Below is a collection of external employment and community resources for individuals in the Berkshires and Southern Vermont who are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Job Opportunities in the Berkshires and So. Vermont
Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires & Southern Vermont has a partnership with MassHire. Individuals who complete one of our 3 training programs: Custodial, Employability, or Customer Service will be introduced to an Employment Specialist at MassHire. The Employment Specialist will help connect you to available job openings.
You can sign up for our workshops by clicking the link https://www.goodwill-berkshires.org/programs/programs-calendar.html and completing the registration form.
In Southern Vermont, some of the larger companies such as Walmart, Price Chopper, Aldi and Hannaford regularly have job openings and searches on the following links:
- Applying for unemployment benefits in Massachusetts
- Applying for unemployment benefits in Vermont
- DTA Cash Assistance in Massachusetts
- Reach Up Cash Assistance in Vermont
- SNAP (food assistance) benefits in Massachusetts
- 3SquaresVT (food assistance) in Vermont
- Fuel Assistance in Vermont
- MassHealth Benefits and COVID-19
- Vermont Health Connect Benefits
- Social Security Services & COVID-19
- Massachusetts 211
- Vermont 211
Financial & Utility Support
Please visit this website for a contact list of all emergency child care services.
Suspending all shut-offs of gas and electric utilities, including municipal light and gas plants, for residential customers during the #COVID19 State of Emergency.
Temporarily suspended collections-related activities, including service disconnections, to lessen any financial hardship. This will stay in effect at least until the end of April.
If you were recently laid off apply for fuel assistance through BCAC by calling the number provided. This program can also help with free Tax prep and Loan programs.
Central/South: (413)445-4503 North: (413)663-3014
2 months of internet essentials for new clients in low income families impacted by COVID-19
Food Pantries and Meal Sites in Berkshire County
(Since program hours and days can change without notice, please call the location to be sure of times and requirements) Updated December 7, 2020
Pittsfield Food Pantries
|Berkshire Dream Center||Morningside Baptist Church, 475 Tyler Street||413-522-3495||Tuesdays 2:30pm – 3:30pm||None|
|Berkshire Dream Center Mobile Food Pantry||Central Annex on 2nd Street at 4:00pm, Providence Court at 5:00 pm, Berkshire Peak at 6:00pm||413-522-3495||3rd Wednesday of the month||None|
|Campus Cupboard at Berkshire Community College||Susan B. Anthony Building 1750 West Street||413-236-1601||Open Wednesdays for curbside pick-up by appointment. Go to: www.berkshirecc.edu/student-engagement/campuscupboard to schedule your time||Must be a current BCC student with a BCC student ID|
|Christian Assembly Church||850 Williams Street||413-442-1495||Fridays 10:00am – 1:00pm||Assistance available every week|
|Christian Center||193 Robbins Avenue||413-443-2828||Mondays, Tuesdays, & Thursdays 10:00am-1:00pm||Assistance available once a week|
|First Baptist Church||88 South Street||413-445-4539||Tuesdays 10:30am – 12:30pm||Sign in when utilizing services|
|First United Methodist Church||55 Fenn Street (Renee Avenue entrance)||413-499-0866||Tuesdays 4:00pm – 5:30pm||No requirements|
|St. Joseph’s Church||414 North Street (Held at the Parish Center)||413-445-5789||Wednesdays 9:00am – 10:00am||Sign in when utilizing services|
|St. Mark’s Church||400 West Street||413-447-7510||Last two Fridays of each month 9:00am – 11:00am||No requirements|
|The Salvation Army||298 West Street||413-442-0624||Wednesdays thru Fridays 10:00am – 2:00pm||No requirements|
|Soldier On Food Pantry||360 West Housatonic Street||413-236-5644||Saturdays 8:00am – 11:00am||Open to the public. Need verification of address|
|South Congregational Church||110 South Street||413-442-7357||Wednesdays & Thursdays 7:30am – 11:00am, Outside drive-through. Walk-Ups available||Short application to fill out. Assistance available once a week|
