Saturday, September 6, 2014

Forging Ahead on All Fronts






The green line shows the number of household visits per month in 2014 to the Friendship Center Food Pantry. We’re busier than ever.


In this post: RX/Heroin addiction topic of Sept. 19 meeting; Letter Campaign Underway; LEAD Academy Visits; Recent Public Meetings; Volunteer Appreciation; Who We Are

Important Topic for our Sept. 19 meeting

The next public meeting of the Interfaith Action Initiative will be held on Friday, Sept. 19, at 10 a.m. at the First Baptist Church of North Adams. All are welcome. Our guest will be Lois Daunis, chairwoman of the NB21 North Adams/RX Heroin Workgroup.

The meeting will be held in the Eagle Street Room. All are welcome to attend.

She will speak about the scope of the scope of the RX/Heroin issue in Northern Berkshire.

Lois is the grants manager for the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition. She and her husband, Mike, are also the landlords of 43 Eagle Street, home of the Friendship Center Food Pantry. They have been extremely generous to us over the years and continue to be so.

I am a member of the NB21 North Adams/RX Heroin Workgroup and it has done and is doing some important work. 

Upcoming on Tuesday, Sept. 30, from 7 to 9 p.m. will be a Candlelight Vigil at Noel Field in North Adams. The purpose of this will be to increase awareness of the disease of addiction, get resources to help someone currently addicted, provide a place for healing and remembrance for those who have lost a loved one due to a drug-related incident and celebrate the recovery of local residents.

Letter Campaign Underway

Mark Rondeau, Corinne Case and Al Nelson, all board members of the NBIAI, film “In the Company of Friends” on the topic of the need for funds to feed our Friends.

The NBIAI at the end of August began its annual letter fundraising campaign for The Friendship Center Food Pantry. 

Many of you who are reading this may already have received a letter in the mail asking for a monetary donation to support the food pantry, which serves residents of North Adams, Clarksburg and Florida.

Those who do not receive a letter but who would still like to make a tax-deductible donation, may make checks payable to The Friendship Center Food Pantry and send them to 43 Eagle St.. North Adams, MA 01247.

Need as expressed in the number of people showing up at the pantry every Wednesday is steadily increasing. In August, the Frienship Center Food Pantry served 163, 154, 189 and 198 households on successive Wednesdays. We served an average of 143 households per Wednesday in August 2013. This August we averaged 176 households per Wednesday.

In addition to increasing numbers, we also are facing some increasing expenses. None of our expenses are for salaries or any type of compensation, however  — we remain an all--volunteer organization.

Our mailing includes both a letter and on the back of it an information sheet.  Here are some of the infomation points that it contains:

• The Friendship Center Food Pantry is operated by members of the Northern Berkshire Interfaith Action Initiative (NBIAI), a group of volunteers, including people of faith and others of goodwill, seeking ways to serve our community. It was formed in May 2010. In our service activities we strive to reach out to our sisters and brothers with respect and affection. This is why we call our food pantry/headquarters “The Friendship Center.” 

• In 2013 we served 1,064 different households representing 3,423 different individuals, one-third who are children under 18. We distributed 230,000 pounds of food. The pantry is open to anyone in need living in North Adams, Clarksburg and Florida, Mass., but we never turn anyone away. We are members of the Western Massachusetts Food Bank, which provides free government food and other food at good prices. Our monthly average spent on food is around $3,800.  

• Due to limited space (800 square feet) at the pantry site, we have been using the Eagle Street Room of the First Baptist Church of North Adams as an intake center every Wednesday. From there, our members go down to the pantry as space permits. 

• Use of the Eagle Street Room has allowed us to partner with Berkshire Medical Center to provide a nurse to our members nearly every Wednesday. In addition, Goodwill, the Food Bank of Western Mass., the Family Place, WIC, Louison House and other programs regularly are present to offer their free services to pantry members.

Just within the last month or so, we have added to this list The Elizabeth Freeman Center and Childcare of the Berkshires.


Keeping the shelves full takes money as well as volunteer power. 


MCLA LEAD Academy Visits



Here are the students from the MCLA Lead Academy who volunteered during the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 6. They were a joy to have around.

For the fourth year, the Friendship Center Food Pantry was pleased to welcome students from the MCLA LEAD Academy, an introductory training program for especially motivated new students. 

On Monday, Aug. 4, we welcomed two groups of the new students. Al Nelson, Rich Davis and Mark Rondeau explained the NBIAI and the operations of the food pantry to them.

