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Dalton resident gathers up, delivers supplies in Berkshires amid national shortages

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DALTON — Deciding to apply his resources to the new coronavirus crisis was a matter of simple mathematics, said Allen Harris, head of Berkshire Money Management.

He saw people hoarding items like medical masks, gloves and gowns, and he had the means to buy back supplies.

Then, a desire to help fueled an idea. He has spent about two weeks and about $12,000 toward finding, acquiring and distributing personal protective equipment for Berkshire health care workers, amid national shortages.

"For the past two weeks, that's sort of been my job," Harris said. He drew attention from people in the community like Bob Young, who had supplies to spare.

Young, director of Berkshire Mission, said he had several truckloads worth of supplies in the attic of his garage. He typically donates supplies to towns in need while away doing missionary work in South America, he said, but the need was clearly here.

"I had so many of them, I just mentioned to [Harris] I wasn't sure if he could use something like that," he said. "Before I know it, they were up here picking them up and they took 'em all. I was pretty excited about that."

Williamstown Commons was a lucky recipient one of Harris' deliveries Thursday.

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Lisa Gaudet, communications vice president for Berkshire Healthcare Systems, said support like this from the community "has been unbelievable," and "much appreciated."

Harris said that calls inquiring about supplies spawned more calls from people who had things to give.

"It was a lot of people who just wanted to give these things away," Harris said. "And I kept stumbling on more and more people."

While calls trickled in from locals with stashes, he pushed to order equipment via traditional commercial methods. But, the pandemic has wreaked havoc on commercial stocks, he said, noting that orders have come in fits and starts.

"The supply chains are so broken," he said, and "the prices are so jacked up."

Why do it? Harris said he knew that people in the community have a need, and that he had the means to step in.

"I just know that there's people that need help, and I know that I could help," he said. "And if I'm being selfish about it, it makes me feel good to help."

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, @amandadrane on Twitter, and 413-464-2859.


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