Sunday, December 19, 2010

Interfaith Action Initiative considers headquarters space

The Northern Berkshire Interfaith Action Initiative will meet on Friday, Jan. 21, at 10 a.m. at the First Baptist Church of North Adams. (Use the Eagle Street entrance).

At this meeting we will decide whether to accept the generous offer of free use of an 800-square-foot storefront on Eagle Street. Several members of the Initiative toured the space during the Dec. 17 meeting. This storefront includes a bathroom, room for an office and space for storage.

In addition to giving the Initiative a visible presence downtown, the space may be suited to be a distribution hub — though not a storage facility or large-scale services center — for information, food, clothing, and other necessities. All this and more will be discussed at the January meeting.

Also at the January meeting, we will have a presentation of northern Berkshire asset maps by a representative of the Western Mass. Food Bank. This likely will give us a better idea of what needs such a space might help fill and how we could go about it.

By the end of January, the Initiative hopes to have given all northern Berkshire faith communities a chance to respond to our survey on what they are doing to meet basic human needs. We see definite trends in the nature of assistance in our preliminary results, and likely will make our final findings public in early February.

Our talks about providing volunteer assistance for clients of Louison House have moved forward, and a report on this will be on the Jan. 21 meeting agenda.

At our Dec. 17 meetng, we heard from the Rev. Peter Elvin, of St. John’s Church in Williamstown, about the voucher system for people in need which had worked well in that community, but which will stop as the Williamstown Ecumenical Association ceases. Discussing the possibility of continuinig this system on a wider scale will be on the agenda for the Jan. 21 Initiative meeting.

All are welcome to participate in the Initiative. To get on the Initiative’s e-mail announcement list, send an e-mail to or call Mark at 664-0130. To learn more about the Initiative, visit our blog at

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