|South Congregational Church Mobile Food Delivery||110 South Street||413-442-7357||Deliveries on Mondays. Please call the church and leave a message if you want a delivery||No requirements|
Pittsfield Meal Sites
|BREAKFAST MEAL SITES||LOCATION||PHONE||DETAILS|
|First United Methodist Church||55 Fenn Street||413-499-0866||Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays 8:00am – 9:00am – On Fridays clients will receive an extra meal for Saturday. Fenn Street Entrance|
|The Salvation Army||298 West Street||413-442-0624||Wednesdays & Thursdays 8:00am – 9:00am Grab & Go|
|South Congregational Church - St. Joseph’s Kitchen||110 South Street||413-442-7357||Wednesdays & Thursdays 8:00am – 9:00am Grab & Go|
|BREAKFAST & LUNCH SITES||LOCATION||PHONE||DETAILS|
|Christian Center||193 Robbins Avenue||413-443-2828||Mondays, Tuesdays, & Thursdays 10:00am – 1:00pm|
|Pittsfield Public Schools||Free meals for all children 18 & under. Breakfast & lunch will be packaged together. Hot ready to eat meals will be available. Parents can pick-up meals for their children. Meal times align with remote learning lunch schedules. Children & families can pick-up from any meal.||Mondays thru Fridays Grab & Go breakfast and lunch served at the following locations and times: 11:00am – 11:30am Berkshire Peak Apartments (West Street) Brattlebrook Apartments (April Lane) Christopher Arms Apartments (John Street) Dower Square Housing Village (Wahconah Street) Wilson Park Housing (Mohawk & Memorial Drive) 11:00am – 11:45am Allendale Elementary School (Connecticut Avenue) Capeless Elementary School (Brooks Avenue) Conte Community School (West Union Street) Egremont Elementary School (Egremont Avenue) Herberg Middle School (Pomeroy Avenue) Morningside Community School (Burbank Street) Pittsfield High School (East Street, Longfellow) Reid Middle School (North Street) Stearns Elementary School (Lebanon Avenue) Williams Elementary School (Bushey Road)|
|LUNCH MEAL SITES||LOCATION||PHONE||DETAILS|
|Cathedral of the Beloved||Held at St. Stephen’s Church (Enter on Allen St.), 67 East Street||413-448-8276||Sundays 1:00pm|
|Jewish Federation at Knesset Israel Synagogue||16 Colt Road||413-442-2200||Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays 11:45 – 12 Noon. Pick-up at kitchen door. Kosher senior meals grab & go Meals by reservation by calling 413-442-2200|
|Pittsfield Senior Center||330 North Street||413-499-9346||Mondays thru Fridays 11:30am – 12:30pm. Senior Meals, Grab & Go. Call 1 day ahead for reservations. Recommended $2 donation for seniors 60 and over.|
|Pittsfield Senior Center||330 North Street||413-499-9346||Mondays thru Fridays 11:30am – 12:30pm. Congregate meals. Call 1 day ahead for reservations. Recommended $2 donation for seniors 60 and over.|
|Price Memorial AME Zion Church||163 Linden Street||413-464-7827||Saturdays 11:00am – 1:00pm Bagged lunches to go. Call Connie at 413-358-8393 for information on deliveries.|
|St. Stephen’s Church||(Enter on Allen Street), 67 East Street||413-448-8276||4th Saturday of the month 12 Noon|
|First Baptist Church||“Feed My Sheep” 88 South Street||413-445-4539||Mondays 5:30pm – 6:30pm Grab & Go|
|First United Methodist Church||Fenn Street Entrance, 55 Fenn Street||413-499-0866||Tuesdays-Harvest Table Meal 4:00pm – 5:30pm|
|St. Stephen’s Church||(Enter on Allen Street), 67 East Street||413-448-8276||Thursdays & Fridays 4:45pm - 5:30pm|
|The Salvation Army||298 West Street||413-442-0624||Sundays 4:30pm – 5:00pm Grab & Go|
|South Congregational Church||St. Joseph’s Kitchen, 110 South Street||413-442-7357||Wednesdays 4:30pm – 5:30pm Grab & Go|
Becket, Dalton & Hinsdale Food Pantries
|Becket Federated Church Parish House||3381 Main Street, Becket||413-841-1701||1st & 3rd Saturdays of each month 9:00am – 11:00am||For Becket, Washington, and the surrounding Hilltowns. Emergencies: 413-770-1897|
|Dalton United Methodist Church||755 Main Street, Dalton||413-684-0521||Tuesdays 4:00pm – 6:00pm||Open to Berkshire County residents|
|First Congregational Church of Hinsdale||Located at Hinsdale Trading Company Parking Lot, 371 Old Dalton Road, Hinsdale||413-655-2670||Thursdays 10:00am – 11:00am||None|
|The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Mobile Food Bank||Held at the Dalton CRA, 400 Main Street, Dalton||413-247-9738, ext. 121||4th Wednesday of each month 11:00am – 12Noon Rain or shine||No proof of eligibility required|
