Saturday November 20, 2010

PITTSFIELD -- Berkshire Community Action Council Inc. is accepting applications for its holiday program. The "BCAC Holiday Clothing Program," provides warm clothing for local children from low-income families.

The 30-year-old signature program of the agency will be headed up by Patty Brown-Charland, a local community volunteer and business woman. Shirley MacDonald, who ran this program for the past eight years, will assist.

Again this year, BCAC is working closely with two other United Way member agencies, the Christian Center and the Salvation Army, to ensure that no local, low-income families in need are overlooked.

Together these agencies monitor applications, and direct families to the agency whose holiday program would best suit their needs.

BCAC is currently soliciting individuals and more community groups to find volunteers to help with the Giving Tree at the mall, and to assist with the organization and distribution of gifts.

Persons interested in helping should contact Brown-Charland at (413) 212-1277 or MacDonald at (413) 445-4503, ext. 109 as soon as possible.

The Giving Tree is located at the Berkshire Mall. BCAC volunteers will assist individuals in selecting children or to sponsor, and completing the application forms. "Sponsor-a-Child," has area businesses, organizations, and their employees, sponsoring multiple groups of children.

BCAC is accepting applications from eligible low-income families at their offices at 1531 East St.


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Applications will be accepted Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. until Dec. 3, 2010. The program is available to all low-income families.

Most of the eligible households are receiving fuel assistance, or are participating in other services offered at BCAC or other social service agencies.

Children must be 12 or under on Dec. 31, 2010, to be eligible. Proper identification, proof of income and Berkshire County residency are required.

Anyone wishing to donate gifts or cash, or to sponsor a child, should contact MacDonald at the Pittsfield office.

BCAC's North and South County offices coordinate and run their own local holiday programs. North County applicants and sponsors may contact Aleta Moncecchi or Rose Moore at (413) 663-3014.

Those wishing to take part in the South County programs should contact or visit Dorothy Heath, acting area director of BCAC South, 8 Castle St., Great Barrington, at (413) 528-1947.