County Fare: Great Barrington campaign aims to drive Berkshire Community Diaper Project donations
The Berkshire Community Diaper Project is conducting a townwide campaign in Great Barrington in a bid to soak up more donations.
Volunteers have enlisted 18 businesses, including Town Hall, to be dropoff points for disposable diapers or financial donations toward the bulk purchase of diapers at a discount price. The packaged diapers will be taken to the group's 13 distribution sites throughout the county.
The drive began Feb. 8 and runs through Feb. 29. At the campaign's halfway point, the nonprofit's founder Daltrey Turner is seeing early success.
"The businesses are posting on social media, with one reporting a good number of diapers and monetary donations being dropped off," she told County Fare.
Turner says the group is already planning a disposable diaper drive for Pittsfield in April and North Adams, later in the year.
The group typically conducts diaper drives with individual businesses special events or solicits donations year-round.
Turner says the organization's most ambitious collection/fundraiser to date was at the suggestion of the Southern Berkshire Chamber of Commerce, one of the group's biggest supporters.
And more support is needed.
Founded in September 2014, the group has seen the demand on the local disposable diaper bank grow each year, according to Turner. Over the years, some 870,000 diapers have been doled out to 750 families; 240,000 within the last reporting period.
"These are mostly working families, those living below the poverty level," she said. "We're doing better at reaching out to those in need, but we need more help."
A list of the 18 drop-off places for the Great Barrington diaper drive can be found at berkshirecommunitydiaperproject.com and the group's Facebook page.
Food project thanks volunteers
Without the help of its many volunteers, the Berkshire Food Project's small staff would not have been able to serve 45,789 healthy, free meals to the community in 2019. This was a 28 percent increase in meals from the previous year.
The community meal program based out of First Congregational Church in North Adams recently honored its volunteers for over 11,000 hours of volunteer time in 2019. A number of volunteers were recognized for their exceptional service, including 30 volunteers who each logged over 100 hours and together logged over 7,000 hours.
They are Patrick Hernandez, 784 hours; Bob Simons, 696; Linda Palumbo, 635; Alicia Rondeau, 589; Ralph and Geralyn Lesure, 468; Jeff Page, 430; Marianne Bailey, 385; Erika Uchman, 385; Cindy Bolte, 322; Gary Cellana, 322; Caitlyn Johnson, 304; Carolyn Toomey, 218; Valerie Dickinson, 191; Kathryn Benson, 177; Sandra King, 163; Elaine Durant, 156; Kevin Netti, 142; Kenyon Brooks, 140; Joan Rubel, 132; Tom Leamon, 125; Chris Bonner, 124; Priscilla Tracy, 119; Bill Svrluga, 115; John Denley, 112; Jennifer Peabody, 107; Cassie Shoestock, 106; Sue Denley, 102; Goodveig Baarli, 100; and Helen Fortier, 100.
Additionally, local businesses and organizations provide time for their staff members to volunteer at the Berkshire Food Project or incorporate volunteering at the Berkshire Food Project into their programs. These include BFAIR, Storey Publishing, Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, Office of Community Corrections, 18 Degrees, Overland Summers, Williams College, and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.
The Berkshire Food Project serves lunch from noon to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday in the First Congregational Church at 134 Main St. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. for snacks and coffee/tea.
For more information, contact Kim McMann at 413-664-7378 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit berkshirefoodproject.org.
County Fare, a weekly column featuring "tales from throughout the Berkshires," is compiled by Eagle staffers.
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