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The Al Nelson Friendship Center Food Pantry will continue to operate to help those in need.

Food Services Continue to Adjust; Fundraiser Set for Williamstown Pantry

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Al Nelson Friendship Center Food Pantry will continue to operate during the COVID-19 emergency, officials announced Thursday, a day after changing its pickup procedures for the first time as a result of the pandemic.

"We as a group are committed, in the time-honored fashion of North Adams and Northern Berkshire pulling together, to do our part to take care of each other," Mark Rondeau, co-founder and board president, said in a statement. "We have hope that after this crisis much better days are coming. Stay tuned."

The next pickup is Wednesday, March 25, from the center's 45 Eagle Street location. Social distancing procedures will be followed strictly. Updates will be posted to the group's website and Facebook page

In addition, the Berkshire Food Project — which typically serves lunch every day from the First Congregational Church on Main Street — is altering its procedures and will serve pre-packed meals on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Staff is prepping meals and packaging them for distribution, two meals at a time since they will not be there on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Friday's meal will consist of pasta with roasted vegetables, mac and cheese with a side of mixed vegetables, and ham on the side.

No seating will be allowed inside the church.

"The meals will be handed out at the breezeway entrance," the group's Facebook post reads. "Please do not go to the kitchen door — the meals at the breezeway will be accessible without stairs."

Updates will be posted on the organization's Facebook page.

"We have a conference call of board members and staff on Sunday afternoon to assess next week," Executive Director Kim McMann said Thursday. "We are taking it week by week. … Everything is changing so much so quickly."

And in an effort to bolster the stock of necessities available at the Williamstown Food Pantry, a "Drive for Change" will take place in a drive-through lane at the Williamstown Youth Center, 66 School St., on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, March 21-23, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Drivers will deposit their loose change (ideally, without getting out of their vehicles) into five-gallon collection buckets and circle back out of the parking lot.

All of funds raised will be distributed as donations of food and emergency supplies by the Williamstown Food Pantry to those most in need. Precautions are being taken to maintain social distancing.

People can also drop off donations anytime to the shelves in the front foyer of the Sts. Patrick and Raphael Parish Center.

The food pantry in Adams remains closed. The Mobile Food Bank operated by Food Bank of Western Massachusetts suspended its schedule but hopes to resume on Monday, March 23. 

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Tags: COVID-19,   food pantry,   

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March 28 COVID-19 Briefs: Public Parks Push Passive Use

Group Games Banned in Public Parks

Communities including North Adams have been removing hoop rims to discourage youth congregating at public parks.
Reminder that playgrounds and sports facilities are closed during the state of emergency. Walking paths, fields and benches are still open but group activities and sports such as basketball are prohibited. Playground equipment is not being sanitized and should be used. Remember to maintain social distancing of 6 feet or more.
North Adams Administrative Officer Michael Canales said the hoop rims were removed from parks including Noel Field and UNO because young people were gathering there.
"Right now parks only for passive recreation," he said. "We removed the rims because even if they're passing a basketball between them, they're making contact through the ball. ... We want them to socially distance."
North Adams has installed large signs at the parks reminding residents of the rules but Canales acknowledged it has been difficult to enforce at the skate park. 
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