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Higher Ground Group Continues Support for Irene Victims

08:11PM / Tuesday, November 15, 2011
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Higher Ground was established as a nonprofit group on Oct. 21 and is dedicated to providing immediate relief for those affected by Tropical Storm Irene, preparing for future disasters, and creating more affordable housing in the area.

Higher Ground is providing services and raising money to meet long-term physical, emotional and spiritual needs associated with the disaster, which is perhaps the greatest in Williamstown's history.

The group currently provides 14 trained caseworkers who are working closely with those affected by the storm. Other volunteers are facilitating communications between the town and affected residents, fund raising to cover families' immediate needs, and networking with regional, national and international resources that can provide guidance and financial support.

Higher Ground's efforts will replace those of the Community Fund and serve to supplement the businesses, organizations and individuals who have been essential in the relief process so far.

The outpouring of financial and volunteer support exhibited since Higher Ground's inception by the Northern Berkshire Interfaith Clergy in the days following the storm has been "phenomenal," said the Rev. Carrie Bail, pastor of First Congregational Church and the organization's chairman. "Many disaster professionals have remarked on how quickly we have built an effective helping organization."

Higher Ground is accepting donations by check, which can be made to Higher Ground and mailed to 906 Main St., Williamstown, MA 01267. Those interested in volunteering should email group coordinator Robin Lenz at nbhigherground@gmail.com. To stay updated on the situation and the group's work, visit nbhigherground.org or sign up for the newsletter at here.

Upcoming events:

• All Saints Episcopal Church is making and delivering a home-cooked turkey dinner with all of the fixings for anyone who is homebound and 55 or older. Call the church at 413-664-9656 to place an order. Those interested in helping with the program should contact Diane Bleau at the same number.

Monday, Nov. 21: The Berkshire Food Project will host its annual Thanksgiving dinner at 4 p.m. at First Congregational Church in North Adams.

Wednesday, Nov. 23: Williams College will host a Thanksgiving meal at 11 a.m. in Driscoll Dining Hall.

Tuesday, Nov. 29: The Williamstown Chamber of Commerce annual meeting from 5 to 7 p.m. will be a fundraiser for Higher Ground. The dinner will be at the Orchards and open to the public at a cost of $30 per person. To sign up: 413-458-9077 or info@williamstownchamber.com.
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