Then, on Wednesday, Aug. 6,  a smaller group of the students came and helped us on pantry day. They were a special help that Wednesday, because we did not have access to the Eagle Street Room for our visiting friends to sign in.

As I wrote on Facebook, these students were a joy to have around, and it’s great to have them in North Adams for their college studies.


Here are the two groups of students from the MCLA Lead Academy who visited the Friendship Center on Monday, Aug. 4.


Recent Meetings


The Rev. Jennifer Gregg, of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Pittsfield, presented on “Coping in a Chaotic World” at our June public meeting.

It’s time to catch up on our public interfaith meetings over the summer. In June, the Rev. Jennifer Gregg, of St. Stephen’s Church in Pittsfield, presented to us for a second time. At our suggestion, she addressed the topic “Coping in a Chaotic World.” 

She offered us insights from Margaret Whately on science and chaos theory and human interaction. Rev. Jen always goes above and beyond and we greatly appreciate her presentations.

At the July NBIAI public meeting, we welcomed State Rep. Gail Carriddi, who informed us on many aspects of what’s been going on with the Legislature. This included the recent state minimum hike to the highest in the nation, $11 by 2017. Gail also talked about funding for food. This was one of our best attended recent events, with 18 people present. Gail was very gracious to come and happy to answer everyone’s questions.


State Rep. Gail Cariddi, in striped shirt, spoke on many topics at our July Interfaith public meeting.

Volunteer Appreciation


Photo taken toward the end of the well-attended volunteer appreciation pot luck at Joan and Stan Owczarski’s home in North Adams on Aug. 21

On Thursday, Aug. 21, Stan and Joan Owczarski hosted a covered dish supper at their home in North Adams. It was a great and well-attended event. One of the best things was it helped introduce those who usually volunteer during the pantry 10 to 2 shift with those who volunteer 4 to 6 p.m. There’s not a lot of overap. And then we have the Tuesday crew, who help bring the food up from the depot in Pittsfield. 

The food was great, the fellowship enjoyable. Tuesday and Wednesday volunteer Kevin Tyree met his ALS ice bucket challenge (video of which you can find on our Facebook page) and others did it, too, including Stan.

Stan has served as our new volunteer coordinator for several months now. It’s also worth mentioning the great work of our interim treasurer Fran Berasi. In addition to handling and coordinating the tasks of treasurer, Fran has led in the integration of our pantry records of friend visits into the Oasis system database.

Fran has also been training other desk volunteers in the use of the system and has been working at both shifts for the past several weeks.

Hats off to Stan and Fran and all the rest of our great volunteers.

Who We Are

Some of this information is above, but in case you missed it....

The Northern Berkshire Interfaith Action Initiative is a group of people of different faiths and denominations working with others of good will to serve our community. We operate the Friendship Center Food Pantry at 43 Eagle St. in North Adams. We also manage an emergency voucher system through various sites in Northern Berkshire. We organize an interfaith service for mental illness recovery and understanding each year.

We also have a television show, “In the Company of Friends,” on NBCTC cable access channel 15

Our public meetings are held the third Friday of every month at 10 a.m. at the First Baptist Church of North Adams (use Eagle Street entrance). All are welcome. 

For more information, check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Northern-Berkshire-Interfaith-Action-Initiative-Friendship-Center/100392236707183?ref=bookmarks or call Mark Rondeau at 413-664-0130.

Thanks for Your Interest and God Bless,

Mark








Monday, June 16, 2014

Meeting topic: ‘Coping in a Chaotic World’



Rev. Jennifer Gregg, back to camera, led us in a retreat back in September, 2013.

‘Coping in a Chaotic World’

The theme of the Friday, June 20, Interfaith Action Initiative meeeting will be “Coping in a Chaotic World.”

Our presenter for this workshop will bethe Rev. Jennifer Gregg, priest at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Pittsfield. The meeting will start at  10 a.m. at the First Baptist Church of North Adams (Please use Eagle Street entrance). Call Mark at 413-664-0130 with any questions.

Here is a description of her presentation:
  
“Life pulls at us in a variety of different directions. When the demands and needs are the greatest, it is easy to feel as we have been pulled into a vortex of chaos. And yet, in the beginning God created out of chaos.”  

“From a formless void God spoke life into being, unleashing God's creative power. This workshop will invite participants to look at how they respond to chaos, consider change and chaos from the perspective of Margaret Wheatley in Leadership and the New Science, and finally, given some hands-on techniques to re-center ourselves in the midst of an ever changing world.” 

