Friday, December 7, 2012

A Multitude of Friends and Kindness

In this post: 1). Donations from our City Friends. 2). We keep setting new records. 3). Speaking of fundraising and outreach. 4). We learn about new smoking regulations in North Adams. 5). December “In the Company of Friends” 6). Jan. 27 Mental Illness Awareness and Support event.

Donations from our City Friends

Mayor Alcombright, at the truck, helps carry in the food donations.

Things continue moving forward in a positive direction for both the Interfaith Action Initiative and for the Friendship Center Food Pantry. Most recently, on Friday, Dec. 7, we received a donation of 631 pounds of food from the drive conducted by the city and schools of North Adams at a variety of city sites. 

Mayor Richard Alcombright and Superintendent of Schools James Montepare came to the Friendship Center as the food was delivered by Matt Nuvalie and Russell Beauchamp. This is the second year in a row the city has done this for us, and we are thankful. We are located in a great community!

Other notable donations since the last post here a month ago have included:

• The Doppelgangers motorcycle club, based on Union Street in North Adams recently gave us 182 lbs. or clothing and 123 lbs. of food. IBerkshires wrote an article and took a photo about the donation.

• In two donations in late November and early December, St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church in North Adams gave us a total of 541 lbs. As a member of that church, I must say I am proud of my fellow parishioners.

• We received 109 lbs. of food donated at the annual Lessons & Carols service at Williams College. Thanks to the Chaplain’s Office!

• Our friend Annie Rodgers of the Community Coalition and Sunshine Bagels gave us 160 lbs. of soap. She also gave us bagels to sell during our concert bake sale at MCLA, and they were quite popular!

• Other recent food donations came from First Baptist Church of North Adams, 132 lbs., and the SEIU #199 service union at North Adams Regional Hospital, 85 lbs.

• On the fundraising side, the Student Goverment Association at MCLA raised $1,802 for us with the Sam Gomez Road Race in October.

• Finally, big shouts out to the women at the Stamford Community Church who regularly bring us fine women’s and children’s clothing items to put out. And to Spencer Moser of MCLA, who has also given us a lot of winter clothing recently.

We don’t have a lot of space to give things out from, but we manage to put it out in the front for our members and it goes quickly.

Above, some of the food goes into the Friendship Center. Below, the mayor talks to the crew assembled to sort and shelve the donations. Transcript reporter Ed Damon is on the left.

We keep setting records

The numbers of households attending the Friendship Center have steadily increased as we approach completion of two years in operation in a couple of months. Our treasurer and general record-keep Stuart Crampton informs me that our rolls are currently at about 1,165 members. That may be a bit high, however, because some of our early members have no doubt moved on as we have added newer members. We don’t necessarily have a way to know about members who have moved away or don’t need to come to the pantry anymore.

However, the general number of households coming on any given Wednesday is up greatly from the same time a year ago. We set two new records recently, with 184 households on Wednesday, Oct. 24, and 186 households on Wednesday, Nov. 28.

This November, the average number of households seen was 155 per Wednesday. Last November, 2011, the average number of households was 97 per Wednesday. Quite an increase!

Yet, we keep handling it. Our stalwart Volunteer Coordinator Denise Krutiak and Food Distribution Coordinator Mark Lincourt keep leading the way each week with a team of wonderful volunteers who keep showing up week after week after week. Other volunteers show up as often as they can and help in a number of other ways — such as assisting with fundraising and awareness events and much more.

Speaking of fundraising and outreach

Above, Al Nelson and Mark Rondeau at our table of baked goods at the Nov. 17 benefit concert at MCLA. Denise Krutiak’s cupcakes are prominently displayed in the front  corner of the table. Below, the Band T-Bone Daddy played excellent blues at the concert. (Photos by Bert Lamb)

Recent NBIAI/Friendship Center outreach activities include raising $123 and some non-perishable food items at the MCLA Society of Music Hunger and Homelessness Awareness benfit concert for us on Nov. 17. Several of our volunteers and other friends made items for our bake sale and also attended the concert. 

We were able to inform several people there about what we do.