|St. Agnes Church||489 Main Street, Dalton||413-684-0125||Thursdays 5:30pm – 6:00pm||For Dalton and Hilltown residents only|
Dalton Meal Site
|LUNCH MEAL SITE||LOCATION||PHONE||DETAILS|
|Dalton Senior Center||40 Field Street Ext., (Run by the Dalton Council on Aging)||413-684-2000||Mondays and Thursdays 12Noon – 1:00pm. Congregate meals available for grab & go. Must enroll with Elder Services first. Need 24 hour notice. Call 684-2000.|
Lanesboro Food Pantry
|American Legion/VFW||Berkshire Village, 144 Old State Road||413-442-1025||Fridays 9:00am – 11:00am||Open to the public|
North County Food Pantries
|Al Nelson Friendship Center||45 Eagle Street, North Adams||413-664-0123||Wednesdays 10:00am – 4:00pm, Clients physically unable to get to food pantry, call on Wednesday to set-up a delivery which will take place on Thursdays, 10:00am – 12 Noon||Assistance to residents of Clarksburg, Florida, and North Adams every other week|
|Berkshire Dream Center Mobile Food Pantry||North Adams Locations: 1st Wednesday of the month Mohawk Forest at 5:00pm Brayton Hill at 5:45pm Greylock at 6:45pm||413-522-3495||North Adams Locations: 1st Wednesday of the month Mohawk Forest at 5:00pm Brayton Hill at 5:45pm Greylock at 6:45pm||None|
|Cheshire Food Pantry||Held at the Cheshire Community Center, 119 School Street, Cheshire||413-743-9719||1st Saturday of each month 11:00am – 12:00noon||Available to all Cheshire residents with proof of residency. Emergency food is also available|
|Community Bible Church||160 Bridges Road, Williamstown||413-458-5556||3rd Wednesday of each month 12 Noon – 2:00pm||Must be a Mass. resident|
|The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Mobile Food Bank||Held at the Adams Council on Aging/Adams Visitors’ Center, 3 Hoosac Street, Adams||413-247-9738, ext. 121||2nd & 4th Tuesdays of each month 10:00am – 11:00am||No proof of eligibility required. Must be Berkshire County resident. One distribution per household|
|The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Mobile Food Bank||North Adams American Legion, 124 American Legion Drive, North Adams||413-247-9738, ext. 121||1st and 3rd Fridays of each month 10:00am – 11:00am||No proof of eligibility required|
|St. John Paul II Charity Center||Rte. 8 across from Walgreens, Adams||413-743-0577||Wednesdays 11:00am – 1:00pm||Assistance to residents of Adams, Cheshire, and Savoy every week|
|The Salvation Army Gateway New Life Center||393 River Street, North Adams||413-663-7987||Tuesdays 12 Noon – 3:00pm For Emergency Pantry please call 413-663-7987||For North County residents only|
|Williamstown Food Pantry at St. Patrick & St. Raphael Parish||53 Southworth Street, Williamstown||413-458-4946,x11 or 413-458-3149||Wednesdays 9:00am – 12 Noon Drive or walk-thru||Assistance to residents of Hancock, New Ashford, Williamstown, and Pownal, VT|
North County Meal Sites
|BREAKFAST, LUNCH & DINER SITES||LOCATION||PHONE||DETAILS|
|Adams COA||3 Hoosac Street, Adams||413-743-8333||Mondays thru Fridays. Congregate meals available for grab & go. Must call Adams COA 24 hours prior|
|Berkshire Food Project||Held at First Congregational Church of N. Adams, 134 Main Street, North Adams||413-664-7378||Mondays , Wednesdays, and Fridays 11:30am – 1:00pm|
|Cheshire COA||Held at Cheshire Community Center, 119 School Street, Cheshire||413-743-9719||Mondays thru Fridays 10:15am – 12 Noon. Congregate meals available for grab & go. Must call Cheshire COA|
|First Baptist Church Community Soup Kitchen||Eagle Street Entrance, 131 Main Street, North Adams||413-652-7619||Saturdays 11:00am – 12:30pm|
|McCann Technical School||70 Hodges Cross Road, North Adams||413-663-5383||Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 3:00pm – 3:45pm. On the pick-up days there will be one hot meal, one cold meal, and two breakfasts. Pick-ups every week unless there is a holiday. Grab & Go meals at no cost for any student ages 18 and under from around the area.|
|North Adams COA||Mary Spitzer Center, 116 Ashland Street, North Adams||413-662-3125||Ashland Street North Adams 413-662-3125 Mondays thru Fridays 11:30am – 12 Noon. Congregate meals available for 60+ for pick-up only – Must call one day in advance to reserve meal. Please call 413-664-9826|
