County Fare: Walkers raise over $13,000 to fight breast cancer

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Participants in the Making Strides of Berkshire County walk Saturday raised more than $13,000 through the event and online campaign to fight breast cancer.

The event was part of the city's inaugural Harvest Festival and the outdoor season finale of the Downtown Farmers Market at The Common in Pittsfield.

The American Cancer Society's fundraiser and awareness campaign against breast cancer included 24 teams and 215 participants, according to Stephanie Bosley, American Cancer Society community manager for the region.

It was the first year that Making Strides of Berkshire County was held at The Common; last year it was at the Third Thursday festival on North Street, and before that, it was held at the Lee Premium Outlets.

"I think it worked out really great at The Common, there was really great energy among everyone," Bosley said. "And with the Harvest Festival and the final farmers market, it made for a pretty nice whole day for the family."

So far $13,231 has been raised; donations can be made through Dec. 31 at makingstrides.acsevents.org and searching for "Berkshire County."

Bosley said one group in particular, Mildred Elley, did a great job in not only bringing together a team 40 members strong, but in distributing health information about breast cancer, getting mammograms, and also conducting free blood pressure and blood sugar screenings.

To connect with the event and other participants, visit facebook.com/BerkshireMakingStrides.

Space, and goods, repurposed

It Takes a Village, a nonprofit organization offering free neighbor-to-neighbor support to hilltown families with infants and young children, has found a new home — at the former Berkshire Trail Elementary School.

The group, which serves the Berkshire hilltowns of Becket, Hinsdale, Otis, Peru, Savoy, Windsor and Washington, has found larger, more accessible space to run its Village Closet program in Room 114 of the former school off Route 9 in Cummington.

The room is filled with donated baby clothes, strollers, car seats and carriers, books, and more that any community member in need can come and take for free. The Village Closet is also a United Way Diaper Bank location, which supplies disposable diapers to families. Cloth diapers are also available.

The Village Closet is open for picking up and dropping off donations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays, and from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. two Saturdays a month.

Those dates can be confirmed at hilltownvillage.org/hilltown-events, or special appointments can be made by contacting organizers through info@hilltownvillage.org or calling 413-650-3640. Volunteers are also needed to help staff the drop-in hours.

Donations being sought include: gently used baby clothes and shoes (preemie through kids' size 8, no rips, or stains), nursing and maternity clothes; blankets and bedding (no foam mattresses); baby carriers; breast and bottle feeding supplies (including unused breast pumps, clean breast pump accessories, and non-expired formula); cloth and disposable diapers; car seats and booster seats, strollers; "pack and plays," cribs and bassinets; high chairs; swings and baby seats; books and toys (newborn through preschool age); and other baby furniture and equipment not on a recall or expired list or broken.

Since the Central Berkshire Regional School District closed the Berkshire Trail Elementary School at the end of the 2014-15 school year, the town of Cummington has seen that the building remains open for community use. Agencies sharing space within the building include the Cummington Preschool, Cummington Family Center and the new homeschool cooperative known as The HUB.

Renewing call for help

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Berkshire County held its 32nd Annual Meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at Hilton Garden Inn Lenox/Pittsfield.

The meeting included the presentation of several awards, including the Eunice Zorbo Awards for Member of the Year, which went to Lee Watroba from the Austen Riggs Center, and Citizen of the Year Donna Sorensen from Berkshire Pathways.

Lydia Cote of ServiceNet earned the Silver Ribbon award.

Also acknowledged was the Crisis Intervention Team Committee, which includes Kelly Kemp and Reena Bucknell of Berkshire Community College, and Thomas Grady from the Berkshire County Sheriff's Office.

In addition, Dr. Alex Sabo from Berkshire Medical Center's Department of Psychiatry, was awarded the 2016 Exemplary Psychiatrist Award from NAMI National. This award is given to psychiatrists who make extraordinary contributions to improve the lives of people whose lives are affected by mental illness.

Election of the 2016-17 board of directors also took place during the meeting.

Deborah Sadowy-Dargie was elected to a second term as president. The following changes have been made to the members at large: Bear McHugh was elected to a second term, and Dawne Cowhey, Dr. Andrew Gerber, Chris Haley and Carrie Zurawik were elected as new members.

County Fare, a weekly column featuring "tales from throughout the Berkshires," is compiled by Eagle staffers.


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