Wheeler & Taylor Gives to Food Bank of Western Mass

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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — Wheeler & Taylor Insurance of Great Barrington and Canary Blomstrom Insurance Agency of Agawam provided support to The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

Two rounds of funding will pay for about 100,000 meals for hungry residents of Western Massachusetts. The Food Bank will receive one round of funding now an another in the spring.

"We’re so grateful to Wheeler & Taylor and Canary Blomstrom for their social investment in The Food Bank’s mission to feed our neighbors in need at this critical moment," Executive Director Andrew Morehouse said. "With this support, overall we’ll be able to provide 100,000 meals to households struggling to make ends meet and put healthy food on the table."

Wheeler & Taylor and Canary Blomstrom are members of GoodWorks Financial Group, a network of common-ownership insurance, real estate and financial firms.

"Thanks to The Food Bank, thousands of people in the region are able to get enough to eat every day," Wheeler & Taylor Insurance president J. Scott Rote said. "In this time of unprecedented need, our communities need unprecedented support, and we’re glad to do our part."

With the pandemic, demand for food has grown exponentially. The Food Bank is serving 109,500 people a month in 2020, up 16 percent from 2019. The organization has distributed 11.1 million pounds of food from March through October, a 30 percent increase. It estimates that about one in six residents in the region, including 40,000 children, or one in four, are food-insecure.

"It couldn’t be a worse year, more heartbreaking year, for many folks. I’m glad to know the grants will support food programs in our local area as well as regionally," Sandy Brodeur, president of Canary Blomstrom said.

Based in Hatfield, The Food Bank provides food to hundreds of member food pantries, shelters and meal sites in Western Massachusetts.

 


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Community Walks 'Out of The Darkness' for Suicide Prevention

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

Lori Murphy speaks at Saturday's walk about how mental illness and suicide has affected her family.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Some 200 people participated in the Berkshire County Out of the Darkness walk for suicide prevention on Saturday. For some, it was a day to honor the life of a loved one and for others, it was a day to acknowledge themselves as survivors.

Walkers began at the Common, made a loop around Silver Lake, and returned back to the park. The walks began nationally in 2004 and has been in the Berkshires since 2015.

Members of the Berkshire Coalition for Suicide Prevention and others shared their stories during the event of how suicide affected them and their families.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. To contact the Crisis Text Line, text HELLO to 741741.

"We're all here because we have a connection to suicide," said coalition Vice President Bertha Connelley. "We acknowledge all the different connections that bring you here today."

According to data from American Federation for Suicide Prevention, around 46,000 people died by suicide in the United States in 2020. That is 125 per day and one every 11 1/2 minutes.

"We also know that 90 percent of these people had a diagnosable and treatable psychological illness at the time of their death," Connelley added.

"We've gathered here today to raise awareness, decrease the stigma, and support research that will help identify and treat people suffering from mental illnesses with the ultimate goal of continuing to lower these numbers ...

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