|North Adams Public Schools Breakfast & Lunch Distribution||Lunch, and breakfast for the next day, are distributed at these locations. On Fridays, lunch for the weekend is also distributed. Parents and guardians can pick-up meals on behalf of their children.||Mondays Greylock Valley Apts. 11:45am – 12:15pm, Mohawk Forest Apts. 11:00am – 11:30am, Tuesdays Brayton Elementary School 11:00am – 12NN, Colegrove Park Elementary School 11:00am-12NN, Greylock Valley Apts. 11:45am – 12:15pm, Mohawk Forest Apts. 11:00am – 11:30am, Wednesdays. School Bus Stop Meal Delivery Program-see bus route schedule at https://www.napsk12.org/ for details. Thursdays Greylock Valley Apts. 11:45am – 12:15pm, Mohawk Forest Apts. 11:00am – 11:30am, Fridays Brayton Elementary School 11:00am – 12NN, Colegrove Park Elementary School 11:00am-12NN, Greylock Valley Apts. 11:45am -12:15pm, Mohawk Forest Apts. 11:00am – 11:30am|
|North Adams Public Schools Diner||Brayton Elementary School||Mondays thru Fridays 4:30pm – 5:00pm. Free curbside grab & go dinners to all North Adams children under the age of 18|
South County Food Pantries
|The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts Mobile Food Bank||Held at CHP, 444 Stockbridge Road, Gt. Barrington||413-247-9738, ext. 121||1st Tuesday of each month 11am – 12 Noon. Rain or shine||No proof of eligibility required|
|Lee Food Pantry||45 Railroad Street, Lee||413-266-1141||Saturdays 10:00am – 12 Noon||Serves people in Becket, Lee, Lenox Dale, Otis, Stockbridge, Tyringham, & West Stockbridge, www.graceberkshires.org|
|Lenox Ecumenical Food Pantry||Located at the United Methodist Church of Lenox, 6 Holmes Road, Lenox||413-445-5918 or 413-822-8673||Saturdays 10:00am – 11:00am||Serves Lenox and Lenox Dale residents along with our members of Lenox and Lenox Dale churches - Assistance available every other week|
|Otis Food Pantry||1 North Main Road, Otisemail@example.com, On Facebook at: Otis Food Pantry||Wednesdays 10:00am – 12Noon||No residency restrictions|
|Peoples Pantry||5 Taconic Avenue at St. James Place – Across from CVS Gt. Barrington||www.thepeoplespantrygb.org||Mondays 4:00pm – 5:00pm Thursdays 10:00am – 12:30pm||South County residents only. No proof of eligibility required|
|Sheffield Food Assistance||Held at Old Parish Church, 125 Main Street, Sheffield||413-229-2624||Mondays 9:00am – 10:00am||Must be resident of Southern Berkshire Regional School District|
South County Meal Sites
|LUNCH MEAL SITE||LOCATION||PHONE||DETAILS|
|Guthrie Center||2 Van Deusenville Road, Gt. Barrington||413-528-1955||Wednesdays Free Community “TO GO” Lunch 12Noon – 1:00pm|
|Lenox COA, Community Center||65 Walker Street, Lenox||Must reserve a meal two days in advance by calling 413-637-5535||Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 12Noon – 12:30pm Congregate meals available for grab & go. If new to program, you must fill out a form|
|Sheffield Senior Center||25 Cook Road, Sheffield||413-229-7037||Community senior meals grab & go Provided through Elder Services To order a meal, please call 413-229-7037, $2 suggested donation|
|DINNER MEAL SITES||LOCATION||PHONE||DETAILS|
|Breaking Bread Community Supper||Held at the American Legion, Cook Road, Sheffield||413-229-8614||Thursdays 5:00pm – Grab & go dinners. Please RSVP at 413-229-7037. Free to all|
|First Congregational Church of Lee||25 Park Place, Lee||413-243-1033||Grab & Go Community Meal 1st & 3rd Wednesday of each month. Pick-up 4:30pm – 5:30pm. BYO bag encouraged. Donations welcome|
Stephentown, NY Food Pantry
|Stephentown Federated Church||1513 Garfield Road (County Road 26), Stephentown, NY||518-487-8606||Saturdays 9:00am – 11:00am Assistance available twice a month. During pandemic assistance available weekly from your car||Serves residents of Hancock and Stephentown. Need proof of residency. Weather permitting|
Other Food Programs
Brown Bag Program
This program is a supplemental monthly food program offering 10-15 pounds of food to eligible individuals, 55 years or older, free or for a small donation. For income eligibility requirements and further information, call your Council on Aging.