Rev. Gregg, with the help of Sue Walker, led a great retreat meeting at the September 2013 Interfaith meeting. It was our first retreat meeting, and it was a great success.

The topic then was “Time Apart:  An Invitation to Rest after Feeding 5,000” and we relaxed and meditated up on the Gospel accounts of Jesus feeding a crowd by multiplying loaves and fishes. 

This topic — “Coping in a Chaotic World” — is I think a very timely one in the wake of what is going on the world, internationally, nationally and locally. From climate change in increasing chaos in the Middle East to gridlocked polarization and anger here to the closing of North Adams Regional Hospital.

BMC at our May meeting



Diane Kelly, right, chief operational officer of Berkshire Medical Center, and Sean Jennings, left, a vice president at BMC, at our May Interfaith meeting. 

Our May 16 monthly meeting was quite exciting. Diane Kelly, chief operational officer of Berkshire Medical Center, announced that a satellite emergency room would be reopening on the campus of the former North Adams Regional. We were the first group in Northern Berkshire to get confirmation of this.

With Kelly was Sean Jennings, a BMC vice president. Some 27 people attended the meeting. We had a wide-ranging and positive discussion of about an hour. Much information was shared. We thanked Kelly and Jennings for their continued support in providing a nurse each Wednesday for visitors to the Friendship Center Food Pantry. This was a service started under Northern Berkshire Health Systems and generously continued by BMC after the closing of NARH. 

In fact, this meeting with BMC was set up when Mr. Jennings came up one Wednesday to address concerns by some pantry members about their experiences at BMC and transportation to Pittsfield. We thank them for coming, all who attended, and Mark Rondeau, Corinne Case and Al Nelson of the NBIAI for setting up and facilitating the meeting.

“I’m a registered nurse, I’ve been a registered nurse at Berkshire for 30 years," Kelly told us.

She lives in in Dalton, the mother of three grown sons. "And I'm really happy to be here,” she said. “I will tell you, I acutally started, my first nursing job was at North Adams Regional Hospital. It was 30 years ago."

This occasioned some laughter because some in the group were nurses or staff there then, too.

“It was my first nursing job and I was in Labor and Delivery and I realized I was in way over my head. 21 years old, I said, ‘Oh, I’ve got to get out of there, this is too hard for me,’” she said with a laugh.

“I do know what it’s like to live in a small community. I’ve lived in Dalton my entire life. I was born there, my whole family is there, so I appreciate the importance and the  vitality of a community, how close knit." So very pleased to be welcomed.”

Jennings said he oversees many of BMC’s support services, “my primary function is the patient experience so I stay kind of connected to many different ways of listening to our community, both good and bad — we need both of those to improve and to recognize our staff when things are going really well.”

He’s from Pittsfield and been in the health system a long time, too. Most of his clinical work experience has been in psychiatry and psychology. His graduate work was in forensic psychology, so he’s spent a lot of time working on the mental health needs of Berkshire County. “It’s great to be here,” he said.

Less than two weeks later, we were gratified when in addition to a nurse a representative of the BMC Wound Center, Tammy Flynn, came to the Eagle Street Room on Wednesday, May 28, to inform our pantry members of this service.

Looking ahead, our Friday, July 18, Interfaith meeting will feature State Rep. Gailanne Cariddi talking about food security and state funding and more.


Tammy Flynn, from the BMC Wound Center, came to do outreach at the pantry on May 28, with Matt, visiting and observing from a hospital in Connecticut.


Letter Carrier Drive a huge success


Scenes from the Letter Carrier food drive.


The May 10 Letter Carrier Food Drive was a great success in Northern Berkshire. We had the greatest number of volunteers than ever — more than 50 — in the four years we have been in charge of sorting the food, which we did again this year at 107 Main St. in North Adams.

In all, some 13,322 lbs. of food were collected from  North Adams, Clarksburg, and Florida. This is what we handled, some of which went to other programs in North Adams. Down in Adams, they collected 6,470 lbs. and in Williamstown, 5,522 lbs. Grand total in Northern Berkshire, five communities of 25,314 lbs. Thanks to Al Nelson for compiling these totals.

And thanks to the great folks of the post office, particularly the letter carriers. They go above and beyond and are a joy to work with. Speaking not only for myself, I can say that the day of the letter carrier food drive is one of the most of the year. Our food distribution coordinator, Rich Davis, has put together a great system for sorting the food.