On Saturday, Dec. 1, Fran Berasi, Bert Lamb, and I raised $50 for the Friendship Center with a presence in the sanctuary at the First Congregational Church in Williamstown for an Alternative Gift Fair during the Holiday Walk weekend. We gave out candy and were able to talk with several people about the Friendship Center.

Fran, right, and Bert, third from right, talk with a group of people at the Alternative Gift Fair.

We learn about new smoking regulations in North Adams

Joan Rubel, second from right, talks to us about the dangers of second-hand smoke and what North Adams is doing about it at our Nov. 16 Interfaith Initiative meeting.

Nine people attended our most recent monthly meeting, on Friday, Nov. 16, at which Joan Rubel  from Berkshire AHEC’s Tobacco-Free Community Parntership, spoke to us of the dangers of second-hand smoke and steps the City of North Adams is taking to reduce exposure to such smoke in both public housing and certain public places. Her presentation was very interesting and we hope to have her back as a presenter in the future.

The NBIAI will not hold a public meeting in December as we approach the end of a very eventful year. We will host our next monthly meeting on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, at 10 a.m. at the First Baptist Church of North Adams (topic to be announced). 

December ‘In the Company of Friends’

This December on “In the Company of Friends,” Mark Lincourt and Mark Rondeau talk about new clergy in North Adams and many of the topics dealt with here. The program airs on Northern Berkshire Community Television Corp’s Channel 15 on Fridays at 5 p.m. and Mondays at 1 p.m.

Jan. 27 Mental Illness Awareness and Support event

I have been quite heartened and become quite enthused by the efforts and interest of several Northern Berkshire clergy members in holding an  Interfaith event for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding. The date has been set for Sunday evening, Jan. 27, at at New Hope Methodist Church at the corner of Water and Main Streets in Williamstown.

The likely starting time will be 7 p.m. and the service will last about 45 or 50 minutes. Rev. Kim Kie, the pastor of New Hope, has discussed plans for the event with Rev. Peter Elvin of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Williamstown, and the Rev. Carrie Bail of First Congregational Church in Williamstown and Kathy Quinn of NAMI Berkshire County are also interested in helping.

I am very much looking forward to helping present and promote this event. I stopped in at New Hope last Saturday during the Holiday Walk and saw that it is really a quite pleasant and non-threatening environment to hold such an event.

Stay tuned for more details.

Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas!

God Bless you All,


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Lots of Great News of All Kinds

In this post: We blow away second-hand smoke Nov. 16; A nutritional boost; Friends glean produce for Friendship Center; NB Youth Mentoring Program at meeting and on TV; Williams Blitz visits Friendship Center; More help from some friends; Mental Illness awareness and support; St. Francis Pledge.

A nutritional boost

Gordon Clark of the Western Mass. Food Bank and Mark Lincourt of the Friendship Center Food Pantry help distribute healthy soup to our neighbors. Food Bank nutritionist Diane Alpern made and brought the food and provided our members information and recipes.

In an arrangement set up by our Food Distribution Coordinator Mark Lincourt, Diane Alpern, nutrition coordinator at the Food Bank of Western Mass., came to the Friendship Center on Wednesday, Nov. 7, to talk to our visiting members about nutriton. But she did more than talk; she brought some tasty soups and plenty of nutritional information, much of which I hope to share here in future posts.

Diane set up in the foyer of the former Papyri Book store next door. I particularly liked her display of how much sugar there is in popular drinks, made by filling empty bottles of these drinks with the amount of sugar in them.

Our friend Gordon Clark, Berkshire County capacity builder for the Food Bank, was also present to help Diane with this pilot project. They observed what seemed to work and what didn't, and overall it seemed like a very worthwhile effort.

Nutritionist Diane Alpern. Below: Part of the great setup in the foyer of the former Papyri Books.

We blow away second-hand smoke Nov. 16

At our next Interfaith meeting will be held on Friday, Nov. 16,  at 10 a.m. at the First Baptist Church of North Adams..

Joan Rubel from Berkshire AHEC’s Tobacco-Free Community Partnership will talk with us about secondhand smoke and why it’s important to reduce exposure to it, especially for children, elders and people with compromised immune systems.

