PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Adams Community Bank has donated $100,000 to the COVID-19 Relief Fund that was recently established to help Berkshire Health Systems battle the coronavirus pandemic.
The major gift be used to help defray the costs of providing personal protective equipment for hospital caregivers and staff on the front lines of the health crisis. In addition to this gift, Adams Community Bank has also committed to funding one month of emergency child care for BHS employees, totaling up to $25,000, through an arrangement with the Berkshire Family YMCA.
The coronavirus is placing unprecedented financial pressures on health-care systems nationwide, including Berkshire Health Systems. Like all hospitals in the state, Berkshire Medical Center has been directed by the governor to halt all elective procedures.
"This measure has effectively paused all outpatient care, which typically provides at least 50 percent of BMC's annual revenue," explained David Phelps, president and CEO of Berkshire Heath Systems. "At the same time, expenses related to patient care and emergency operations during the pandemic have risen dramatically. Support from donors in any amount is critically important to helping us support our caregivers and all our staff in responding to the needs of our community."
Adams Community Bank is an independent, community savings bank headquartered in Adams. Incorporated in 1869, it has branch locations in Cheshire, Lanesborough, Lee, Lenox, North Adams and Williamstown.
On March 18, the bank dedicated an initial pool of $500,000 to assist those in the Berkshires affected by COVID-19, including another $100,000 for the COVID-19 fund administered by the Berkshire United Way/Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation and their relief efforts throughout the county.
"The foundation of our bank is community," said Charles P. O'Brien, president and CEO of Adams Community Bank. "When we saw that the coronavirus had quickly taken hold here in the Berkshires, we knew we had to act. By supporting Berkshire Medical Center and Berkshire Health Systems, we will be helping to provide critical support for our health care providers, nurses, and support staff."
Berkshire Medical Center, an affiliate of Berkshire Health Systems, is a 298-bed community teaching hospital serving the residents of Berkshire County and the neighboring areas. As the region's leading health-care provider, it also is the sole medical facility in the Berkshires treating COVID-19 patients who require hospitalization.
To support Berkshire Health Systems in its fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), visit the donation page here.
"We are so grateful for our friends at Adams Community Bank. As BHS confronts the rising costs of battling the wide-scale spread of COVID-19, this support from ACB provides a much-needed boost to our efforts," Phelps said. "The generosity of Adams Community Bank clearly demonstrates that compassion and kindness are alive and well in the Berkshires."
O'Brien said the bank's support is a "multi-layered approach" to assisting the communities its serves, its customers and its employees. "Over the years we have successfully navigated through many local and national events and business cycles and again stand ready to do our part."
Smaller but no less important relief efforts include buying lunch at local restaurants for employees to the tune of $7,877
at 30 local restaurants between March 19 and 31, began buying gifts cards from local restaurants for 20 groups of our first-responders spread across each town where branch is located. As of March 31, $3,500 in gift cards at 11 local restaurants have been sent to first-responders including Northern Berkshire EMS and local police departments.
The bank also has created an ACB Consumer Assistance Loan Fund of $250,000 to lend to individuals and families who are existing customers with a hardship because of COVID-19 with low interest and flexible repayment terms for loans up to $5,000 (applications here or call 413-743-0001
Other customer help includes refunds on certain fees, increased withdrawal limits, waiving of penalties on CD withdrawal, temporary deferral of mortgage payments, and the suspension of all foreclosures and evictions.
Adams Community Bank has created the ACB Small Business Assistance Loan Fund of $500,000 to lend to small businesses who are existing customers in need of working capital to help fund their operations. Call 413-743-0001 to get started.
Staff are also receiving full pay during this time regardless of hours or where they are working from.
"This is an amazing community, and we hope that our gifts will inspire many others to reach out with support for our hospital during this difficult time," O'Brien said.
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Berkshire Immigrant Center Celebrates National Immigrant Heritage Month
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Beginning June 1, the Berkshire Immigrant Center invites the community to honor the more than 10,000 immigrants in the Berkshires and by joining the annual observance of national Immigrant Heritage Month and helping to launch a $10,000 fundraising campaign for the center.
"During Immigrant Heritage Month, we proudly honor the many ways immigrants make the Berkshires a better place," said BIC Executive Director Michelle Lopez. "This year we are especially grateful for the hundreds of foreign-born doctors, medical technicians, nurses and staff who are caring for people at Berkshire Medical Center, Fairview Hospital, and nursing homes, and for local immigrants who are essential workers at our grocery stores, restaurants and farms."
Since March 20, BIC has raised more than $70,000 for a COVID-19 Relief Fund. Through this fund, BIC has helped more than 140 clients and their families pay for basic needs like rent and utilities.
"We know that so many local people are hurting, both our clients and our supporters, yet even during this crisis people are asking us how they can help," Lopez said.
While 100 percent of emergency relief has been passed through to clients, donations to the Immigrant Heritage Month Campaign help ensure that BIC can serve the local immigrant community in crisis and beyond, including helping immigrants become US citizens. In this year of the U.S. Census count, BIC has also worked diligently to make sure that immigrants are counted and that Berkshire communities thus receive every dollar of federal aid that they should get.
Tax-deductible donations of any amount are welcome online. Contributions can also be made by check made out to Berkshire Immigrant Center and mailed to BIC, 67 East Street, Pittsfield MA 01201.
The center remains the only program in Berkshire County that focuses exclusively on meeting the unique challenges of a continuously growing immigrant and refugee population. In 2018 BIC was named "Best Small Nonprofit" in the state by Massachusetts Nonprofit Network.
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