Print   Email   Font Resize

Social Services

Updated:   10/25/2006 05:21:26 PM EDT

Wednesday, October 25
AdLib, Inc. — Center for Independent Living

215 North St.

Pittsfield, MA 01201

(413) 442-7047 or (800) 232-7047

AdLib, Inc. is the Independent Living Center for the Berkshire region providing advocacy and support services for people with disabilities. AdLib helps individuals live more independently and attain full integration in the community through peer counseling, information and referral, advocacy, and skills training. The center offers a host of specialized programs including a social recreational drop-in center. Joseph Castellani, Jr., is the executive director.

Berkshire Benevolent Association for the Blind

(413) 443-3029

The Berkshire Benevolent Association for the Blind was founded 84 years ago in 1922 by seven blind people who were employed by a blind workshop in Pittsfield.

The organization was started as a support and resource group for the blind and legally blind. To become a member you must be 18 or older, a Berkshire county resident and have a Massachusetts certificate of blindness.

The group meets at the Dalton V.F.W. on the first Monday of every month. There is a holiday party in December.

Transportation is provided by volunteer drivers — the group is always in need of more drivers to assure that memebrs arrive at the meetings.


Meetings consist of business and social elements and usually include entertainment. Phillip Shallies is the president.

Berkshire Community Action Council, Inc.

1531 East St.

Pittsfield, MA 01201

(413) 445-4503

North Adams: (413) 663-3014

Great Barrington: (413) 528-1947

Berkshire Community Action Council, Inc., was established in 1968 to address issues of poverty facing Berkshire County residents. BCAC continues to address the diverse needs of low-income people and respond to community needs by collaborating with other agencies, city government and neighborhood initiatives. Its mission is to act as a catalyst to stimulate quantifiable change in people's lives as they work toward self-reliance.

BCAC offers fuel assistance and weatherization services, food pantries, emergency and transitional housing to families and individuals, transportation, emergency assistance, asset development services, youth programming and operates the Berkshire Immigrant Center.

Berkshire County ARC

395 South St.

Pittsfield, MA 01201

(413) 499-4241

Berkshire County ARC has supported individuals with disabilities and their families for over 50 years in gaining full access and membership in their community. Berkshire County ARC now encompasses 30 community residential programs, supported employment opportunities, day programs for over 120 adults, 5 residential traumatic brain injury programs, shared living, vocational programs, advocacy and family support including respite. Berkshire County ARC provides a state of the art mail service to over 450 companies. Berkshire County ARC employs a workforce of over 500 staff.

Berkshire Meadows

249 North Plain Road

Housatonic, MA 01236

(413) 528-2523

Berkshire Meadows is a year-round residential school and offers community-based services for children, adolescents, and adults with severe intellectual and physical disabilities and complex medical needs. Berkshire Meadows offers a year-round, fully-licensed and accredited special education residential school; fully-licensed and accredited day habilitation program; health care; extensive therapeutic supports and intensive 24-hour residential services.

Berkshire North WIC

85 Main St.

North Adams, MA (413) 663-3012

25 First St. 

Pittsfield, MA 01201

(413) 445-9429

Berkshire North WIC provides breastfeeding support, nutrition and health education and healthy foods such as juice, milk, eggs, cheese, cereal and baby formula.

Berkshire North WIC (Women, Infants and Children) is for families; married or single parents, working or not. WIC is for grandparents, foster parents or legal guardians of children under 5; and for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Call WIC to enroll.

Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity

(413) 442-3181

Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity is a volunteer organization partnering with low-income families to build or rehabilitate simple, decent houses for home ownership. Thirteen families have become homeowners in Pittsfield since 1994. New volunteers are encouraged to contact the organization. Besides needing individuals to help in the building process, Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity needs volunteers to serve on various committees, particularly on the public relations and the family partnership committees. Call 413-442-3181.

The Christian Center of Pittsfield, Inc.

193 Robbins Ave.

Pittsfield, MA 01201

(413) 443-2828

The Christian Center, formed in 1892, is a religious, humanitarian and educational nonprofit organization that embodies concern for developing Christian faith, family life and neighborhood vitality. It serves individuals and families of all religious beliefs through providing food; free clothing; a caseworker; and children's, teens' and adult programs that seek to combat poverty's vicious cycle. The Center hosts basic health clinics throughout the year. Volunteers are needed for Thanksgiving and Christmas programs, the clothing "boutique" and free luncheons Monday through Friday.

Elder Services of Berkshire County

66 Wendell Ave.

Pittsfield, MA 01201

(413) 499-0524 or 1-800-544-5242

Elder Services of Berkshire County provides Berkshire elders the opportunity to live with dignity and independence. Elder Services offers information and referral, Meals on Wheels, in-home supports, protective services, volunteer services, money management, Enhanced Elder Intervention, caregiver support, health insurance counseling, Berkshire Senior newspaper and the local Berkshire Senior TV show.

Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center

165 East St.

Pittsfield, MA 01201

(413) 442-5174

The Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center is a multi-service organization empowering children and youth, with a special emphasis on girls, to become responsible, confident and personally fulfilled individuals. Programs and activities help children and youth achieve their full potential in a supportive environment with opportunities for active involvement with peers and caring, understanding adults.

Programs include ABC School Age Enrichment; aquatics; Camps Stevenson-Witawentin; early childhood education; Girls Incorporated of the Berkshires and Youth Empowerment Services.

The Haiti Orphan's Project

16 Beaver Brook Road

Becket, MA 01223

(413) 243-4646

The Haiti Orphan's Project provides services to orphaned and abandoned children in Haiti. The goal of the organization is the re-integration of these children into their community as healthy, educated and productive members of society.

This group provides emergency funding for food and water, medical care, medical supplies, educational sponsorships, teacher salary funding and assistance with educational program development. Through their "Wish List" project they provide clothing, toys, sports equipment, art supplies and needed environmental improvements.

Teams are sent to Haiti every three months and volunteers from all walks of life are welcomed. Find out more about this group at www.haiti

The Hinsdale Food Pantry

P.O. Box 309

Hinsdale, MA 01235

(413) 655-8337

The Hinsdale Food Pantry has been open in the First Congregational Church on Route 143 on Thursday mornings from 9:30 to 11 a.m. for over a decade. The goal is to give out a day's worth of food to anyone in need; presently the Food Pantry serves 45 families. It relies entirely on donations. Staples such as cereal, peanut butter, soup and pasta can be dropped off on Thursday mornings; money can be mailed to Box 309, Hinsdale, MA 01235. Volunteers willing to shop and shelve can call Vivian Mason, coordinator, at (413) 655-8337.

Housing Services and Mediation Program

Administered by Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority

150 North St.

(413) 443-7138

This program provides dispute resolution services (mediation, negotiation and facilitation programming) both in and out of court; comprehensive housing counseling, including legal and educational counseling services (landlord/ tenant rights and responsibilities), loss mitigation/anti-foreclosure counseling, homelessness prevention/ tenancy preservation services, homelessness resolution and housing search assistance; as well as anti-poverty resources to all Berkshire County residents. The mission is to provide innovative programming to improve the lives of Berkshire County residents. Bradley K. Gordon is the executive director.

Literacy Network of South Berkshire

100 Main St.

Lee, MA 01238

(413) 243-0471

The volunteers of The Literacy Network of South Berkshire provide one-on-one tutoring to adults in need of basic reading skills, GED preparation and English as a second language. New tutors and students are always welcome. Training and materials are provided.

Northern Berkshire YMCA

22 Brickyard Court

North Adams, MA 01247

(413) 663-6529

The goals and objectives of the Northern Berkshire YMCA are to build strong kids, strong families and strong communities. Each and everyday, the Northern Berkshire YMCA makes a difference in the lives of Northern Berkshire County families. Our numerous programs and activities are tools for building our core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.

Our Berkshires' Bounty

480 West St.

Pittsfield, MA 01201

(413) 443-1442

Our Berkshires' Bounty, under the umbrella of the American Red Cross, is a group of approximately 70 volunteers that picks up and delivers perishable food to organizations that feed our hungry neighbors. Drivers are out six days a week in order to minimize the waste of the "bounty" while helping the community feed individuals and families, mostly in downtown Pittsfield. There is no cost to donate to Our Berkshires' Bounty, and businesses may choose to receive a tax credit at year end for their cumulative donations in addition to reducing their surplus food disposal costs.

The People's Pantry Inc.

P.O. Box 1115

Great Barrington, MA 01230

The People's Pantry's mission is to reduce hunger in South County by distributing free food in a manner which preserves the dignity and self-worth of the shoppers. South County residents who feel they need help in feeding themselves and their families are welcome at the Pantry. There are no income guidelines.

The Pantry is open every Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in donated space in the St. Peters Parish Center on the corner of East and Cottage Streets in Great Barrington. The organization is run by volunteers and depends on local gifts of food, effort and funds. Food donations are gratefully accepted every Thursday during Pantry hours.

Pittsfield Family YMCA

292 North Street

Pittsfield, MA 01201

(413) 499-7650, ext. 12

The Pittsfield Family YMCA builds strong kids, strong families and strong communities through programs and services. The YMCA offers programs including: scholarships, youth sports, aquatics, adult fitness, housing, senior fitness, child care, summer camp, after school care and social services to fill the needs of every community member in the greater Pittsfield area regardless of age, gender, race, religion or creed. Volunteers are needed.


4 Ice Glen Road

Stockbridge, MA 01262

(413) 298-4926

The residents of Riverbrook are exceptional, not because of their developmental disabilities, but because of their will to succeed.