She’ll tell us about local initiatives to increase the amount of smoke-free housing that’s available and about steps that the City of North Adams is taking to protect people from secondhand smoke. She’ll also share free resources that are available to support smokers who want to protect their children from secondhand smoke. All are welcome to this meeting, which will include announcements, a moment of silent prayer and faith sharing.

Please use Eagle Street entrance to the downstairs meeting hall at First Baptist.

This should be an interesting discussion. I know that Joan is passionate about this issue and I'm also interested in what North Adams is doing about this issue.

And fear not! Even if you go to the Mass in Motion Kick Off event earlier that morning, 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., as I plan to, you can still make it over to First Baptist in plenty of time to hear an important presentation on another public health matter. We will no doubt be talking about other important issues, plus conducting our moment of silence and faith sharing.

Friends glean produce for the Friendship Center

Here's some of the produce ready to unload.

On Saturday, Oct. 27, I opened up the Friendship Center for a delivery of produce "gleaned" from a field at Ioka Farm in Stephentown, N.Y.

The delivery consisted of 18 boxes of such produce as pumpkins and squash and various kinds of gourds. We also received one box of decorative gourds. All of these were quite popular the following Wednesday at the pantry. 

In addition to Kathy Keeser, a great friend of mine and the Friendship Center, others participating the project included Kathy Tremblay, Kim McMann, Jeanne Feder, Erik Romano, Avie Kalker, Darlene Ellis, Paula Foye, and Gordon Clark.

We must have received about 800 lbs. in this delivery. We have received more produce from local farms and gardens this year than last year, and no doubt this will increase in the future. I hope in the near future to publish a summary of all the produce donations the pantry received this growing season.

I know that our friends at The Kitchen Cupboard in Bennington were getting in and giving out 1,000 lbs of produce a week during this growing season. I'm sure that we can build similar capacity in the future.

Kathy Keeser sorts out some of the decorative items.

NB Youth Mentoring Program at meeting  and on TV

Rachelle Smith, Alex Lenski, Pastor Kim Kie, and Corinne Case at the October Interfaith Action Initiative meeting.

We had a great discussion at our Oct. 19 Interfaith meeting with Rachelle Smith and Alex Lenski of the new Northern Berkshire Youth Mentoring Project. Rachelle and Alex also were our guests on our cable TV program, “In the Company of Friends.” This can be seen on Northern Berkshire Community Television Corp's Channel 15 during November on Fridays at 5 p.m. and Monday's at 1 p.m.

Eric Wilson, who is interested in participating as a mentor, help Mark Lincourt and Mark Rondeau co-host the program.

The Youth Mentoring program is following a different model than Big Brothers Big Sisters, which has ceased operations in Berkshire County after many years. 

The Child Care of the Berkshires website is: The program itself has its own Facebook page at am/291999320907495?fref=pb Or call Rachelle Smith at 663-6593, ext. 39. Email

Williams Blitz visits Friendship Center

Lexie Carr, Jeremy Markson, and Spencer Moser at the Friendship Center on Wednesday, Nov. 7.

Lexie Carr and Jeremy Markson from the Williams Blitz winterization project also visited us on Wednesday, Nov. 7. In about an hour and a half on the move they managed to round up about 9 households looking for the free service, which will be provided on Saturday, Nov. 10, by student volunteers from Williams and MCLA. It's short notice at this point, but if you live in North Adams, Williamstown, Clarksburg and Florida, own your own home, and are interested, call or email ASAP 413-889-1735 or e-mail

This effort was started in 2008. Teams of 5 to 6 students will work on two homes during that day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. They are targeting low-income housing, about 50 homes on a first-come, first-serve basis. Lexie, Jeremy and  Chaplain Rick Spalding also came to our Sept. 29 Interfaith meeting to talk about the program.

They will provide basic services such as storm window installation, pipe wrapping, weather stripping, door sweeps, gasket insulation, and caulking of cracks, but no sophisticated structural work. All supplies and other costs are covered by the Zilkha Center at Williams, so there is absolutely no cost for homeowners. 