Our numbers increase


Speaking of food, the chart above is a bit confusing when it comes to comparing May 2013 with May 2014, for this year May had 4 Wednesdays but last year there were 5 Wednesdays in May. Still, when you average out the weeks, last May we averaged we served an average of 137 households per week. By May 2014, this had risen to an average of 163 households per week. 

During our most recent week before this post was published — Wednesday, June 11, we served a total of 173 member households.

Presence around the community

Michelle Sylvester of WIC, left, Fran Berasi of the NBIAI/Friendship Center Food Pantry and Fran's sister Bert Lamb, of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, at the WIC open house. Below, Stan Owczarski, Corinne Case, and Mark Rondeau at the Health and Wellness Fair at St. Elizabeth Parish Center. Both events happened May 30.

On Friday, May 30, some of our volunteers attended two local events. For one, we paid a visit to our friend Michelle Sylvester and went to the WIC open house at its new home at 37 Main St., Suite 301, in North Adams Tel: 413-663-3012. 

WIC is an important nutrition program, the initials stand for Women Infants and Children.

Meanwhile, three of us staffed a table at the Health and Wellness Fair for older adults and caregivers at the St. Elizabeth Parish Center. This was organized by our friend Denise Vigna.

Several of us also were present at the SteepleCats game on Sunday afternoon, June 15, to work the concession. In addition to making some money for the program, this is a great opportunity to connect with the public. Thanks to our new volunteer coordinator, Stan Owczarski, for setting this up. We will be doing this a few more times during the summer.

Farewell to Stuart Crampton


Stuart Crampton, at left in blue shirt, with wife Susan next to him, at an organizational meeting of the food pantry, February 2011.

Stuart Crampton got on board with the NBIAI back in January 2011 when we were about to open a food pantry. He is the single person most responsible for the fact that the NBIAI/Friendship Center Food Pantry is financially in the black. He is the reason we oversee the ministry voucher system. He served as our treasurer for more than three years, resigning recently to get ready to move.

He and wife Susan will be leaving Williamstown in July to move to Ohio to be closer to family. Stuart will be missed, not only by by us at the NBIAI but also at the Berkshire Food Project, where he was a long time board member and also the treasurer.

In fact, the Berkshire Food Project recently held a dinner for Stuart, but as it was at a time when I work, I could not go. However, Stuart is still helping us and I got an email from him just this morning. Among other things, he has been trying to coordinate our collection of our produce shares at a local farm. He will probably doing something for us, the day before he and Susan head out of town.

Thank you and God Bless you, Stuart.

Mark



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Letter Carrier Food Drive; BMC at monthly Interfaith meeting


We're Giving Out More Food Than Ever


The line in green shows that April was our busiest month in more than three years operating the Friendship Center Food Pantry.


This past April had the most total household visits in our 3+ years as a food pantry: 815 total visits. We averaged 163 household visits per week; in April 2013 we averaged 139 visits per week.

As for the first week in May, we had 152 visits on Wednesday, May 7, a large number for the first week of the month. By comparison, last May we served 114 households in the first week of May.

So far I am aware of 5 or 6 people who lost their jobs when the hospital closed who have come to the pantry. Otherwise, I thnk the increase is due to reduction in food stamp (SNAP) benefits and in the cutoff of long-term unemployment insurance.

We brought in more than 5,000 lbs. of food this past Tuesday.

So the annual Letter Carrier Food Drive on Saturday, May 10, is very important. We get donations from North Adams, Clarksburg and Florida. These donations are split among the Friendship Center Food Pantry, the Berkshire Food Project, the Salvation Army and the Dream Center, all of whom do great work.

With the promotional help of Mass in Motion, last year we processed 15,500 lbs. of food donations in 2013, two tons more than in 2012.

This kept us going and saved us from having to pay much for food for a month. Please be generous.

Anyone interested and able to help in sorting the food collected in North Adams, Clarksburg and Florida should come down to 107 Main St. in North Adams (just west of the Mohawk Theater) between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. This takes a lot of volunteer power and is a lot of fun. Call the Friendship Center at 413-664-0123 if you need more information. Or you can email me at markrondeau@earthlink.net.


BMC at May 16th Interfaith meeting



Above, our pantry nurses, Cindy Croce and Barb Cariddi now both work for Berkshire Health Systems/Berkshire Medical Center, headquartered in Pittsfield. Below, NARH sign on Route 2 — sort of covered up.


In response to some complaints from North Adams people on their reception at Berkshire Medical Center, on Wednesday morning, April 30, Sean Jennings, MA VP Berkshire Medical Center Support Services addressed pantry members in the Eagle Street Room and answered questions about their concerns.

