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Mayor Thomas Bernard helps deliver food donations to the Friendship Pantry on Monday.
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The pantry feeds upwards of a 1,000 people a month.

North Adams Workers Deliver Boxes of Good to Pantry

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The donations arrived in the colorful donation boxes created by local schoolchildren. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — City workers delivered the results of this year's annual food drive to help support local families in need. 
 
Volunteers at the Al Nelson Friendship Center Food Pantry were on hand early Monday morning to take accept the boxes of canned and packaged goods.
 
The annual drive collects nonperishable foods from the North Adams Public Schools, City Hall, Police Department, Fire Department, Spitzer Center and the library. Organized through the public schools, the food drive started with the opening of the Friendship Center Pantry on Eagle Street in 2011. Schoolchildren decorated the boxes set out for public donations.
 
Mark Rondeau, one of the founders of the food pantry with the late Al Nelson, said the donation was welcome as the pantry had seen a small spike in the number of families it serves weekly beginning in October that's averaging higher than last year.
 
"It's very, very important. It shows the community support we get," he said, recalling how former Mayor Richard Alcombright had started the drive. "We got off to a very busy November and we're going to be open this Wednesday. So, you know, this helps us meet the increased need.
 
Families and individuals can go to the pantry on Eagle Street twice a month, or every other Wednesday. Rondeau said it served close to 1,000 family units a month in North Adams, Clarksburg and Florida, although he estimated 95 percent are from North Adams. 
 
The pantry accepts donations of cash and supplies.
 
"We can always use peanut butter and soup and things like canned vegetables are always good," Rondeau said. "Personal care items for people, we give those out, too. They are not covered by SNAP."

Tags: food drive,   food pantry,   Friendship Center,   

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Berkshire Planning Commission FY23 Budget Sees Growth From New Grants

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Regional Planning Commission's fiscal year 2023 budget has increased by about $886,000 from this year largely due to grants for economic development, housing, environmental and energy, and public health programs.

BRPC's finance committee on Thursday gave the $5,379,584 budget a positive recommendation.  

"We have had a fair number of, and a growing number of grants coming in for public health purposes, and this is really related to the strong emphasis the state has put on public health," Executive Director Thomas Matuszko said.

"And also, we're getting a continued strong emphasis in our economic development planning, so I think those are both good."  

He added that he believes the COVID-19 pandemic has reawakened everyone's awareness of the importance of public health and as part of that, there was legislation passed to improve the delivery of public health services.

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