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Berkshire Money Management founder Allen Harris presents a giant check to Thanksgiving Angels Program coordinator Mary Wheat on Friday.

Berkshire Money Management Donates $25K in Food to Thanksgiving Angels

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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Harris puts in manual labor to bring the produce and other foods into South Congregational Church.
 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — About 1,600 local families will have turkey day feasts on the table thanks to a collaboration between Berkshire Money Management and the Thanksgiving Angels.

On Friday, BMM presented the organization with a big $25,000 check, doubling its fundraising efforts during a year of increased need. The funds are a match to what the organization was able to gather.

"The Thanksgiving Angels needed roughly $50,000 this year to supply the amount of food for people who are in need this year, and I figured it would be really hard for them to do it this year because it's going to be harder to attain that food because of food prices, and that's going to reduce people's disposable income," founder and CEO Allen Harris said.

"So we thought that what we do is approach the Thanksgiving Angels since and say, 'we'll donate $25,000 as a matching campaign, what we would like to do is keep as much as we can of that local, so if you can match it $25,000, I'll give this $25,000 and Wohrle's will supply that food.'"

Thanksgiving Angels is a joint effort between more than 20 food pantries, organizations, and faith communities that provide turkeys and all of the sides to residents in need.

The food was sourced from Wohrle's, filling up two whole box trucks. Volunteers were buzzing around the South Congregational Church's supply room, unloading the mass quantities of carrots, onions, potatoes, squash, and more.

Program coordinator Mary Wheat was astonished by the amount of food that was coming in. Wheat also runs the church's regular food pantry.

"It's a very very generous donation," she said, "It made it possible for 1,600 families to have a nutritious Thanksgiving."



Wheat explained that the Thanksgiving Angels will make about 500 deliveries before the holiday and grab and families will pick up meals in a "grab and go" format on Monday and Tuesday. Last year, there were about 300 volunteers who contributed to the effort.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many households, causing unemployment and food insecurity.  This year, there was an increased need for turkeys and sides.

A member of the BMM team, Stacey Carver, has worked with the group for a long time and saw the increased need for groceries firsthand.

Years ago, the money management firm used to hold their own turkey distribution where they gave the bird to families in need along with gift certificates for the fixings. Harris said he found it was easier if the two entities coordinate together.

This donation added another zero to BMM's 2018 contribution of $2,500 and countless more full stomachs.


Tags: Berkshire Money Management,   donations,   food bank,   

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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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