When I spoke to him afterward and mentioned that we have a monthly meeting, he immediately expressed interest and said he would try to have someone address us. He will be coming to our May 16 Interfaith meeting at 10 a.m. at the First Baptist Church of North Adams, Eagle Street Room. He said he was trying to get member/s of the Senior Team at BMC to attend also.

We will begin with our customary period of introductions, announcements, silent prayer and faith sharing.

Later, on April 30, I sent an email to Mr. Jennings. Here is what I wrote to him in part, answering his question about what we should discuss:


“As for topic, I think the concerns that were passed along...to Barb Cariddi from our pantry members about transportation and the attitude they encountered would be good. It would also be great to have an update to the extent possible about BMC's plans for north county and the NARH building.”

I added,

“I think many of us, myself included, are eager to find ways to partner with and encourage BHS and BMC in their efforts to fill in the void left by the bankruptcy of our health system. I personally had a [test] at the Crane Center on Friday, the first time I had been a patient at BMC, and was quite pleased with my care and the attitude of the people providing it.”

Back to now: The fact that I didn't have a problem doesn't mean that others from North County didn't have problems. In fact, my contact with non-medical personnel was minimal and limited to one person. And I HAD private transportation down to Pittsfield, which many people up here don't.

Anyway, I am looking forward to an enlightening and civil discussion, much as was had at the April meeting of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition on the hospital’s closing.

God Bless,

Mark

Saturday, April 26, 2014

NB Interfaith Action Springs Ahead


Looking Ahead: Letter Carrier Food Drive May 10


Each year, our local letter carriers make a heroic effort to collect donated food from residents along their routes. This food then goes to local food programs.

Here is a press release by Al Nelson that we have ready to help announce the food drive:

On Saturday, May 10, our local food pantries get help from your letter carriers.
You can make their day and help those in need in your community by leaving a bag of non-  perishable food by your mailbox, your door, or business before your regular mail delivery to be  taken to Northern Berkshire pantries. 
The Berkshire County Letter Carriers’ Branch No. 286 out of  our post offices in North Adams, Adams, and Williamstown will come together with volunteers  from the Interfaith Action Initiative, and  Mass In Motion, the latter a  program of the Northern  Berkshire Community Coalition to help alleviate the increasing plight of food insecurity for many of our neighbors.  Lots of people in our area are in crisis. Families with children, the  working poor, and seniors. A visit to a pantry twice a month helps immensely to supplement  their meals with nutritious food.  And it’s always passed along by volunteers in friendship with  dignity and respect. 
Your generous donations will fill the shelves of the Friendship Center, Berkshire Food Project,  and the Salvation Army in North Adams.  In Williamstown, the Saints Patrick and Raphael Parish  and the Community Bible Church. In Adams, the Pope John Paul Charity Center has asked that  food in that area be directed to the Family Life Support Center Louison House. 
Your letter carriers see the problems face to face during their mail deliveries. They’re ready to  help in a big way on Saturday, May 10th. Bags of food from those who can give will make a difference to the hungry in our communities.

We are looking for volunteers for this drive. If you can help, email us at northernberkshireinterfaith@gmail.com.

Need for Food



This chart shows that the total number of visiting households this year was higher in March than in previous years. Green line shaped like a V shows 2014 trend.

The need for food remains steady. So far we have not seen a great increase in pantry members due to the unfortunate closure of North Adams Regional Hospital, though this may change. As was well-publicized in the local media, we did receive about 1,400 lbs. of food left over from the hospital. To call this donation “bittersweet” would be accurate.

It’s worth noting that the Food Bank of Western Mass. has been quite active in finding out whether they can be of any assistance in providing food aid to those who lost employment at the hospital, even asking our food service director directly if we have seen in an influx and needed extra help getting food. So far the answer has been no.

Still, with five weeks this year, April may prove to be our busiest month yet. Last year we averaged 139 household visits per Wednesday; this year we are averaging 157 household visits per Wednesday.


Some of the food given to the Friendship Center Food Pantry by the hospital.


The Friendship Center Food Pantry took part in a services fair at MCLA on April 11 for those who had lost their jobs at North Adams Regional Hospital. These women speaking to Steve Green did not need our services. Those who do are encouraged to call us at 413-664-0123 or stop by on Wednesday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. or 4 to 6 p.m.