On Wednesday, we first spoke to Friendship Center members in line about the program, though many couldn't because they don't own the place where they live. So I took walk with Jeremy and Lexie down to the Spitzer Center on Ashland Street, where we spoke with a family friend of mine who works there and offered to pass out the flyers for people coming in for the "brown bag" program that day.

Then on the way back, we stopped at the Ashland Street office of the Berkshire Community Action Council, where the students spoke to and got some leads from Aleta Moncecchi and Darlene Ellis.

We visit Aleta at the Berkshire Community Action Council office on Ashland Street in North Adams,

More help from some friends

We get so much help from so many people, that my experiences here represent only a fraction of those we could pass along. Here are some recent experiences:

I opened up the Friendship Center one recent Sunday morning for Kate Annecharico's 6th grade from St. Elizabeth of Hungary Church. I told the group of about 12 about what we do there and answered some questions. They left us cans of peanut butter and tuna fish, which I told them we needed. It was a very enjoyable experiences. We have also hosted children's religious education classes from First Baptist NA and The First Congregational Church of North Adams.

Spencer Moser, who works with students at MCLA, has been a real help. Last week he called me and I went down to the college and picked up several bags of winter clothes for us to give out at the Friendship Center. Then this Wednesday, he stopped by the Friendship Center to drop off more clothes, which was fortunate, because he also ran into the students on site to promote the Winter Blitz and they discussed the state of the plans so far.

I plan to present more news on how MCLA students and staff are helping us in a future post.

 Mental Illness awareness and support

New Hope Methodist Church in Williamstown.

We continue to look forward to sponsoring a mental illness and awareness and support event in January. Pastor Kim Kie of New Hope Methodist Church has offered to provide the place for the event and help us plan and present it. Her storefront church, pictured here, would be, I think a perfect, and non-threatening setting for this event. The church is now located at the eastern corner of the intersection of Main and Water Streets in Williamstown. 

Our September Discussion with Cathy Quinn of NAMI Berkshire County, when she presented us with some ideas for marking Mental Illness Awareness Week.

We will provide more details as we move forward with this. 

Our Steering Committee

The NBIAI is governed by a Steering Committee which meets once a month. At its October meeting, the committee added two more members, Fran Berasi and Steve Green. In addition to them, the committee members are Corinne Case, Denise Krutiak, Sue Walker, Stuart Crampton, Mark Lincourt, Al Nelson, and Mark Rondeau. That’s a total of nine.

St. Francis Pledge

And though it doesn't relate directly to any current work of the NBIAI, I wanted to share this from the Catholic Climate Covenant,

"All across our country, Catholics are taking the St. Francis Pledge to Care for Creation and the Poor and joining the Catholic Climate Covenant. The St. Francis Pledge is a promise and a commitment by
Catholic individuals, families, parishes, organizations and institutions to live our faith by protecting God’s Creation and advocating on behalf of people in poverty who face the harshest impacts of global climate change. To join the Covenant, you commit to act on each of the five elements of the St. Francis Pledge.  Find resources to promote the St. Francis Pledge here."

Here is The St. Francis Pledge

I/We Pledge to:
PRAY and reflect on the duty to care for God’s Creation and protect the poor and vulnerable.
LEARN about and educate others on the causes and moral dimensions of climate change.
ASSESS how we-as individuals and in our families, parishes and other affiliations-contribute to climate change by our own energy use, consumption, waste, etc.
ACT to change our choices and behaviors to reduce the ways we contribute to climate change.
ADVOCATE for Catholic principles and priorities in climate change discussions and decisions, especially as they impact those who are poor and vulnerable.

God Bless You All,


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fun, service and perspective — A MEGA-POST

In this post: 1). Cothing Sale a solid success; 2). the Northern Berkshire Youth Mentoring Program the main discussion topic at our Friday, Oct. 19, Interfaith Action Initiative meeting;  3). our September discussion with Kathy Quinn of NAMI Berkshire County; 4). and with the Williams Winter Blitz weatherization project; 5). Aleta Moncecchi on ‘In the Company of Friends’; 6). More help from our many friends: 6a). Sam Gomez Classic, 6b). New Hope Methodist Pork Chop Dinner; 7). 11 more Clothing Sale Photos.

