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GAF Mission

"to TEACH inner city youth and/or underprivileged persons to be successful entrepreneurs while revitalizing inner city neighborhoods with a concentration on socially responsible/sustainable business practices"

GAF is the
Western Mass Office for

Redefining "home."

There are not many things sweeter than coming home. Greeting your pet, snuggling up on your couch, enjoying a cup of coffee, sitting on the porch, sleeping in your own bed. Sometimes, when you’re in between physical homes, “home” becomes more of a person and less of a structure with four walls, a roof, windows, and doors. And when “home” becomes more of a person and less of a place, reunions are oh so sweet, and goodbyes are oh so hard.

Thankfully, we are in the reunion stage. And my heart is smiling brighter than my face.

Being 851 miles apart from your husband can easily make you very bitter, jealous, and depressed. It can consume and control your thoughts in the blink of an eye. Lonely nights, attending events alone, being a third wheel, dinners for one, phone calls for hours. It is hands down one of the biggest challenges I have faced, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

My long distance relationship (and now marriage) has taught me a lot about home. It has taught me a lot about appreciating and living in the moment. It has taught me a lot about Christ.

I am thankful for long distance because it forces my marriage to be built on communication. And sometimes that’s all we have (thank you texting, facetime, and snapchat!) I am thankful for long distance because it transforms eating a sandwich for lunch with your husband on a Monday from mundane to extraordinary. Long distance pushes me to my limits, brings me to my most highs and lows, and forces me to love in ways that I don’t humanly understand how. I may not be able to touch and see and experience day to day things with Kevin right now, but I know he’s always there, loving me from a distance. This reminds me of how Christ loves us and how long distance reminds me of faith. I choose to put my faith in a God that I cannot see, touch, or feel, and He unconditionally loves me “from a distance.” I am thankful for this realization and for this season of life. I pray that we never forget these long distance days apart because they are very much the foundation to OUR story.

And don’t get me wrong, I am over the moon EXCITED about finding ourselves a physical home together very soon. (We already have a realtor, eeeee!) In the same state. In the same city. Finally, in the same home. And as excited as I am to find a home together, move in, decorate, unpack those wedding gifts, etc…I have even greater comfort and excitement in one day living out our eternal home.

If you’re in a long distance relationship, my heart goes out to you. You are not alone, and you can do more than you imagine.

“For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.” –Colossians 2:5

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truth be told…

So here we are, MARRIED! I cannot express enough how beautiful and joyful our wedding day was! I will forever remember how perfectly everything and everyone came together and how much love was felt that day.

But truth be told, every time I hear the question “how’s married life?” a piece of my heart just sighs and doesn’t want to answer.

[Do I smile? Can I smile? Do I say it’s wonderful or great? Do I go into all of the details of our situation? If I do, maybe they don’t really want to know or care. Then comes the ‘oh, how unfortunate’ or ‘I’m so sorry, that must be so hard’ or ‘distance makes the heart grow fonder.’ Really? How convincing can I sound? What do I do?]

Yes, I get it. It’s not quite ideal (or natural) to get married, spend a week in Jamaica feeling on top of the world…and then spend 4 months apart. And it’s only been 2 weeks…that’s it. We don’t get to enjoy the first few months of marriage happily together in our newlywed home. We don’t get to start cooking dinners together, going on nightly walks, or finding our new “married routine.” We don’t get to use our new wedding gifts or go on spontaneous date nights. Instead, we get to encourage each other through text messages and prayer. We get to look forward to facetime and phone calls. We get to update daily countdowns until the next time we can see each other face to face. And we get to miss each other a whole, whole lot and appreciate more and more every second that we DO spend together.

