Christian Center marks 128 years of helping Pittsfield

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PITTSFIELD — The Christian Center celebrated its 128th birthday Friday with an impromptu celebration at its headquarters in the city's West Side.

The nonprofit group served lunch — and birthday cake — to about 50 people.

"It's a big asset to the community," Ward 7 Councilor Tony Maffuccio said at the party.

The celebration came as the organization embarks on a strategic master planning process and as it seeks funds to bolster its flagging facilities.

"Nothing has been done here since 1975," said Betsy Sherman, the center's new executive director, as she stood in the building that was built in 1878.

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Next-door dwellings on the property once helped the organization offer temporary housing, but they are now locked up, Sherman said. She said the conditions deteriorated over the years, and the units were deemed inhabitable over the summer.

The organization is seeking Community Preservation Act money to hire an architect and engineer to survey the Robbins Avenue property and illuminate its path forward.

Beyond that, Sherman said, "We're working on keeping people warm and dry this winter. And well-fed."

Despite some trying times for the center, Sherman said it was able to give out more than 250 coats this winter. And it expanded its food pantry, which is open daily.

"We're doing the best we can with what we have right now," she said.

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, @amandadrane on Twitter, and 413-496-6296.


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