SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Mercy Medical Center held their first annual Caritas Gala Saturday night.
The event theme, “All You Need is Love,” brought more than 600 people to the MassMutual Center to raise money for opioid treatment.
Dr. Robert Roose, Vice President of Mercy’s Behavioral Health Care Services, told 22News that the hospital is making strides against opioid abuse. He said, “Over the last few years the rates of addiction and overdoses have grown dramatically. Mercy and Providence Hospital have prided itself on being a leader on addressing the opioid epidemic. So we are doing everything we can to meet that community demand for treatment, by providing access to high quality, lifesaving care.”
On Valentine’s Day, Mercy Behavioral Health opened an opioid treatment and recovery program. Their outpatient centers treat more than 1000 people a day.
Caritas Gala Honorary Chairperson Brenda Garton-Sjoberg told 22News how this event is erasing the stigma associated with addiction. She said, “We need to love those people who are going through dire needs and addictions and need our help and need our services and tonight we’re raising money to expand those services.”
Chairman John Sjoberg told 22News, “Everybody has been touched in some way, so we are absolutely ecstatic to be able to have this incredible turnout tonight. To be able to not only raise the stigma, but also raise some very important funds.”
Guests enjoyed a silent auction, dinner, and were educated on how they can help fight opioid abuse.
The Caritas Gala is in honor of Sister Mary Caritas and all proceeds from Saturday night’s event will go towards creating a new inpatient treatment program.