                    Clothing sale a financial and human success

The last of a long line of first customers comes into the gym where the sale was held. Below, the jewelry table, watched over by Pat Cumberbatch, seated in white shirt, was quite popular.

Our clothing sale fundraiser for the Friendship Center on Saturday, Oct. 6, was a solid success in many ways.

“We cleared $1,780, provided a real service to the community, and learned a lot,” wrote Stuart Crampton, our treasurer, in an email to many of us after the event. “Congratulations all around.”

Stuart highlighted the significance of the sum as an amount, for it covers the $1,718 we paid to the Western Mass Food Bank for food the month of September.

We had expected to make somewhat more money, but as I noted in response to Stuart:

“Thanks...Stuart, for pointing out the significance of the money we made today. Actually, not a bad take from a week of very hard work.

“I’d like to add that on a human and public relations level, the event was an unqualified success, in my opinion,” I wrote. “We tried something new and learned a lot, we forged an alliance with the ABC sale, we deployed several new volunteers, we had positive interactions with a lot of community members, and a lot of our Friendship Center members came to the sale, more than I expected. And Goodwill will put to good use the things we could not sell.”

As Sue Walker noted, a lion’s share of the credit for what we accomplished goes to Fran Berasi and her sisters, Liz Boland and Bert Lamb. They were the ones getting the biggest things done at the heart of the sale. Fran stepped into the leadership role for this event and did a fantastic job.

Fran directed special thanks to Carolyn Behr, who does an incredible job running the massive and profitable ABC Sale every year in Williamstown, who let us take the leftovers from last year’s sale, and whoe helped us and gave invaluable advice.

Here is a scene from the height of the sale, not long after we opened the doors. See below for more photos from the preparations for and from the event itself.

Our next meeting: The NB Youth Mentoring Program

At our October monthly meeting on Friday, Oct. 19, at 10 a.m. at the First Baptist Church of North Adams, our main discussion topic will be the Northern Berkshire Youth Mentoring Program.

Alex Lenski, an AmeriCorps Ambassador and program coordinator, spoke briefly at our meeting and gave out brochures about the program. We will have a more in-depth discussion on Oct. 19.

It’s worth noting here that Big Brothers Big Sisters is no longer active in Berkshire County. This new program, aimed at youth ages 8 to 14 is intended to fill the gap, through individual-to-individual mentoring and perhaps small group “curriculum-based” mentoring in which an adult may present activities on certain interests of the young people.

According to the program brochure, “After 42 years of successfully mentoring youth in the Berkshires, Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Berkshire County dissolved in December 2011. Feeling a huge gap in the community, Northern Berkshire United Way approached CCB to bid for a grant to meet the need for mentoring and provide transitional support to former BBBS match relationships.”

CCB secured the grant this February, and the program has been developing ever since.

According to the brochure, the program’s activity based mentoring model includes:

• 1-2 hours per week for 1+ year;

• 1:1 or 1:4 small group relationships;

• Matches are built upon interests, compatibility and strengths;

• Site-based meetings with a local school, youth or community center;

• Ongoing quality training, support, and communication.

I would hope that our discussion with this program would help it find mentors and others who could help it along. Providing a forum for imporant local issues and program is something the Initiative has been trying to do since its founding.

The Child Care of the Berkshires website is: The program itself has its own Facebook page at

Our September Discussion with NAMI Berkshire County

Kathy Quinn family advocate with NAMI Berkshire County, speaks at our Sept. 28 Interfaith meeting.

We were pleased to welcome Kathy Quinn a family advocate with NAMI Berkshire County to our Sept. 28 Interfaith meeting. 

Our discussion centered around the role faith communities can play to acknowledge the issue and offer support to individuals and families. In addition we discussed ways our group might mark Mental Illness Awareness Week, Oct. 7-13 — even after the fact.

NAMI Berkshire County is a grass-roots organization wose mission is to support, educate, and advocate for all those in Berkshire County whose lives are affected by mental illness. NAMI Berkshire County is an affiliate of The National Alliance on Mental Illness.

The group’s literature notes that “one in four adults experiences a mental health disorder in a given year. That means one in 17 adults or 5 percent, lives with a serious mental illness such schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder.”

