Office assistant Tina Samson shows one of the bags donated by Waubeeka Golf Links. Those and bags from Big Y will be filled with products for veterans in need this holiday.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Operation Christmas for Veterans is off to a strong start: boxes and bags of donated clothing, home goods and hygiene items are piling up in the city's Veteran Services Office.
But the number of veterans being served by the office has also grown over the past couple years as the office has become regional covering not only North Adams but Adams, Cheshire, Clarksburg, Florida, Lanesborough, Savoy and Williamstown.
The drive started by veterans office assistant Tina Samson two years ago expects to provide gift bags to close to 200 veterans, their widows and families this season.
"It's been great," Samson said Thursday. "Look at what has been given so far."
Waubeeka Golf Links in Williamstown provided sturdy sports bags leftover from a tournament and D'Amours Big Y gave reusable bags to fill with new donated goods.
"Big Y here in North Adams has been so good to us," Samson said. "They're veterans all the way."
Among the bags and boxes were dozens of cans of shaving cream, shampoos, toothbrushes and toothpaste, handknit caps, and new coats, scarves, socks and gloves. Brand-new comforters and towels were dropped off by individual donors.
The local Elks chapter, St. Elizabeth's Church, Ocean State Job Lots and employees at juvenile and district court are being generous with donations as well. Cumberland Farms has already donated $200 in gift cards and Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art 20 passes.
Samson said the office will accept new, unused items for personal hygiene for both men and women, accessories and winter wear. Gift cards to local stores or check donations will also be accepted.
Adams Community Bank's Cheshire office has set up a box for donations and Samson said those donations will go to Cheshire veterans. Quite a few veterans had come forward looking for aid after the town became part of the regional coverage, she said.
(North Adams Veterans Agent Stephen Roy's services are contracted by other towns through the city.)
On Thursday, Samson was preparing to mail out 80 letters to businesses throughout North Berkshire to solicit donations.
Veterans in need, though, don't have to wait until Christmas. Those who qualify through the state's Chapter 115 veterans benefit program can get a new winter coat donated by Ocean State and access to the food pantry kept by the veterans' office at City Hall.
To learn more about services available or to make a donation, contact Samson at 413-662-3040 or at Room 105 in City Hall.
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Biz Briefs: Tourists Hotel to be Honored at Celebrate the Berkshires Event
Tourists, the 48-room hotel that opened in North Adams in 2018, will receive the 2019 Putting the Berkshires on the Map honor in recognition of the substantial contribution that they have made to the Berkshire economy. This recognition will be presented at the 1Berkshires' ninth annual Celebrate the Berkshires event on Sept. 26 at Jiminy Peak.
"In the past 18 months, no property has garnered as much press or shone a light on the Berkshires more consistently than Tourists," said Jonathan Butler, CEO of 1Berkshire said. "With over $15 million in private investment, this project has assembled and reimagined a diverse collection of properties that illuminate the deep and complex history of North Adams. They’ve developed relationships and opportunities with new investors to the region, and created an incredible experience for guests.”
Tourists is a hotel and riverside retreat inspired by the classic American roadside motor lodge, set in North Adams at the confluence of the Mohawk Trail, the Hoosic River and the Appalachian Trail. The property is a union of design and nature, home to woodland trails, riverbank vistas, sculptural installations, unique food experiences, and more. Since opening in August of 2018, Tourists has welcomed nearly 10,000 guests to North Adams, many on their first visit to the region.
In addition to honoring TOURISTS, 1Berkshire’s Celebrate the Berkshires will also showcase Berkshire-based individuals and businesses who demonstrate excellence in several Trendsetter Award categories. The entire community is invited to come celebrate these achievements and commitments that have strengthened the local economy and helped the region grow. Visit the website to reserve tickets.
Plastic bag ban
Big Y Foods is eliminating single-use plastic bags at the checkouts from its more than 80 supermarket and specialty store locations in Massachusetts and Connecticut on Aug. 1. The grocer will offer discounts on reusable bags through the month of August as customers transition away from plastic.
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