WILLIAMSTOWN -- Williamstown Community Chest organizers hope an upcoming "Blitz Week" will help them reach their fundraising goal of $250,000.

Executive Director Anne Singleton said the fund, now in its 87th year, has collected $202,000 for its 15 member agencies since the campaign was launched in the fall.

"It's just a little bit more than 80 percent," she said. "We're a little ahead of where we were last year and the year before, and that's encouraging."

Established in 1927, the organization raises funds throughout the year to support its member agencies, which include the Berkshire County chapter of the American Red Cross, the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, and the Williamstown Youth Center.

All the money that is raised goes directly to the agencies because an endowment covers the Community Chest's administrative costs. Fundraising begins in the fall and the organization allocates money to agencies in the spring.

The new "Blitz Week" from March 15-22 highlights member agencies' work, Singleton said, and kicks off with two free events on Saturday.

Rosalita's Puppets will perform at the Williamstown Youth Center at 11 a.m. At 2 p.m., the film "National Velvet" will be shown at Images Cinema and will be introduced by Equus Therapeutic, a member agency which helps children and adults with special needs develop a relationship with horses.

From 7-9 p.m.


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at Hops and Vines on Water Street, Community Chest President Mike Goodwin and Vice President Jim Mahon will serve as "celebrity bartenders."

Three businesses will donate 10 percent of their sales to the fund on certain days: Goodman's Jewelers on Saturday, Amy's Cottage on Tuesday, and Ruby Sparks on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, the Community Chest will be highlighted at the Williamstown Chamber of Commerce's Chamber night at the Orchards Hotel on from 5-7 p.m. Children who attend the youth center and the Williamstown Community Preschool will have their artwork displayed in several Spring Street storefronts throughout the week.

Singleton said agency representatives have anticipated the coming year to be challenging, with state and federal grants expected to see level funding.

"We had a terrible winter, with snow and arctic temperatures," she noted. "It affects our own household budgets, and if an agency has a facility it needs to heat or has vehicles they need to put on the road, it affects them too."

Anyone wishing to make a donation can do so online at williamstowncommunitychest.org, or send a check to the organization at P.O. Box 204, Williamstown MA, 01267.

To reach Edward Damon:
edamon@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 663-3741 ext. 224.
On Twitter: @BE_EDamon