As pitiful as I have felt over the past 2 weeks, I have learned now more than ever that I cannot do anything on my own. My plans are nothing compared to His, and only by His grace and guidance can I do any of this. Where I am weak and discouraged, my husband has been strong and encouraging. And through him, I often see Christ’s unwavering love. I am forever grateful for technology and plane tickets (3 more weeks!) and for the strength found through this experience. *Please do forgive me for any of the whining, frowns, complaints, or grumpy moods recently…I’m working on it!*

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Here’s a few pointers from a Upstate New Yorker. It’s not easy to drive in snow! Always, drive under the speed limit. Always, always drive cautiously! A must is, stay close to the yellow line. Slush and ice are plowed to the side of the road.. You will be pulled in, in a blink of an eye, if you get to close to the edge of the road. Always, bruah evey inch of snow off your car, before driving. The snow blows onto thr road and other cars behind you. Always, warm your car up before driving. This will hrlp keep your engine running better. Year round tires are a must. Always, keep extra blankets, scarf, hat mittens or gloves in your car, in case you break down. I wish you both the best.

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*Annual Gasoline Alley Foundation Holiday Party- December 5th*


Everyone is invited!!

Stop by to see your old friends, and make some new ones.

Saturday, December 5th, 2015


Beer , Wine, Munchies

Manfort Mansion Band will perform for your listening pleasure

Manfort Mansion- 270 Albany Street

Artifact's First Anniversary Block Party


Come join us to celebrate Artifact Cider Project’s first year of making locally sourced hard cider!

There will be 4 food trucks, 4 bands, lawn games, and of course a full draft line of our ciders featuring an exclusive anniversary cider release, only available on the 19th.

This is an all ages, family friendly event with no cover charge, but remember to bring your ID if you’re over 21 so we can serve you up some delicious cider.

Featuring music:
– Manfort Mansion
– Carinae
– Great Smokey
– The No No’s

Featuring food:
– Wheelhouse Farm Truck
– Holyoke Hummus Company
– Velma’s Wicked Delicious Kettle Corn
– Sidecar Bakery

Comment on Groundbreaking Ceremony by Mary Moultrie

Posted on by John Majercak

Our Groundbreaking ceremony yesterday was spectacular!  Over 100 of our supporters and partners were on hand to celebrate the fact that we now own the property at 83 Warwick Street and construction is about to get underway.

The theme for the event was “We are all pieces of the puzzle,” to reflect on how many individual efforts are needed in order to piece together this project.

Instead of holding the traditional golden shovel, honored guests assembled an oversized puzzle.  And everybody got a puzzle-themed pin (made from reclaimed trim and recycled paint, of course).

Here is a copy of the program that lists all of our supporters and partners.

Here’s ourmedia release from the event.

You can view some of the great media coverage at these links:

22 News

We’ll post a photo album from the event soon.  In July, we’ll give you a look at the plans for the building from inside and out!

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One Response to Groundbreaking Ceremony

  1. Mary Moultrie says:

    Congratulations on reaching your goal!! I enjoyed working with you and look forward to seeing the completed project Summer 2011

    Mary Moultrie

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Comment on Photos of the Groundbreaking Ceremony by Gerry LeBlanc

Posted on by John Majercak

For those of you who missed our Groundbreaking – we’ve posted a photo album of the event on Facebook!  Thanks again to everyone for making it such a great event.

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One Response to Photos of the Groundbreaking Ceremony

  1. Gerry LeBlanc says:

    Great photos!

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Comment on Landscaping Day Two by Andrea Gauvin

Posted on by admin

More amazing machinery and talented operators on the job today. They are recovering some awesome locust trees that will be milled into lumber for our new parapet. Check out the slide show to see the changes around the building (as in: now you can see the building) and how it is being accomplished. Now we can get to the walls to install our super insulated metal panels that will transform the performance and look of the building. Next up is transforming the overgrown, disintegrating parking lot into one with drainage that will meet USGBC LEED standards. We know our customers and donors will also enjoy the ample amount of parking spaces and the easy access to the store.

