An 'Xtraordinary Day' from Berkshire Bank

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Photo Gallery | Berkshire Bank gives back

They could be found painting elementary schools, assembling picnic tables and removing sod at Camp Russell, organizing books at Berkshire Athenaeum, picking up trash in Pittsfield parks, walking North Street distributing the latest Downtown Pittsfield Inc. brochure and elsewhere, doing more.

On Tuesday, more than 1,100 Berkshire Bank employees fanned out all over the bank's coverage area for community service projects for the bank's annual "Xtraordinary Day,"

The volunteers, clad in neon Xtraordinary Day tees, carried on in their respective projects despite rainy conditions.

Better than 95 percent of the bank's total workforce turned out to work Tuesday, topping all prior years, in part because, for the first time, all bank properties closed at noon to facilitate participation.

"I was out the door at 12:05," bank employee Charlotte Wood said, while shelving books at Berkshire Athenaeum. "We couldn't wait to get out and have some fun."

"Somebody at Dunkin' Donuts saw my shirt and right away was like, 'Oh, you guys are doing your volunteering?'" bank employee Jamie Pittman said.

At Stearns and Egremont elementary schools, bank employees took on painting projects.

Seventy-five bank employees reportedly had "a blast" painting the lower half of the hallways at Stearns blue, the school color.

"The halls hadn't been painted since the building was remodeled," school Principal Aaron Dean said. "We're talking thousands of dollars in labor and materials. They took care of it all in an afternoon."

Around 25 volunteers performed all kinds of handiwork at the Boys & Girls Club's Camp Russell, replacing sod with wood chips, assembling picnic tables, digging and more.

"We needed a lot of hand labor, and we got it," said Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Christopher Jacoby. "It was a great day.

Volunteers also beautified four Pittsfield parks — Burbank, Clapp, Coolidge and Wild Acres — removing truckloads of garbage from each.

"We all live in these communities as well," bank employee Simon Muil said. "In doing this work, we're also doing something nice for ourselves."

On North Street in Pittsfield, around 10 employees fanned out and delivered Downtown Pittsfield's latest "Experience Pittsfield" brochures — hot off the press— to roughly 250 downtown businesses.

"They got out there in the rain and construction like troopers," Elliott Hunnewell of Downtown Pittsfield said.

Volunteers also took on projects at Northern Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, Greenagers Housatonic River Walk, Farmington River Regional School and Bartholomew's Cobble on Tuesday.

One big benefit was highlighted by bank employees: meeting colleagues they never see around the bank offices.

"We got to hang out with colleagues we don't see on the day to day," Muil said.

"It was a chance to meet other people from different departments," Wood said, while pointing out that it was also an opportunity to do something new with old friends.

"I trained this one," she added, pointing to her colleague Terry Shaker.

Contact Phil Demers at 413-496-6214.


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