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Pat Masoero, financial director of the Christian Center, shows some of the children's games and activities at the annual Community Day on Saturday.
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The celebration was located at Tucker Park and in front of the The Christian Center on Robbins Avenue. Part of the street was blocked off.

Christian Center Holds Community Day, Celebrates 130 Years

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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The Civitan Club has been providing picnic food for the event for a number of years.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A portion of Robbins Avenue was filled with a celebration on Saturday as the Christian Center held its annual Community Day and marked 130 years as an organization.

"To be honest, for the last 130 years, the Christian Center has done essentially the same thing," Executive Director  Betsy Sherman said, explaining that the center offers food, clothing, paths to jobs, and referrals to housing with the goal of helping people have a more secure life.

It was founded in 1892 as the Epworth Mission by the Methodist Church and has been at its current location since 1906. Sherman explained that in the late 1800s, many immigrants came to the West Side looking for a better life.

They were in need of basic necessities, which led to the first iteration of the Christian Center.

"All of these people needed housing, they needed food, they needed clothing, they needed a place to live," Sherman said. "And that's what we've been doing."

The free celebration included kids' games and prizes, arts and crafts, a bouncy house, and food provided by the Civitan Club of the Berkshires. Community agencies including Berkshire United Way were also present at the event to offer information about their services.

The Civitan Club is an all-volunteer, non-profit, service organization and has been providing food at the event for a number of years. The menu included hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta salad, chips, and dessert all free of charge.

"Our mission is to analyze the community's needs and provide service volunteers to help organize and do whatever needs to be done," President Janet Smargie said.

At the end of the day, any leftovers is donated to the Christian Center or another similar organization.

Sherman said the center got a small grant to address safety issues in the house for women and children and is looking to do that work in the near future.

"We're thinking of combining that with the fire safety week in October to make a big push for fire safety in the fall and winter and around Halloween," she explained. "So these are some things we've been talking about and they'll firm up."

The Christian Center offers a food pantry Monday through Thursday from 10 to 1 and on Friday from 8 to noon; a clothing and housewares boutique on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9 to 1; a hot lunch Monday through Thursday from noon to 1 and a cold lunch on Friday from noon to 12:30 p.m.

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Pittsfield to Unveil Plaque for Buddy Pellerin Ballfield

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A commemorative plaque will officially designate the Clapp Park ballfield for former coach George "Buddy" Pellerin.

The name change was approved about seven years ago after Pellerin passed away at the age of 77. The plaque's set be unveiled at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14.

"Chairman [Cliff] Nilan has been involved with this effort to site a permanent plaque at the Buddy Pellerin Field which is of course the main baseball field and Clapp Park where Buddy Pellerin coached and played for many, many years," Park, Open Space and Natural Resource Program Manager James McGrath explained to the Parks Commission on Monday.

"And this is a permanent recognition of his contribution to the city."

The plaque, currently covered up, is just behind home plate on the backstop behind the walking track.  It was pointed out that the public is welcome to join the unveiling to remember a "literal Pittsfield giant."

Pellerin was head coach of the Pittsfield High baseball team for 19 years, leading the team to the state title in 1966 and taking the team to the 1974 title game. He also served as athletic director and head softball coach during his time at PHS.
He handed over the reins of the baseball team in 1982 but remained active in the sport. He went on to coach softball at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and the former St. Joseph's High as well as the city's Babe Ruth League all-star team. He was inducted into the Massachusetts Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1988.
The park has seen major improvements after the city partnered with the Rotary Club and the Buddy Pellerin Field Committee on a state grant.

During the meeting, it was also reported that the Berkshire County Historical Society has been working with the city to plant a commemorative elm tree in Park Square. It will replace the iconic one that was planted in the 1990s to emulate an elm that was admired by Pittsfield residents in the city's early days.

There will be a dedication ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 28, at 5:30 p.m. The event will fall on Nation Plant a Tree Day.

"This year we have been working with [McGrath] to plan a special planting of an elm to commemorate the elm that was obviously very famous here in Pittsfield and was chopped down but was first saved by Lucretia Williams," Executive Director Lesley Herzberg explained.

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