At Riverbrook, that will is nurtured, with personal care, 24 hours a day, endless activities from skating to singing lessons, jobs at the local inn to nights at the symphony. The result is a group of women who are more accomplished and confident with each passing day. Volunteer opportunities are available.

The SIOGA Club of Berkshire County Inc.

P.O. Box 4392

Pittsfield, MA 01202

(413) 236-2911

The mission of the SIOGA Club is to provide a suitable, substance-free environment for our recovering community and to promote positive change through information and support.

The SIOGA Club has had a significant impact on the recovery of many of those addicted to alcohol and/or drugs, helping them to rebuild their lives and the lives of their families and returning many to economic independence through new jobs and careers.

The SIOGA Club is renovating a new home at 81 Linden St., Pittsfield, while still holding meetings at the Clocktower Building on South Church Street in Pittsfield. Call for information or meeting schedules.

Share the Bounty

c/o Berkshire Grown

P. O. Box 983

Great Barrington, MA 01230


Share the Bounty purchases fresh food from local farms, which supports local agriculture, and preserves open space while strengthening our local economy. Share the Bounty also gives the fresh food to our hungry neighbors through local food pantries, kitchens and the WIC Program at Community Health Programs. Share the Bounty is a fund of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and collaborates with Berkshire Grown.

South Berkshire Youth Coalition

352 Main St.

Great Barrington, MA 01230

(413) 528-1919

Founded in September 2001, the mission of the South Berkshire Youth Coalition (SBYC) is to reduce risk factors and increase protective factors to decrease alcohol and other drug use in southern Berkshire County in a long-term and sustainable manner. SBYC is a collaboration of school personnel, governmental agencies, human service organizations, businesspeople, police, parents, young people and others concerned about the elevated levels of substance abuse in the community. SBYC has an active mentoring program and is starting an internship program this coming year. The coalition occupies office space in St. James Episcopal Church, Great Barrington. For more information or to volunteer, call or email

Sullivan & Associates, Inc.

34 Depot St., Suite 207

Pittsfield, MA 01201

(413) 443-3295

Sullivan & Associates, Inc. was formed for the purpose of providing community-based services for individuals with disabilities in the Berkshires and Pioneer Valley.

It is the philosophy of Sullivan & Associates to create an environment where individuals are members of the community in which they live, enjoy quality of life and personal choice while receiving the positive supports necessary to achieve these goals.

The mission is that of positive, unconditional regard at all times for all people. Sullivan & Associates accepts people for who they are and never gives up on their potential to live peaceful and happy lives.


Berkshire Friends of UNIFEM supports programs promoting women's empowerment and gender equality, and works to ensure women's participation in all levels of development planning and practice in the developing world. UNIFEM welcomes new members and assistance with local fundraising, International Women's Day Conference and other events. For more information, call Judy Nardacci at (413) 243-2382.

Uganda Rural Fund USA, Inc.

P.O. Box 10538

Holyoke, MA 01041

(413) 231-4720

URF-USA provides housing, education and nutrition for orphans, needy children and marginalized adults affected by HIV/AIDS in Uganda. Partnered with volunteers in Berkshire and Hampden Counties and Saint John's University in Collegeville, Minn., URF-USA also organizes initiatives promoting women empowerment, agricultural sustainability and food security. Various volunteer opportunities available in the Berkshires and East Africa.

United Cerebral Palsy Association of Berkshire County

208 West St.

Pittsfield, MA 01201

(413) 442-1562


420 Curran Highway

P.O. Box 932

North Adams, MA 01267

(413) 664-9345

The mission of the United Cerebral Palsy Association is to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities.

Services offered include advocacy (ie. transportation, educational advocacy, recreation, housing, public benefits), individual and family support. Assistive technology includes evaluations demonstration, loan and training center, children and adult social recreational programs including adaptive cooking, Winners On Wheels social club for children who use wheelchairs, loaner program of durable, medical equipment and computer training.

Volunteer opportunities exist in reception coverage, fundraising and program support. For more information, contact Christine Singer, executive director.

Western Massachusetts Legal Services, Inc.

127 State Street, 4th Floor

Springfield, MA 01103

(413) 781-7814 or (800) 639-1109


152 North Street, Suite E155

Pittsfield, MA 01201

(413) 499-1950 or (800) 639-1509

Western Mass Legal Services (WMLS) is the principal provider of civil (non-criminal) legal services for low-income and elderly residents in western Massachusetts. Case acceptance priorities are housing, government benefits, family/domestic violence, employment, disability, health care and elder law. WMLS has offices in Springfield, Northampton, and Pittsfield, and part-time offices in Greenfield and North Adams. For more information, contact Executive Director Cristina Poulter Elzeneiny or Managing Attorney Deborah Marchand.

TALK TO US: If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us, or We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.
(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)
Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston split up

Taylor Swift decides Tom Hiddleston isn’t the one after all and hands him his walking papers.