That’s a lot of people. Kathy said that spiritual support can include just listening and letting them know you will hold them in your thoughts and prayers, telling them they will not walk alone. 

“If you say ‘I’m going to hold you in my heart,’ it will make a world of difference,” she said.

Kathy provided for us a PDF containing a “Mental Illness Awareness Week Faith Tool Kit,” with lots of good suggestions for observing the week. Such observances are not limited to just this week and can be held at other times, Kathy noted.

This information makes a number of suggestions on how a faith group can observe the week and create a significant event, such as a candlelight vigil.

“Raising awareness is rewarding and easy. Gather one or two other advocates, talk to your faith leaders and get permission to plan a simple event or service. By taking the initiative you will free up others to learn and talk about mental health issues which are often kept in the closet. You will bring hope and help to many people, some of whom may never have been given permission or words to speak about their struggles.”

And later, “By seeking God’s guidance we can recommit ourselves to replacing misinformation, blame, fear and prejudice with truth and love in order to offer hope to all who are touched by mental illness.”

I hope that as an Interfaith group we can find some way to make such an observation part of what we do every year; after all, we are a faith-based group trying to serve those in need. I plan to keep pushing for us to find a way to do this.

Here’s the NAMI Berkshire County website:

The Williams Winter Blitz

Lexie Carr, in blue shirt, tells us about the Williams Winter Blitz winterization project.

Also at our Sept. 28 meeting, we discussed with Williams College students Lexie Carr, Jeremy Markson, and College Chaplain Rick Spalding the forthcoming Winter Blitz on Nov. 10, when Williams students will provide free winterization services for local residents.

They explained that this effort was started in 2008. Teams of 5 to 6 students will work on two homes during that day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. They are targeting low-income housing, about 50 homes on a first-come, first-serve basis.

They will provide basic services such as storm window installation, pipe wrapping, weather stripping, door sweeps, gasket insulation, and caulking of cracks, but no sophisticated structural work. All supplies and other costs are covered by the Zilkha Center at Williams, so there is absolutely no cost for homeowners. 

Anyone interested should call 413-889-1735 or e-mail

Aleta Moncecchi on ‘In the Company of Friends’

Mark Lincourt and Aleta Moncecchi of BCAC speak on "In the Company of Friends."

Mark Lincourt interviews our friend Aleta Moncecchi of the North Adams office of the Berkshire Community Action Council on the October edition of the NBIAI TV program, “In the Company of Friends,” which airs on Northern Berkshire Community Television Corp.’s Channel 15 on Fridays at 5 p.m. and Mondays at 1 p.m.

One thing she spoke of was the special benefit dinner at the Orchards in Williamstown (tonight!) — The BCAC Dinner Fundraiser to benefit its emergency services for senior citizens and those in need in Berkshire County. It is sponsored by the Orchards and its executive chef, Chris Bonnivier, along with several other Berkshire chefs participating.

It will be held (tonight!) on Tuesday, Oct. 9, at 6 p.m. at the Orchards Hotel on Route 2 in Williamstown. Tickets are $50 per person (includes buffet and drinks). To buy a ticket, contact Barbara Bonnett at or 413-446-5883.

On the heating assistance BCAC provides, which the above dinner will help fund, Aleta told Mark (who recently became a member of the BCAC board) that BCAC’s guidelines for fuel assistance have increased a small amount. “For a family of one, it’s gone up to $31,271; for a family of two, $40,893; a family of three, $50,515. And we go by your gross (income). But even if you think that you’re over our guidelines, still come in,” she said. “Because if you’re over our guidelines you may fall in to the Salvation Army’s The Good Neighbor Fund, so you still can get some help, either way. So please call 663-3014 and we’ll make you an appointment, we’ll sit down with you and if you don’t fit our guidelines, we can still try to get you some help.”

Aleta added, “The nice thing about Fuel assistance is not only do we help you heat your home — however you heat your home — if it’s wood, if it’s coal, if it’s gas, if it’s electric, propane, oil, whatever source is your main source of heat. We’re also going to protect it, if it’s oil, your furnace. If your furnace breaks down and you’re eligible for fuel assistance, we’re going to go in, fix it, replace it if it can’t be fixed. We do weatherization, so definitely, come in and apply for fuel assistance. Give it a shot, see if you are eligible.”

