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The annual Voices of Recovery gathering and walk will be different this year because of COVID-19. There will be a self-guided walk Saturday afternoon and virtual messaging and webinars next week.

Voices of Recovery Plans Self-Guided Walk, Virtual Events

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Northern Berkshire Community Coalition will commence its annual event, Voices for Recovery, beginning this Friday, Sept. 25. This year's theme is "Days of Hope," and the weeklong event coincides with the conclusion of Recovery Month.
 
North Adams Mayor Thomas Bernard will issue a proclamation from the city of North Adams, and a video greeting for Recovery Month that will debut on the NBCC website at nbccoalition.org and Facebook page  on Friday, Sept. 25, at 3 p.m. 
 
On Saturday, Sept. 26, the coalition invites members of the Northern Berkshire community to participate in a self-guided recovery walk throughout North Adams from noon to 3 p.m. 
 
The walk begins at the coalition's entrance at 61 Main St.; stops include NBCC's Beacon Recovery Community Center at The Green at 85 Main St., the Brien Center, Tapestry, Keenan House North, Louison House, All Saints Episcopal Church, and First Baptist Church. Each stop will be staffed by community members and members of the provider community who are knowledgeable about local recovery resources. Artwork and poetry, as well as signs from community supports, will be interspersed between the stations.  
 
Participants will receive a map, T-shirt, and packets containing local recovery resources. To register in advance to receive a T-shirt for the walk, go here. Participants are asked to wear masks and practice appropriate social distancing, walking individually or in small groups. Those who are unable to participate on Saturday can visit the stops on their own in the following days.
 
For Alex Kostopoulos, a community member who has been coming to BRCC since July 2019, this year's Voices For Recovery is an important reminder: "Even though each of us may march to a different drum, we can look to the future and focus on our common goal of recovery for all."
 
"In a year like no other we will celebrate recovery in ways we never have before," said Bernard. "While we can't gather in person as we have in the past we will still show our support and share our strength with those who are living their recovery every day, those who have yet to begin that journey, and those who are healing from the loss of loved ones. I'm so grateful to the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, the Beacon Recovery Community Center, and everyone who is making this virtual celebration available to everyone in their community."
 
In the days following the walk, Voices For Recovery 2020 will continue virtually, with messages and recordings from members of our community in recovery, an introduction to an All-Recovery Meeting, a link to a Learn to Cope webinar, and video remarks from former Mayor Richard Alcombright on the topic of hope for recovery and new initiatives related to addiction recovery.
 
Voices for Recovery events are planned by the Beacon Recovery Community Center and its membership. For more information, visit www.nbccoalition.org or call 413-663-7588.
 

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State Declares 'Green Friday' in Support of Local Xmas Tree Farms

UXBRIDGE, Mass. — The Baker-Polito administration has declared Friday, Nov. 27, as "Green Friday" to encourage people across the commonwealth to visit their local farms and nurseries for Christmas trees, holiday plants, and holiday decorating needs.
 
To celebrate, state Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux participated in a Christmas tree-cutting ceremony at Arrowhead Acres in Uxbridge. In an effort to support the commonwealth's Christmas tree industry, the declaration of Green Friday encourages people throughout the state to visit their local Christmas tree farms to purchase their trees, holiday plants, ornamental swags, and wreaths to fulfill their holiday decorating needs.
 
"Our administration believes in the importance of supporting our farms by shopping locally and purchasing holiday decorations from one of the commonwealth's many family-operated Christmas tree farms," said Gov. Charlie Baker. "Now more than ever, it is a great time to spend quality time with your family while partaking in this outdoor activity which allows for proper social distancing."
 
Christmas tree season in Massachusetts provides hundreds of seasonal jobs at approximately 264 Christmas tree farms on approximately 2,801 acres of land from Cape Cod to the Berkshires. The sale of more than 82,524 state-grown Christmas trees contributes approximately $3.5 million to the commonwealth's economy each year. Christmas tree farms, which are often sited on soils that cannot support other crops, stabilize soil, which helps prevent erosion and protect water supplies. When chipped, the trees can be used as a renewable source of energy to be burned as fuel, used as mulch, or composted.
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