When a tornado watch was announced for Western Massachusetts earlier this week, thousands of residents of the Commonwealth and hundreds of employees at the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) held their breath. Memories of the June 1, 2011 tornados and storms are still fresh in the minds of everyone who experienced the destruction and are part of the ongoing recovery.
Last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. JudyAnn Bigby personally congratulated 25 DTA staff members who received the Manuel Carballo Award for their work in the tornado recovery efforts. These Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (DSNAP) Key Contributors, who work in DTA offices in Springfield, Southbridge, Holyoke, Worcester, and Boston, are representative of their nearly 500 DTA staff who also worked to provide food assistance to more than 20,000 households affected by the tornados.
I was not at DTA last June, but I have heard many stories about the long, hot days my colleagues spent in our offices, and in tents, to bring whatever comfort they could to residents who lost everything. They worked day and night – some foregoing their vacations, and all sacrificing sleep and time with their family and friends – to coordinate and manage an unprecedented event for the Department. Their compassion, dedication, and teamwork reflect the essence of DTA’s mission to assist low-income individuals and families to meet their basic needs, increase their incomes, and improve their quality of life.
With disaster recovery plans well-tested and proven following the June 2011 tornados, many of these DSNAP team members leapt into action again following Hurricane Irene last August and the snowstorm in late October 2011. Some of our employees came to work after those storms, despite the fact that their own homes lost power and needed repair.
While I’m sure we all hope for peaceful weather throughout 2012, I am confident that the DTA team is prepared for anything Mother Nature sends our way.
…and to everyone at DTA who participated in administering DSNAP. I am proud to stand beside you.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month posted on Oct 15
In 1994, after four years of intense investigation and testimony, Congress concluded that there was a pervasive problem of sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking among women in the United States. As a result,the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed. This legislation was the …Continue Reading October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
October is Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month posted on Oct 6
This month, Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz announced an infant safe sleep campaign focused on the importance of infant safe sleep practices and promoting ways to reduce risks associated with Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), the leading cause of death among infants between …Continue Reading October is Infant Safe Sleep Awareness Month
Statewide Listening Sessions: Services for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Late-deafened Adults and Children posted on Sep 25
Join Heidi Reed, Commissioner of Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH), DHILS providers, the Disability Policy Consortium, and the Disability Law Center at a listening session in communities across the Commonwealth to share experiences with state services for deaf, hard of hearing, and late-deafened adults …Continue Reading Statewide Listening Sessions: Services for Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Late-deafened Adults and Children