Photo Gallery: Weekly NARH community meeting


NORTH ADAMS -- Hoping to put those in need after the closing of North Adams Regional Hospital in touch with those who can help, the local state college, Northern Berkshire United Way and the city are planning a resource fair.

The fair also will help identify needs that have no local remedy, so officials can determine ways to provide some, according to Thomas Bernard, business manager of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

"This came out of a conversation we were having on campus in thinking about what we could do to help," Bernard said. "We know people have needs, but we really don't know what all of those needs might be."

In a letter to the community from Mary K. Grant, president of MCLA, Joseph McGovern, executive director of the Northern Berkshire United Way, and Mayor Richard Alcombright, former employees and local businesses and agencies are encouraged to participate.

"In the wake of the hospital's closure we know that those directly affected by the closure have questions, concerns, and the need for services," the letter reads. "While the many helping individuals, agencies, and organizations in our region stand ready to offer whatever assistance, help, and support we can, we don't necessarily know what specific needs each member of the NARH community may have."

The hospital laid off all 530 employees and closed abruptly on March 28 after only three days' notice.

Bernard said the effort will be a significant step in helping the community understand what needs people have right now, and what needs there may be going forward.

He said that as people's rent or mortgage payments come due, and their final paychecks disappear, some needs may become more acute, or other needs will surface.

"If we wait, some windows may close for some people, so we wanted to do this right away," Bernard said. "Then we can do another one later on" as other needs develop.

"The response from non-profits, businesses, and other agencies has been very heartening," he said.

The community resource fair for the NARH community is set for 1 to 4 p.m. Friday in the Church Street Center social hall on the MCLA campus.

Preceding the fair, the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition monthly forum will address "How Helping Professionals can Support Community Members during the North County Community Transition." The forum runs from 10 a.m. to noon Friday at the First Baptist Church in North Adams.

To confirm attendance at the fair and reserve a table for an agency, contact Libby Macksey at MCLA at (413) 662-5245 or E.Macksey@mcla.edu. Attendees ...

Agencies already set to attend the resource fair include:

n Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority

n Berkshire Nursing Families

n Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation

n BFAIR

n Department of Transitional Assistance

n Donovan & O'Connor attorneys

n Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission

n MCLA Admissions and Financial Aid

n Mountain One

n North Adams Housing Authority

n North Adams Veteran's Services

n United Cerebral Palsy

n Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires