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If you’d like to donate to help sustain the lifesaving work The Brien Center, visit Brien’s website and click on “Donate.” You can also donate by mail, sending a check to The Brien Center, Attn: Development Department, PO Box 4219, Pittsfield, MA 01202. Please make checks payable to “The Brien Center.”

Recognizing the need for quality behavioral health care in Berkshire County at a critical time in our history, the Berkshires’ two food co-ops are stepping up to help The Brien Center, the region’s hub for mental health and substance use services.

January can be difficult in any year, but especially during this continuing pandemic, notes Scott Menhinick, marketing and owner relations manager for Wild Oats.

“That's why our featured Round Up For Change organization for this month is The Brien Center,” says Menhinick.

With the co-op’s Round Up For Change program, owners and visiting shoppers can opt to donate the remaining change in their grocery bills to help buoy local organizations in need.

Menhinick notes that Brien provides high quality mental health care to more than 10,000 Berkshirites annually, including 4,000 children, which results in $200,000 in free care to those in need every year.

A little change, he notes, can spur much bigger changes for someone’s mental health.

A partner in the cause for countywide well-being

The co-op’s South County sister, Berkshire Food Co-op, completed a similar fund drive for The Brien Center last month, with it being the beneficiary of its quarterly Nickel Back Thursday donations (no relation to the band); one Thursday every quarter, Berkshire Food Co-op donates 5 percent of its net sales from that day to a local organization that helps the greater Berkshire community in an inclusive, hand-on way.

“Our shoppers waited until Thursday the 31st to do their big shop, and we were able to donate over $2,200 to The Brien Center,” says Devorah Sawyer, marketing manager for the food co-op. “We chose Brien because its dedication to helping those in need aligns with our values as a co-op, especially when helping those who would otherwise struggle to find that help.”

Sawyer says mental health is something more people need support with during the long winter months and after 10 months in a pandemic.

Christine Macbeth, president and chief executive of The Brien Center, expressed her deep gratitude to both co-ops for recognizing the need for continued access to quality behavioral health care for all residents of Berkshire County.

If you’d like to donate to help sustain the lifesaving work The Brien Center, visit Brien’s website and click on “Donate.” You can also donate by mail, sending a check to The Brien Center, Attn: Development Department, PO Box 4219, Pittsfield, MA 01202. Please make checks payable to “The Brien Center.”