Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Unloading 4,900 lbs. of Food

This is my favorite, showing Stan Owczarski loading potatoes on our cart from the back of the truck.

On Tuesday, Nov. 27, several volunteers picked up and then unloaded about 4,900 lbs. of food from the Food Bank of Western Mass. We rent a U-Haul truck and pick up the food in Pittsfield. All the volunteers involved were: Rich Davis, Steve Green, Fran Morandi, Stan Owczarski, Dick Netherwood, Frank Goodermote, Henry Bounds, Al Nelson, and Mark Rondeau. Plus one young man started helping us who I did not know. He just came in off the street. It happens.

In fact, just before I left, while all these volunteers were still stocking the shelves for Wednesday, I answered a call to the Friendship Center from a man visiting the area who wanted to help with a charitable effort while he is in town. If all goes according to plan, he will be helping out during the second shift on Wednesday.

Here are some more photos:

The truck arrives around 12:35 p.m.

We start unloading the truck. Three pallets and a fourth broken down because it would not fit otherwise.

Fran Morandi carries a bag of potatoes into the Friendship Center.

Rich Davis and Dick Netherwood in foreground. With everything inside, it becomes time to stock the shelves.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Need remains high; resources decrease

Attendance at the Friendship Center Food Pantry went “through the roof” in October (see graph). 

While this September was just a 26-household increase from September in 2012, this October we had our highest monthly attendance ever: 782 families in five weeks. This is compared to last October, when we had 640 households in five weeks. 

That's 142 households more -- like an extra Wednesday of visiting families!

Now, SNAP (food stamp) benefits, are being cut back. What will we see in November, and what can we do about it? Come to the November meeting of the Northern Berkshire Interfaith Action Initiative to see what’s going on. More below.

Interfaith Action meeting to discuss decrease in SNAP benefits

The Friday, Nov. 15, meeting of the Northern Berkshire Interfaith Action Initiative (NBIAI) will focus on SNAP (food stamp) benefits, including the decrease in monthly benefit amounts in November.
A funding boost passed by Congress in 2009 expired at the end of October. Households will see benefit cuts ranging from $11 to $36 per month.
Our presenter will be Michael Morelli, benefits paralegal with Community Legal Aid in Pittsfield. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. in the Eagle Street room at the First Baptist Church of North Adams. All are welcome to attend.
In addition to the decrease in benefits, Mr. Morelli will also provide information about applying for SNAP, general rules about these benefits such as income eligibility and household units, and the rights that SNAP applicants and recipients have, such as appealing denials, reductions and terminations.
For more information about this meeting and recent NBIAI events, visit http://northernberkshireinterfaith.blogspot.com

October meeting a learning experience

Bear McHugh (pictured above), of Berkshire AHEC, gave us a very helpful presentation about suicide prevention at our October Interfaith Action meeting. Bear is a great guy and we learned much from him. He was a particularly good sport as he came to our July meeting at which the heat was incredible and only three people were present. So we rescheduled to October, and are very glad we did.

I have much more to write about, but no time (or energy) now. God Bless You All,