More help from our many friends

Steve Green and MCLA seniors Kate Moore and Jason Brown sat at our welcome station at the Clothing Sale on Oct. 6. Kate was promoting the Sam Gomez Classic Road Race, proceeds of which will benefit The Friendship Center.

If I were to set out to list all of the many individuals and groups who have aided the Friendship Center Food Pantry during it’s year and two thirds of existence, I would hardly know where to start. But here are two upcoming benefits you should know about and perhaps participate in:

1). Proceeds of this year’s annual Sam Gomez Classic 5K Charity Road Race will this year be given to the Friendship Center Food Pantry. The race is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 21, at 11:30 a.m.

The Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Student Government Association presents the race, and MCLA senior Kate Moore, the race coordinator, attended our clothing sale, making information about the race available to all who came to the sale.

We have a lot of race flyers and runner applications that she dropped off. Anyone interested in participating in this event should contact me or go online to for registration and forms. You may also call 662-5401 for entry information.
Many great organizations have been the recipients of the proceeds of this annual race over the years and it is an honor for the Friendship Center to be chosen this time.

Registration for the 5K race costs $13 for pre-registration, and $15 on the day of the race. Free t-shirts will be given to the first 100 runners. (For those of you out of shape, I’ve been told that walking the course is permitted.)

2). The New Hope Methodist Church, working at the First Congregational Church Kitchen 134 Main St., North Adams, will host an eat-in or take-out dinner to benefit the Friendship Center Food Pantry on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 5 to 6 p.m.

The menu will be Baked Pork Chops & Rice with Broccoli, Applesauce, Corn Bread and Halloween Cake for Dessert. The price will be: Adult, $9; Child, $4.50. Proceeds from this Dinner to Benefit The Friendship Food Pantry. To attend or pick up, please enter through Summer Street kitchen door.

They will also DELIVER to Adams, North Adams, Clarksburg and Williamstown Please reserve your dinner in advance by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11.

Call 413-663-7585 for reservations Leave a message on the answering machine with your name, telephone #, number of dinners, if you will eat-in or pick up. If you need delivery, please also leave your address and phone #.

That’s it for now. Hope to see you at our Oct. 19th meeting, if not before. God Bless you all,


Here are some more photos from the Clothing Sale:

Bert Lamb didn't want her picture taken.

Neither did Fran, though Pat didn't seem to mind.

Mark Lincourt tried on some belts.

I tried on a hat, which somebody must have bought because I couldn't find it after the sale.

Kathy and Barb were two new volunteers who were a big help.

Our friend the irrepressible Eric Wilson was a big help before and during the sale.

Carrie Crews came to the sale.

Spencer Moser not only donated some great stuff for the sale, he came to it the next day.

Amy Hubner helped out greatly with transportation and minding the coats.

Friendship Center volunteers Tony Pisano and Rich Davis. Rich was a huge help during this sale, and even helped me and my cousin Evelyn sweep the gym floor at the end of the day on Saturday, before we locked up the Parish Center.

Sue Walker, with back to camera, and Carolyn Behr, in green, of the ABC sale, who made our sale possible.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

We Prepare for Saturday's Clothing Sale

On Tuesday morning a group of very hardworking volunteers moved clothing for our sale to benefit the Friendship Center Food Pantry from Pat Cumberbatch's house in Williamstown to the St. Elizabeth Parish Center in North Adams. Here, sale leader Fran Berasi-Boisjolie, carries many items into the center.

The sale will be held on Saturday, Oct. 6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the St. Elizabeth Parish Center. There will be an enormous selection of all types of clothes, linens and even jewelry!

Amy Hubner arrives, her truck loaded with items for the sale.

Rich Davis carries in two big bags of clothes.

This photo, with Rich Davis, Barbara Tassone, and Amy Hubner in it, shows the enormous amount of clothing still to be upacked and put up for sale. Don't miss it. It will be an awesome sale!

Here's a close-up of just one bag of clothes, filled to overflowing!