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Republic Services' Dan Higgins and John Griffin deliver a cases of food to the Rev. Joel Huntington for South Congregational's food pantry.
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Republic Services Donates Food Drive Collection to South Congregational

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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John Griffin, left, Rev. Joel Huntington, Catherine van Bramer, Roberta McCulloch-Dews and Dan Higgins. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — South Congregational Church's food pantry received a welcome gift on Wednesday — cases and cases of canned and boxed foods. 
 
The haul came from Republic Services, which has been doing food drives and donations for the church's food pantry and meal program for years.  
 
"We work with the mayor's office every year in terms of our community partnership programs to try to impact groups in the city," said the trash hauler's Municipal Services Manager Dan Higgins. "This group we've done every year because it has a lot of meaning to the city and to us and to see all the work they do here.
 
"It's something that we have wanted to support every year because it's just such a great cause. They do great work."
 
The Rev. Joel Huntington said the food pantry serves about 500 families a month and probably 550 at the end of the month. 
 
"They come Wednesday and Thursday morning to the pantry. It's a shopping pantry, so we line it up so they get a box and they can choose," he said. On Wednesday morning, they also got to take home light bulbs donated by a local energy group. "That kind of thing happens here all the time. ...
 
"It's a lot of community volunteers, which is very inspiring."
 
On Wednesday nights, the church provides about a 100 hot, nutritious meals in Barrett Hall and also offers breakfast to about 80 people twice a week after picking up the program from another congregation. St. Joe's Kitchen began as a shared project with the former St. Joseph's High School some 27 years ago.
 
"John in there has been cooking all day," he said of John Sandifer, who was busy making ribs for dinner in the hall kitchen (and offered a taste that got a strong thumbs up). 
 
During the Thanksgiving Angels program, which provides groceries for a full holiday meal, the church spends some $23,000 on turkeys for the thousands of people who use the program. But the need is there all year round, said Huntington.
 
Higgins and John Griffin, Republic's operations supervisor, pushed the cartload of food into the hall, already set up for dinner, and brought in a second bin of small items. The food donation was also being supplemented by a check.
 
Mayor Linda Tyer had planned to attend the donation but was called away; in her place were Director of Administrative Services Roberta McCulloch-Dews and Executive Assistant Catherine Van Bramer.
 
"This donation is something that we look forward to because we know that it benefits the residents in the city of Pittsfield and benefits those who come to the South Congregational food pantry," said McCulloch-Dews. "We think that it is a wonderful reflection of Republic Services' commitment to the community, and we know that it's going to help a lot of folks."
 
South Congregational accepts donations by Paypal, check or in person. Donations may be made here.

Tags: donations,   food pantry,   

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Pittsfield 4th of July Parade Canceled Again

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield's famed Fourth of July Parade has fallen victim to the COVID-19 pandemic once more.
 
On Friday morning, Mayor Linda Tyer delivered "breaking news" that the parade will be canceled this year for the second time since 1977. It was also canceled last year due to the novel coronavirus.
 
"It's disappointing to have to put another pause on the Fourth of July parade, but I just don't think that we can safely hold it this year," Tyer told local radio station Live 95.9.
 
Though large outdoor gatherings of 250 people and parades will be permitted at 50 percent capacity beginning on May 29, Tyer said this does not help the parade because there is no way of determining the capacity and then limiting it to half. The parade regularly brings thousands of people to North Street and involves hundreds of participants and volunteers.
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