Sunday, May 20, 2012

Photos of Postal Drive. Our May 18 Meeting.

It took a while to get them, but here are photos of the unloading and the sorting of the Saturday, May 12, Letter Carriers Food Drive in North Adams. There photos were taken by Heidi Shartrand, and we thank her. Here a group of volunteers brings bins of food into 107 Main St., where we sorted the food. Many more photos are below. 

On Friday, May 16, the Interfaith Action Initiative held its monthly meeting at the First Baptist Church of North Adams. My co-organizer, Al Nelson, organized and ran the meeting. The discussion was with some local providers of food, including Larry Clairmont of the Charity Center in Adams, Valerie Schwarz of the Berkshire Food Project, and Michelle Sylvester, of Pittsfield and North Adams WIC.

It was a good discussion. We also discussed a recent meeting we had with Sen. Ben Downing about state funding for food for programs such as ours: MEFAP. It may be cut. On May 17, Al and Gordon Clark of the Western Mass. Food Bank met with the Williams College Development Office. They want to conduct a focus group with Friendship Center volunteers on Monday, July 15.

Our next Interfaith meeting will be held on Friday, June 29th. Later this month because of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition's annual meeting will be held on the third Friday, and there is a conference in Pittsfield on reaching out to young adults in need at Berkshire Community College on the  fourth Friday of the month. The main topic on June 29 will be a presentation on insidious new tobacco products aimed a kids. Corinne Case will be the presenter. We may have a second discussion topic, but I will wait until it's confirmed to publicize it.

With late returns, it seems that the results of the letter carrier drive collected about 11,000 lbs. of food in the communities served by the North Adams Post Office, about 3,000 lbs. more than last year. Thanks to all who helped make this a great success. The food is needed, as all the programs in town are seeing increased need, and the Friendship Center now has just over 900 member families, and adds about 10 or so each week!

Many more photos below. Enjoy and God Bless,   MR

Inside, volunteers were busy weighing and sorting the donated food.

Things inside were really hopping at this point.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Some of Our Friends Donate and Visit

On Friday, April 20, some of our friends from BFAIR brought several boxes of food that local organization had raised in a food drive for the Friendship Center. Accompanying the group and taking the  photo above was Gail Obrest, who works for BFAIR and was one of the founding members of the Northern Berkshire Interfaith Action Initiative and one of the first volunteers at the Friendship Center.

I have had the pleasure of interacting with BFAIR in one capacity or another for many years, especially back when I was a newspaper editor in Northern Berkshire. I highly recommend their work. One of our visitors on April 20 was a young man I have known most of my life — we're from the same neighborhood and our families were friends — and it was great to show him and our other visitors the Friendship Center.

Thanks and God Bless you all.

Mark Rondeau