Monday, July 20, 2015

Keeping Very Busy in the Summertime

Because of Vacation Bible School at the First Baptist Church of North Adams, sign-ins for the food pantry this Wednesday, July 22, will be held at 43 Eagle St. Hours will remain the same.

s at 43 Eagle Street one week only

First, due to our hosts at the First Baptist Church of North Adams holding vacation Bible school this week, food pantry sign-ins will take place this Wednesday, July 22, at our old site of 43 Eagle St.
The pantry itself, of course, will be next door in our new space at 45 Eagle Street. We thank our landlords for allowing us to use 43 Eagle St. on this occasion. Pantry hours remain the same.

Meeting with BIO and CLIA



Here's a picture from the meeting at Williams College last Friday, closest to the camera are NBIAI board members Corinne Case, Dave Wesley and Al Nelson.


On Friday, July 17. four members of the Northern Berkshire Interfaith Action Initiative met with representatives of Berkshire Interfaith Organizing and the Williams College Center for Learning in Action at the new Sawyer Library at the college.

Kathy Hrach, a rising Williams senior who is an intern with several groups this summer, including the NBIAI and the Friendship Center Food Pantry, set up this informal discussion, which lasted over an hour.

One result of this meeting will be more contact, and hopefully collaboration, between CLIA and NBIAI. As for BIO, the NBIAI voted at its last board meeting, on July 13, to become its first non-congregational member of this county-wide activist organization. More on this in the future.

From the Williams College website, a description of the Center for Learning in Action: "The Center for Learning in Action strives to cultivate and sustain experiential learning opportunities, curricular and non-curricular, in service of the teaching goals of our faculty, the civic aspirations of our students and the needs of the wider community."

And from its Facebook page, here is a description of Berkshire Interfaith Organizing: "BIO is a community organization of faith- and values-based institutions across Berkshire County, MA, acting together powerfully for justice."

Above, Al Nelson, Kathy Hrach, Rev. Mark Longhurst of First Congregational Williamstown and BIO, one of the CLIA students from Williams. Below, another photo from the meeting.


  New Treasurer: Dave Wesley

We are pleased to announce that David Welsey of Cheshire has become our new treasurer and board member. He has extensive professional and volunteer experience in accounting and financial oversight. He came to my/our attention as a frequent volunteer for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts signing people up for SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits at the Eagle Street Room. He cares deeply about helping our friends in need.


Friendship Center Food Pantry Fundraising Drive


Part of our very busy summer is conducting our annual letter fund-raising campaign to support the Friendship Center Food Pantry. In 2014, the pantry served 1,191 individual households with a total of 3,381 individuals served, and we distributed 280,000 pounds of food. These numbers are about 9 percent higher than 2013.

Though the average weekly number of pantry visitors has leveled off so far in 2015 after growing for four years, need remains great. A survey earlier this year we took in collaboration with Mass in Motion of 233 food pantry members, some 28 percent of those responding said they did not have enough access to food in any given month; additionally, another 9 percent said they had access to much less food than adequate, even when supplemented by the food we give them.

Some reading this will be receiving donation requests by the U.S. Mail. Those who are not may give by making a check out to the Friendship Center Food Pantry and mailing it to: The Friendship Center Food Pantry, 45 Eagle St., North Adams, MA 01247. All monetary donations are tax deductible. Phone: 413-664-0123. We are happy to give tours to those are interested in what we do.

Friendship Center needs drivers, helpers




Loading a rental truck with food for the Friendship Center at the depot in Pittsfield, taken one very cold winter day a couple of years ago. 


We need more drivers to commit to help on Tuesday so we can set up a regular schedule. If we can’t pick up the food in Pittsfield, we can’t give it out. Here’s our announcement about that:

The Friendship Center Food Pantry, 45 Eagle St. in North Adams, needs a driver one or more Tuesdays a month to bring our food back from a depot in Pittsfield in a rented truck. Person should have a good driving record and be willing to commit to a regular schedule and be reasonably physically fit. Helpers will help driver pick up the food and should be physically fit and able to lift boxes and help move pallets around. Being able to operate a forklift is a plus for either volunteer position. If interested, please call Dan Bird at 413-458-9330 or email

Thanks for reading this far and God Bless!