A piece of debris turned into a chance to make change for Pittsfield attorney Holly Rogers and her 11-year-old son Zach.
Rogers was taking a jog through her neighborhood last week when a page from The Berkshire Eagle fluttered into her path. She decided to pick it up so as not to create litter in the street. When she got home, she and Zach decided to read through the front page when they came across the headline "Balkan landslides wipe out towns," referring to the heavy rains over the Balkan Peninsula which caused devastating floods and landslides across the region. (See photos of the flood here: http://bit.ly/1nRv8vP)
Holly did some research and found a Serbian website to help the victims, floodrelief.gov.rs, and made a donation of $50.
"[Zach] saw me donating and asked about what happened. I explained it to him using [the] article. He decided that he wanted to do something to help," Rogers said. "I asked him, ‘Why help people so far away,' and he said, ‘Because they're people too.' "
Together, mother and son made a donation can, pasting a copy of the article on one side and a photo of a boy from the Balkans holding a puppy over his head while trying to wade through floodwaters. They also pasted a copy of the website URL onto the can, then Zach took it his classes at Nessacus Regional Middle School in Dalton.
"I'm so impressed by the kids and their willingness to help with pennies and nickels and dimes," Rogers told The Eagle.
The Nessacus students and Zach raised some awareness and just over $150, which was donated to flood victims through the website.
"Zach and I also discussed ‘First they came,' a poem from pastor Martin Niemöller about how we help and speak out so that, in our time of need there will be others left to speak out for us," Rogers said. "Zach gets it ... his fellow students learned about the situation from Zach and were motivated to donate what little money they had. I thought that was impressive for an 11-year-old boy."
Earlier this month, Great Barrington was voted by readers through the first round of OUTSIDE magazine's fourth annual "Best Towns Tournament."
Editors said the goal of the contest was simple: to find the best small town in America. "The kind of place with top-notch restaurants, vibrant farmers markets, friendly neighborhoods and unparalleled access to hiking and biking trails. In short, the perfect jumping-off point for adventure." This year, however, the editors are leaving it to the readers to pick the best place to live in America.
Editors put together an initial bracket of its 64 favorite towns in the country, but they'll crown only one winner on June 15.
In the first round of the Eastern division, Great Barrington (No. 8) defeated Beacon, N.Y. (No. 9) with 60 percent of the vote: 5,473 to 3,573.
On Sunday, OUTSIDE announced the results of the second round; unfortunately Great Barrington was defeated by Burlington, Vt. (No. 1), 3,592 to 8,370.
Round 3 continues now at outsideonline.com. The winners will advance until there are only two towns remaining. The winning town will receive marquee coverage in OUTSIDE's September 2014 issue when it plays host to a writer and an online videographer from the magazine. The "Sweet 16" will also be featured.
County Fare, a weekly column featuring "tales from throughout the Berkshires," is compiled by Eagle staffers.