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The community sold chances to win this quilt and all proceeds went to the BCCH.

Berkshires Beat: Senior Living Community Collects Items For Neighbors in Need

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Helping hands: Brookdale Fillmore Pond, a senior living community, launched a partnership with the Bennington County Coalition for the Homeless (BCCH), to provide assistance to those in need in the Bennington, Vt., area. The Bennington County Coalition for the Homeless currently provides resources for more than 400 people a year, but continues to need assistance. The associates, residents and their families at Brookdale Fillmore Pond collected items based on the needs of the BCCH.

Needed items that were collected include gently used seasonal clothing, including coats and socks; children's books; and personal hygiene items, specifically small bottles of shampoo, lotion, mouthwash and toothpaste. In addition to collecting items, a resident's daughter, Bethany Morelli, donated a beautiful handmade quilt. The community sold chances to win this quilt and all proceeds went to the BCCH. For more information, about the donations contact Christopher Oldham, executive director of BCCH, at 802-753-7205 or Christopher.oldham@bcch-vt.com.
 


Cooking up goodness: Two groups of Williams College students who will work collaboratively to address food insecurity issues in northern Berkshire County have won a $5,000 grant from the Campus Kitchens Project. Williams Recovery of All Perishable Surplus (WRAPS) and Moo-Mami, a student cooking group, will continue a long-term project with Dining Services to gather, prepare and distribute free, healthy meals to area housing communities and organizations.

For several years, WRAPS and Dining Services have partnered on this project, and the funds from Campus Kitchen Project will enable the groups to purchase supplies needed for the packaging and transportation of meals. Last year, WRAPS delivered 1,409 meals. Currently, WRAPS uses existing Dining Services kitchen space during off-hours to repackage and prepare balanced and nourishing meals that are delivered to the Mohawk Forest Apartments and Louison House in North Adams. Under the Campus Kitchens Project, WRAPS and Moo-Mami leaders will combine forces and talents to organize weekly shift operations to recover food, prepare meals, deliver meals, and do programming and outreach.

The Campus Kitchens Project, the leading national nonprofit empowering students to fight hunger and food waste, works with high school and college students nationwide on efforts to combat food waste and hunger by collecting surplus food from community gardens, restaurants, and grocery stores and transforming it into healthy meals.

 

Go red: Employees from a dozen departments at Southwestern Vermont Health Care gathered on Friday, Feb. 3, for a photo to celebrate National Wear Red Day.

The American Heart Association's observance and its Go Red for Women campaign raise awareness of heart health issues, especially in women.



Input sought: The Pittsfield Department of Community Development is sponsoring two public input sessions in February as part of the preparation toward the 2018 Annual Action Plan.  The purpose of the public input sessions is to obtain public comments and suggestions on how the city’s federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds should be used to improve the quality of life in the community.  Information gathered from these public input sessions will be used during the preparation of the city's Annual Action Plan.

The first public input session will be held 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 13, at Morningside Community School, Community Room, located at 100 Burbank St.  The second public input session will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, at Conte Community School, Community Room, located at 200 West Union St. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that the city prepare this plan each year. Funded projects included in the plan are required to benefit under-resourced community members, eliminate slums and blight, or address an urgent need.



Those attending the public input sessions will be given the opportunity to speak on a variety of community issues such as: housing rehabilitation; public facilities; job opportunities; demolition of vacant buildings; sidewalk reconstruction; and park improvements.



NAMI course: The National Alliance on Mental Illness Berkshire County is offering Family-to-Family, a free course for family caregivers of individuals over 18 with serious mental illnesses. The course provides information and skills to help all family members cope and move toward recovery. The teachers are NAMI-trained family members who have lived the journey and relate personally to those seeking knowledge and comfort. Their training and the shared experience of class members create a supportive, uplifting learning experience. The course is entirely private.

Twelve class sessions explore and highlight the latest knowledge and experience about diagnosis & biology of psychiatric illness; medications; family problem solving, handling conflict, crisis & relapse; advocacy and more. The course is free and pre-registration is required. The course takes place over 12 consecutive Thursdays from 6:30 to 9 p.m. beginning Feb. 9 at Berkshire Community College. Contact Marilyn at 413-743-5126 or the_morans@verizon.net with any questions or to pre-register.



River meeting: The Hoosic River Watershed Association held its 31st annual meeting at Community Hall in the First Congregational Church in Williamstown on Monday, Jan. 23.  Mark Merrell of Hoosick Falls and Nick Howe of Williamstown were appointed as new board directors and Andy Kawczak of North Adams, Thom Gentle of North Bennington, and Lauren Stevens and Tom Hyde of Williamstown were re-appointed to three-year terms.  Elected officers were Andy Kawczak as president, Thom Gentle as vice president, Harold Brotzman as treasurer and Wendy Hopkins as secretary.

Jose Constantine, Williams College geoscientist, spoke of his research into the historical Mississippi River, in hopes of applying the same techniques to learn about the Hoosic River before European settlement altered its course.  Executive Director Steve McMahon also presented a brief talk on the accomplishments of the Watershed Association in 2016 and projects planned for this year.

The Hoosic River Watershed Association is dedicated to the restoration, conservation and enjoyment of the Hoosic River and its watershed through education, research and advocacy.

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SVHC Welcomes New Volunteer Services Coordinator

BENNINGTON, Vt. — The Southwestern Vermont Health Care Corporate Development department has welcomed Rory Price as its new coordinator of volunteer services and community engagement. This position will allow for the expansion of volunteer programs at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center and the health system’s several campuses.

"Rory is an energetic professional with a great track record building community and leading important group-focused projects," said Leslie Keefe, vice president for Corporate Development at SVHC. "We are eager to provide opportunities for volunteers to make a meaningful difference toward achieving SVHC's goal of exceptional care, and we are delighted to have Rory at the forefront of that important effort."

Rory holds a master's of public health from and a bachelor's in anthropology, both from the University of Michigan. Locally, she worked as the coordinator of the Greater Bennington Interfaith Community Services' Kitchen Cupboard and the Bennington Oral Health Coalition programs. In 2015 and 2016, she served as the SVHC community health project coordinator with Americorps VISTA. Price has presented at the regional and national level on topics of health and community, and in 2016, she was the recipient of the Vermont Governor's Certificate of Appreciation.

"Volunteerism is such an important part of a thriving community, and SVHC is so fortunate to have a number of dedicated volunteers," Price said. "I am excited to provide meaningful opportunities for the community to engage with the health system and for volunteers to contribute to initiatives that enhance the care we provide."

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