Berkshires Beat: Berkshire Humance Society Hosts 100 Cats for Christmas
100 Cats for Christmas
For the seventh year, Berkshire Humane Society has received a grant from Massachusetts Animal Coalition's license plate program to support BHS’s 100 Cats for Christmas initiative during the month of December. The program is the shelter’s largest and most successful low-cost spay/neuter effort for kittens and cats in the Berkshires and surrounding areas. Without the support of the license plate program, this invaluable service would not be possible.
In the last six years, 100 Cats for Christmas has exceeded its goal of spaying and neutering 100 cats. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. To participate, residents of Berkshire County must call Berkshire Humane Society at 413-447-7878, ext. 124, or visit the main shelter at 214 Barker Road in Pittsfield for qualification requirements and registration locations. Participants must complete a registration form and pay a non-refundable $25 fee in person to cover the surgery and a rabies vaccination.
Appointments will be scheduled during the month of December. All cats and kittens will be dropped off at predesignated locations to be announced. BHS staff and volunteers will transport the felines to participating veterinarians, and will return them for owner pick-up in the afternoon. All cats must be in secure carriers with proper identification including the owner's and cat's name. This year's participating veterinarians include: Allen Heights Veterinary Hospital, Greylock Animal Hospital, North County Veterinary Hospital, Pittsfield Veterinary Hospital, Lenox Cat Hospital, South Street Veterinary Services, Valley Veterinary Services and Hilltowns Veterinary Clinic. For more information about 100 Cats for Christmas, contact the feline department at 413-447-7878, ext. 124.
Pittsfield Community Connection, a program of 18 Degrees, is looking for mentor volunteers to work with young people ages 10 to 24 from Pittsfield. Pittsfield Community Connection will provide the training and support to work toward a successful match with a young person.
For more information, contact Gail Krumpholz, via email or by phone 413-822-4196. Formerly Berkshire Children and Families, 18 Degrees promotes the well-being of children and the strength of families to build better communities.
Berkshire Leadership Program Applications
1Berkshire is accepting applications for its 2020 Berkshire Leadership Program, which is now in its 22nd year. Only 30 candidates will be selected to participate in the program each year. Applications are open from Oct. 30 through Dec. 8 online.
BLP seeks, prepares, and involves individuals from every career level who are committed to addressing community challenges and moving the Berkshires forward. There have been more than 600 community-minded graduates of the program since its inception in 1997.
BLP brings participants to the next level of personal and professional development and community engagement. The program kicks off with a two-day retreat, which includes training in many facets of leadership, problem-solving techniques, and networking. The retreat is followed by an economic development bus tour of Berkshire County and eight weekly evening sessions on topics that define a community, including education, workforce development, government, energy, community engagement, creative economy, healthcare, and leadership.
Fuel Your Fundraiser Program
The Herberg Middle School Parent Advisory Council is participating in BJ's Fuel Your Fundraiser Program. People can purchase a new membership or renew a current membership through the Herberg PAC and BJ's will donate $5 per application to the Herberg PAC.
New members can purchase a 12-month Perks Rewards Membership for $50 ($60 savings) or a 12-month Inner Circle Membership for $25 ($30 savings). Renewing members will receive one free bonus month plus savings and may purchase a 13-month Perks Rewards Membership for $80 ($30 savings) or a 13-month Inner Circle Membership for $40 ($15 savings). Renewing Members can take advantage of this offer (even if the membership is not expiring) and BJ’s will extend a current membership by 13 months.
BJ's stores will not process this special offer. Memberships currently enrolled in the BJ's Easy Renewal program are not eligible for this promotion. Contact the Herberg PAC by email for the special application and questions. The offer ends Dec. 5.
Holiday Wish Program
Hillcrest Educational Centers' 2019 Holiday Wish Program is now under way. The Holiday Wish Program provides gifts for the 160 special-needs children in their care, many of whom are unable to spend the holidays with their families.
There are two ways to participate. Individuals, community groups or businesses can request the desired number of wish cards with instructions on shopping for the children by contacting Peter Lopenzina by email or by phone at 413-499-7924, ext. 133. Or people can mail a donation to Peter Lopenzina, Hillcrest Educational Centers, 788 South St., Pittsfield, MA 01201. As a guide, $150 sponsors one child’s wish list and $25 will buy a gift.
Giving Back guide
The fourth annual Giving Back guide is now being distributed throughout the Berkshires. Published by the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, the directory of more than 1,000 nonprofits helps people get a better idea of the nonprofit landscape and opportunities for volunteering and donating.
This year's publication has a record 176 pages thanks to sponsors Berkshire Bank, Feigenbaum Foundation and Dr. Robert C. & Tina Sohn Foundation. Advertisers also help make it possible to give away 5,000 free copies from Sheffield to Williamstown. Giving Back guides can be found in coffee shops, banks, retail establishments, doctor's office, libraries and other community gathering places.
In addition to the directory, 112 nonprofits have full-page profiles describing mission, programs and ways to help. The front of the book features stories authored by local writer, Hannah Van Sickle, on three Berkshire organizations that rely heavily on volunteers to achieve their missions.
Jewish Women's Foundation grants
The Jewish Women's Foundation of Berkshire County recently announced grant awards totaling $40,000 for 16 local organizations. The investments fall in two of the priority areas identified by the foundation: one, programs with a mission to increase the availability of food and access to housing for Berkshire residents; and two, programs that provide support services for children and families in need. The grants range from $800 to $3,500 and run for one year.