Locust Log Landscaping Day Two

Loader 24 Landscaping Day Two

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2 Responses to Landscaping Day Two

  1. Andrea Gauvin says:

    What a great picture of the machinery! It’s amazing how quickly the parking lot has been transformed into…well, a parking lot!

    • Suresh says:

      Great information; howeevr, one thing wasn’t mentioned .When the perforated pipe is laid down I was told that the holes face DOWN, not up which is how most people would think it works. If that were true then a layer of stone should be placed under to pipe or the mud will clog up the perforations. If I’m mistaken, please post the correction. If the holes were face up you would have the water level above the pipe before it started to drain.

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Comment on Prepping The Lot For Drainage by Lisa

Posted on by admin

cleared site 300x200 Prepping The Lot For Drainage

Now the site is cleared and the work can begin to create the parking lot which will feature plenty of spots compared to our current lot.

While you will never see it, the drainage system will be very cool. In order to send storm water as slowly as possible into the city sewer system, we have installed a system of drywells that could contain a “50 year” storm.  This is the worst storm that might come along only once every 50 years.  The drywells are perforated cement containers fed by drains in the parking lot surface.drywells from the side2 300x200 Prepping The Lot For Drainage There is enough capacity to contain the water from the “50 year” storm and let it gradually drain out through the perforations. Visit the drainage gallery to see more pictures of the process.

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One Response to Prepping The Lot For Drainage

  1. Lisa says:

    LOVE IT!!! What a forward thinking initiative to lighten the burden of storm water overflow into the river!

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Comment on Envelope Design by Material reuse you can touch « Gasoline Alley Foundation

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armory view blog Envelope Design

If the new EcoBuilding Bargains’ exterior grabs your attention as you whiz down Armory Street – that’s what we’re intending.  This is a high traffic corridor and not all the traffic will be coming to the store.  They may be curious about the new construction on Warwick Street.  We’d like them to know what’s up and be curious enough to stop by for a visit.  For returning customers used to finding the store on Albany Street, the arresting green and white exterior will orient them to the new location.

But the building’s design is not just about bringing in customers, it’s also about showing how you can give new life to an older inefficient building.  We definitely aim to show that repurposing older commercial buildings can be exciting!

This year, EcoBuilding Bargains, formerly known as the ReStore, changed its look. A new logo, a new name, and a new tagline – “recycled stuff from floors to doors” – were developed so that people would have a better sense of what the store offers.  Many design decisions — from the super-sized logo to the insulated metal panel colors to the recycled and repurposed materials in the vestibule — reinforce these exciting changes.


corner construction blog1 Envelope Design

The exterior facade design highlights the most dramatic change in the building:  the use of 3” thick insulated metal panels to wrap the old brick warehouse. Although insulated metal panels are not uncommon on commercial buildings, you may be more familiar with them as the exterior cladding used for cold storage buildings and food processing plants.  Here they were combined with 7 ½” of repurposed roof insulation to economically create a new “envelope” for the older building.

From a design standpoint, the panels extend up at the corner and are wrapped by CET’s logos to increase visibility from the nearby intersection.   Working with the standard color choices, panel colors are varied to break down the scale of the building and to demonstrate a complete transformation into a modern, recognizable retail environment.

EcoBuilding Bargains corner blog1 Envelope Design


A guiding principle in all of my work is that every design move has to do double-duty.  In this case, we located the single “peek-a-boo” window for maximum impact. Due to structural and economic constraints, we were only allowed one window.

The location at the corner permits approaching visitors to see what’s happening inside.  Customers on the inside get a welcome view out to the newly-planted, colorful, and low-maintenance hillside.  At the same time, the thickness of the opening around the window reveals the layering of the new metal panels onto the old brick building.

The design goal was to have the envelope not only improve the building’s performance, but also convey the non-profit’s goals to customers and passersby.


Be sure to come by and check out the view!


Caryn Brause, Principal  SITELAB Architecture + Design

window blog Envelope Design


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  1. Pingback: Material reuse you can touch « Gasoline Alley Foundation

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