Fox 25 News about the Face2Face Program.
Sep 26, 2013
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
By Gary V. Murray
WORCESTER — Federal, state and local law enforcement officials will join forces with social service agencies and others in an effort to keep high-risk offenders from returning to jail once they are released.
U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz came to Worcester Tuesday to announce her office’s partnership with the Worcester Re-entry Initiative Program, which is designed to identify high-risk jail inmates and offer them the tools they will need to stay on the straight and narrow upon their return to the community.
“We must never stop being tough on crime. But we must also be smart and efficient when battling crime and understanding the conditions and individual choices which cause it,” the U.S. attorney said during a press conference at the Worcester Trial Court.
“We look forward to the interagency and community partnerships that will measurably contribute to a decrease in crime and improvement in the quality of life for Massachusetts residents,” Ms. Ortiz said of the fledgling program.
A collaborative effort, the Worcester Re-entry Initiative Program will combine the resources of the Worcester Police Department gang unit, the offices of the U.S. attorney, Worcester County Sheriff Lewis G. Evangelidis and District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr., probation and parole officials, social services agencies, educators, mental health professionals, substance abuse treatment providers and faith-based organizations to try to reduce recidivism and enhance public safety.
The list of participants includes the sheriff’s After Incarceration Support Services, the state Department of Revenue, Spectrum Health Systems, Valley Psychiatric Services and the Counseling and Psychotherapy Center, Worcester Community Action Council, Workforce Central, the WISR Program and Straight Ahead Ministries.
“As sheriff, you learn one thing: and that is that so many people come back to prison when they get out. We’ve got to try to stop that type of circle of recidivism,” Sheriff Evangelidis said.
An important component of the program, which is modeled after the award-winning Boston Re-entry Initiative, is to identify jail inmates who are at the greatest risk of re-offending when they get out and to offer them an opportunity to begin turning their lives around even before they are set free, according to the sheriff.
The pre-release assistance might come in the form of enabling an inmate to obtain his GED, offering advice on finding employment or providing needed drug or psychiatric counseling, he said.
“If he’s in a jail cell one day and on Main Street the next day, it’s a recipe for disaster,” Mr. Early said. “You’ve got to get to them before they get out the door. Are we going to be successful on every single one? Absolutely not. But we know we’re going to do better.”
Pre-release participants will be encouraged to forge relationships with individuals representing resources that will be necessary for success on the outside, including parole and probation officers, and will undergo “intense” supervision upon release from custody to ensure greater accountability, according to Ms. Ortiz.
“This innovative program’s effectiveness is built around providing high-risk offenders with a choice of not the usual carrot-and-stick approach, but that of a carrot and hammer, be productive or pay the consequences,” Sheriff Evangelidis said.
Those who are willing to accept the help being offered and continue to strive to become productive citizens will benefit, while those who return to lives of crime may find themselves serving lengthy state or federal prison sentences, he said.
The program got underway in July with eight Worcester County Jail and House of Correction inmates and it is expected to work with an average of 90 to 100 high-risk inmates a year.
The goal of the program is to help ex-offenders transform themselves into productive citizens and, at the same time, to enhance public safety by reducing crime, officials said.
“It really isn’t just for the inmates, it’s for their families, it’s for the entire community,” the sheriff said.
Sep 13, 2013
New England Revolution star forward and Leominster native Diego Fagundez (left) holds a jacket with Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis (middle) and Revs Mascot Slyde (right) following practice at Gillette Stadium.
Milford Patch – September 13, 2013
Fall is a beautiful time in New England, but it’s also a reminder that cold weather is on the way. To help those less fortunate prepare for the winter months, the New England Revolution are teaming up to host the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office annual winter coat drive before the teams match against D.C. United on Sept. 21 at Gillette Stadium.
New or gently used coats can be turned in between 6:15 and 7:30 p.m. at the Bank of America Gate (northwest corner) or NRG Plaza (north end) at the Stadium on the 21st, and all fans making donations will receive an autographed Revolution player card.
“New England winters feel colder every year, so we’re happy to do what we can to help make sure kids and adults here get the coats they need,” said Revolution forward and Leominster native Diego Fagundez. “We hope our fans join in and donate winter coats at our game on Sept. 21, so families stay warmer this winter.”
Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis visited with Fagundez at a recent Revolution practice to discuss the importance of helping low-income families keep kids warm during the winter months.
“I am so excited to partner with the New England Revolution for our Annual Winter Coat Drive,” said Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis. “As the cold weather months approach, and especially during these difficult economic times, there is an incredible need for suitable winter coats. Teaming up with the New England Revolution on September 21st for the game day coat drive will help so many in our area who may be less fortunate.”
The Worcester County Sheriff’s Office distributes thousands of coats to local community centers every year, and the drive on the 21st will wrap the Revolution’s 2013 series of charity donation drives – which began in July with a soccer equipment collection for Rhode Island-based project GOAL and continued in August with a school supplies drive for Cradles to Crayons.