Nonprofit seeking donors to sponsor kids in need of warm coats

This year, Steepleview Realty donated a bundle of new coats and hats to the Berkshire Community Action Council's Elf Program to provide warm clothes to children for the winter. Pictured are Deb Trzcinski, left, owner of Steepleview, and Paulene Green, also of Steepleview.

PITTSFIELD — Officials at the Berkshire Community Action Council once again have started up a circle of giving for the holiday season.

Families experiencing challenging times can register their children with the BCAC Elf Program. Donors then will select a child's information card, and buy a warm coat and a toy or two for the youngster.

A package for each child is assembled with a warm coat, hats, mittens and a toy, along with a donated book.

"This year, every child also gets a book," said Aleta Moncecci, deputy director of the BCAC.

Family members are responsible for picking up each child's package — there are about 2,000 of them for kids up to age 12. They also are asked to bring with them a donation of a personal hygiene item to help the homeless sheltering at Louison House.

"These families want to help, too," Moncecci said. "Some people don't get that. Everybody wants to help others, even the recipients and the families in crisis."

She noted that many families can't afford warm coats when a child grows out of the old one. "We have to keep the kids warm in the winter."

The families note on their registration cards the first name, gender, age and size of the child, and what toys they like.

With distribution set for the first and second weeks of December, the BCAC is seeking more than 60 donors to sponsor a child, Moncecci said.

Anyone with new or used winter coats can bring them to the BCAC offices at 1531 East St. in Pittsfield and 854 Main St. in North Adams. Anyone wishing to sponsor a child can call 413-418-3668 in Pittsfield or 413-663-3014 in North County.

Cash donations also are welcome to cover last-minute gaps in Christmas gifts for needy families.

The BCAC was incorporated in 1966 as the anti-poverty agency for Berkshire County. The nonprofit works with the community to find creative and sustainable solutions that promote economic stability and alleviate the destabilizing effects of poverty on the Berkshires.

Scott Stafford can be reached at sstafford@berkshireeagle.com or 413-629-4517.