'Give 'Em Shelter 2': Dalton Rotary Club teens to raise awareness for homeless shelter Saturday


DALTON -- A bunch of boxes and some live music are what local youths plan to use to make a statement about poverty and the need to improve a local homeless shelter.

On Saturday, around 40 teenage members of the local youth chapter of the Rotary Club will camp out in cardboard boxes on the Dalton CRA lawn after spreading information about and collecting donations for the needy all evening.

"This is a humbling experience," said Michelle Pullano, an event organizer. "People think it's the coolest idea. In the morning, the kids wake up filthy and can't wait to get home. That's when they're thinking about people who don't have homes to get to."

Pullano's son, Jeffrey, 17, is president of the local youth chapter of the Rotary Club.

"Give ‘Em Shelter 2" -- the inaugural event was held in 2012 -- also will feature a community concert featuring music by Jeff King, Fran Tokarz, Aaron Deane and Jon Haddad.

Donations are encouraged, including clothing, linens, pillows, toiletries and money. The event also promises to be a learning opportunity, as the youths also will be packing the lawn with facts about local and national homelessness.

The event is scheduled from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Earlier this week, the Rotary Club youths visited Barton's Crossing homeless shelter on North Street in Pittsfield and decided to make the shelter beneficiary of their efforts.

During the tour, members of the group asked staff what the shelter needed, and the responses decided what the funds and donations will go toward.

First on the list was a washer and dryer; next was a project to remodel an on-site storage room; and finally, lockers for the use of the people who stay there.

"We were amazed that the people who stay there don't have safe places to keep their things and valuables are frequently being taken," Pullano said.

The group plans to visit the shelter again and perform the remodeling work first-hand.

A representative of the company who operates Barton's Crossing, ServiceNet, also plans to attend the event and help give out information.

Last year, the Rotary Club youths helped purchase toys and other necessities for the Elizabeth Freeman Center on Francis Avenue in Pittsfield.


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