In some better news, our friend and original Eagle Street room nurse, Barb Cariddi, who lost her job with the VNA when the hospital closed, has been hired by Berkshire Medical Center and was up with us on Wednesday, April 23. Though she has other duties now, she told her new employers that she would be quite happy serving with us on Wednesdays. We should be seeing more of her in the future. Fortunately, we now also have the services of nurse Cindy Croce, who also has been a joy to be around and a blessing to us and our visiting friends.


Barbara Cariddi

Monthly meetings going strong



Debbie Vallieres, from Little’s Pharmacy, spoke at our March meeting. She was very knowledgeable and dedicated to the services she helps provide.

Since our last post, we have had two great third-Friday meeting monthly presentations.

At our March meeting, Debbie Vallieres, from Little’s Pharmacy, spoke about Medicare Part D drug coverage problems and solutions for people with financial need. She will also talk about Part B coverage, and medication compliance as a means to decrease hospitalizations and re-admissions.

She particularly impressed us with how the pharmacy goes above and beyond with its program to compile monthly packets of the pills its customers need. Each day has its own compartment. This is a nation-wide program that Little’s participates in and is quite impressive.

At our April 18 meeting, 13 people gathered for a reading on and discussion of Catholic Social Teaching led by Sister of St. Joseph and former Northern Berkshire Community Coalition employee Natalie Cain. In four years of monthly meetings, this was the first time most of those present stayed seated well past noon to continue the discussion.

We read as a group the 1975 pastoral letter of the Appalachian Catholic Bishops “This Land is Home to Me.” It is very poetic and incisive and we marveled at how much it in is relevant to the U.S. today and how much of it relates to very closely to our life in North Adams:

“Without judging anyone, it has become clear to us
that the present economic order does not care for its people.
In fact, profit and people frequently are contradictory.
Profit over people is an idol. And it is not a new idol, for Jesus long ago warned us.”

———

“In a country whose productive force is greater than anything the world has ever known, the destructive idol shows its ugly face in places like Appalachia. The suffering of Appalachia’s poor is a symbol of so much other suffering — in our land — in our world. It is also a symbol of the suffering which awaits the majority of plain people in our society
– if they are laid off,
– if a major illness occurs,
– if a wage earner dies,
– or if anything else goes wrong.

In this land of ours, jobs are often scarce,
Too many people are forced to accept unjust conditions
or else lose their jobs."

———

“Throughout this whole process of listening to the people, the goal, which underlies our concern, is fundamental in the justice struggle, namely, citizen control, or community control. The people themselves must shape their own destiny. Despite the theme of powerlessness, we know that Appalachia is already rich here in the cooperative power of its own people.”


Above, Sister Natalie Cain hands a copy of “This Land is Home to Me” to Eric Wilson at our April Interfaith monthly meeting. Below, some of those who attended reading the letter, which applied Catholic Social Teaching to the lives of ordinary people in Appalachia and the U.S.


The next meeting of the Interfaith Action Initiative will be held on Friday, May 16, at 10 a.m. in the Eagle Street Room of the First Baptist Church of North Adams. All are welcome
No topic for the meeting had been determined as of the writing of this post. Keep an eye out for upcoming announcements of what it will be.

Support the North Adams Lip Dub!



Annie Rodgers and Peter Gentile speak about the North Adams Lip Dub project on “In the Company of Friends.”

After a several-month absence, the cable TV show “In the Company of Friends” is back on Northern Berkshire Community Television Corp.’s Channel 15. This is 116-2 on my TV.

Our current show focuses on the North Adams Lip Dub project. 

Annie Rodgers and Peter Gentile were our guests. Annie is leading the project for the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition and Peter will produce and direct the Lip Dub.

The Lip Dub would be a great project for community spirit, but time to fund it is running out. This would be a music video promoting North Adams, filmed downtown in September, with people saying the words to a locally written song. 

The video would be filmed in one take, with no cuts. You’ve likely seen one, whether you realize it or not.

To find out more, visit here. Or watch the program on NBCTC Channel 15 on Sundays at 7 p.m., Mondays at 7:30 p.m. and Tuesdays at 3 p.m. The Monday and Tuesday times will not apply during the first week of May.

To those who would say that such a project is not appropriate at this time of hospital and job loss, I say not doing it will not bring back jobs or medical services. On the other hand, all the money spent on this will stay here, locally. A successful project will provide a boost to the economy and the city’s image as a resiliant place.

The message to the world would be not another version of: “Poor North Adams reels from another hit” but “North Adams, the tough little city that just won’t quit.” Think about it — then please donate if you can!

God Bless All of You,

Mark