From 29 applicants this year, 16 were awarded grants. Of these, two are first-time recipients: The Berkshire Center for Justice, Inc. and The Guthrie Center. The organizations and programs the grants will benefit include Alchemy Initiative’s Downtown Pittsfield Farmer’s Market, Berkshire Baby Box, Berkshire Center for Justice, Berkshire Community Diaper Project, Berkshire Grown, Berkshire Hills Regional School District Project Connection, Berkshire Immigration Center, Berkshire South Regional Community Center, Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires, Community Health Programs, Congregation Beth Israel, Construct, Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center/Girls Inc. of the Berkshires, The Guthrie Center, Literacy Volunteers and Railroad Street Youth Project.
The Jewish Women’s Foundation, a division of the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires, is a dedicated to meeting unmet needs through the Jewish concept of "tikkun olam" (acts of kindnesses performed to perfect or repair the world). Members pledge a minimum of $500 to the foundation each year, and are eligible to serve on the grant committee that evaluates the proposals and determines the socially-responsible programs to be funded.
Besides the funds awarded through its grant-application process, the Jewish Women’s Foundation funded several other community programs in 2019, including the Jewish Transportation Network, the BMC Care Navigation Program, Jewish Camp Scholarships, and Berkshire Fuel Assistance Programs among others. Since its inception in 2009, the Jewish Women’s Foundation has awarded grants, totaling more than $340,000.
Peacemaker Award Nominations
The Peacemaker Award is given annually to an individual or group in Northern Berkshire. The award, which originated as part of the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, is made to persons who have contributed substantially to peace in our region. In general, the Peacemaker Award recognizes persons who have a history of working with people and/or neighborhoods and communities to provide for greater tolerance, understanding, and caring. While the award may be made to a person or group well known in the region, those making nominations are particularly urged to consider those who have worked hard and have made contributions without much recognition.
Past Peacemakers include Kenna Waterman, Don Quinn Kelley, Mark Rondeau, Mark Lincourt, Pastor Dave Anderson, Al & Cindi McLain, PopCares and Dick Alcombright. The MLK Jr. Day of Service Committee is also seeking new members interested in helping to plan the January 2020 event. To join the committee, call Liz Boland at 413-663-7588, ext. 19. To nominate a Peacemaker, pick up a form at the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition office at 61 Main St., Suite 218, North Adams, or nominate online. Nominations must be received by Nov. 25.
Gingerbread House Contest
Hancock Shaker Village invites bakers of all ages and skill levels to enter the Hancock Holidays Gingerbread House Contest. The theme is outstanding works of architecture. All submissions will be exhibited during Hancock Holidays, Dec. 6-8. Registration forms must be received by Wednesday, Nov. 27, and entries must be dropped off between Nov. 30 and Dec. 4. Participation in the contest is free and open to the public.
Each submission should be an interpretation of an architectural masterwork (including buildings from Hancock Shaker Village, if desired). Gingerbread houses will be judged in three categories: adult, family and youth (ages 17 and under). Guest judges will choose winners and Hancock Holidays attendees will select the visitor favorite. Prizes will be awarded in each category. Each participant receives two free admission passes to the Village during Hancock Holidays. Entry forms and a complete list of rules may be found online or call 413-443-0188 for more information.
'Food for Fines'
The Berkshire Athenaeum will offer a modified fines amnesty through Saturday, Nov. 30. During this month of thanksgiving, the library will accept non-perishable food items in lieu of paying fines for overdue books.
The food-for-fines program, now in its 24th year, provides a fun and meaningful way for overdue library materials to be returned. Food is accepted for payment of overdue fines for items currently in circulation as well as outstanding overdue fines from other transactions. The replacement costs of lost or damaged materials may not be resolved by donated food.
The 30th annual “Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas” will be celebrated on Dec. 6-8 organized by the Stockbridge Chamber of Commerce. The weekend will be filled with festive events including holiday readings, house tour, concert, and the Norman Rockwell's Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas re-creation.
The Holiday House Tour is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 7, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. They are seeking two volunteers per shift (10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 4 p.m.) The volunteers will be given information by the property owners and will be assisting them in showing the homes to the interested visitors. Volunteers will not be giving "tours," per se, but will be greeters, extra security, etc. Volunteers will be offered a complimentary ticket to view the other properties either before or after their shift. Contact Barbara Zanetti at 413-298-5200.
Eversource invites Massachusetts students to demonstrate their energy efficiency knowledge by entering its seventh annual Eversource Challenge. The competition promotes energy conservation, energy efficiency and sustainability and is open to kindergarten to high school students in Eversource's Massachusetts electric service territory. Deadline for registration is March 17. All entries must be received or postmarked by March 27, 2020.
Students in grades kindergarten through eight are assigned grade-specific challenges and asked to submit entries in the form of a poster (grades kindergarten through two), a limerick (grade three), an outdoor billboard (grade four), a narrative and an image of an energy-saving super-hero (grade five), a letter to parents (grade six), a news article (grade seven), or public service announcement (grade eight).
Students competing in grades nine through 12 will create a persuasive image that advocates for an energy topic. Options include a short poem (125 words or less) or a cartoon strip (12 cells or less) that addresses energy efficiency, a renewable energy source, or environmental concern.
Eversource Challenge finalists in all categories and grade levels will be honored at a special awards ceremony in early May, and winners will receive Amazon Gift Cards. All entries are judged on the use of accurate and scientific facts, creativity, readability, persuasiveness, originality, and appearance. Students’ submissions are judged against those from the same grade levels in their community. For applications, guidelines and more information about the Eversource Challenge, visit the website.
Christmas Toy Drive
North Adams Emergency Services with the help of the North Adams Rotary Club will hold their annual Christmas Toy Drive at the North Adams Walmart on Curran Memorial Highway on Sunday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. They will be collecting new, unwrapped items to be distributed to local families. Items can also be dropped off at the North Adams Police Department, Fire Department and Ambulance locations as well.