Elder Services’ Elder Nutrition Program
Noontime meals are offered for those 60 years of age and older at several senior centers throughout the County. Some sites offer transportation through the Council on Aging. A suggested donation of $2.00 per meal is requested. Individuals under 60 years of age are welcome for a required fee of $7.00 per meal. Call Elder Services of Berkshire County for information and locations at 413-499-0524 or 1-800-981-5201.
Elder Services’ Meals on Wheels Program
Nutritious, hot noontime meals are offered Monday through Friday to homebound Berkshire seniors, who are 60 years of age or older. A suggested donation of $2.00 is requested to help cover the cost of food preparation and delivery. There are eligibility requirements. Please call Elder Services of Berkshire County at 413-499-0524 to make a referral for yourself, family member or friend.
Take and Eat Program
A program for individuals 60 years of age and older who are homebound, unable to prepare meals, shop, or get out. Meals are delivered on Sundays and are provided for weekends and three-day holiday weekends. Contact Kathleen Ryan at 413-672-1404 or 413-664-1041 for information.
Top Tips for Preventing Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying or electronic bullying is a growing problem that destroys young lives by exacerbating or causing mental health and substance use disorders. To prevent those harms, take precautions before cyberbullying starts.
Cyberbullying is a problem, but how big or significant a problem remains to be determined.
Its apparent growth may be due to the increased prevalence of electronic devices, the obsession with going online and staying connected, and the awareness that these factors could cause problems, including exacerbating mental health issues such as substance abuse.
According to some surprising cyberbullying statistics, the rate of the problem may be declining. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show the rate of cyberbullying among high school students was 14.5% in 2017, down from 19% in 2016.
But the Cyberbullying Research Center says in 2019, lifetime reports of cyberbullying were 36.5%, an all-time high.
What Is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying or electronic bullying is bullying that does not happen in person but via electronic devices—laptop or desktop computers, smartphones, tablets—and as much as 92% via online forums and message boards—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram—public or private.
Not every mean thing posted on social media is cyberbullying, just like not every mean or insensitive comment at school or a social gathering qualifies as bullying. The generally agreed-upon legal definition of bullying requires three elements:
- The harm caused by the bully, behavior or words, must be intentional.
- The target must have less real power, physical or psychological, than the bully.
- The harm recurs over time.
Individuals involved in bullying or cyberbullying involvement include bullies, the bullied, and bystanders. Sometimes bullies are themselves bullied, creating another category: bully-victims.
Berkshire County Resources
- Report Bullying in Berkshire County email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Stop Bullying
Crisis and Suicide Prevention
- National Suicide Prevention: 1-800-273-8255
- Brien Center Crisis Team: 1-800-252-0227 or 413-499-0412
- Live Out Loud/18 Degrees for LGBTQ Berkshire County
- The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386
- SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)
- NIDA for Teens (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
- Vermont Association for Mental Health
- Vermont Family Network
- Youth in Transition
- U-Matter: Vermont Youth Suicide Prevention
Be a Leader in Your Community: How to Make an Impact Where It Counts
by Daniel Sherwin*
No matter how much time you spend online with your fellow supporters, you can always do more in your community. One of the most valuable tools the internet has given the ordinary citizen is social media. It allows people to organize and educate their friends on issues that are important. But if you really want change, what good is it if it doesn't manifest in real life?
Perhaps the easiest way to get involved is by protecting the LGBTQ community. When North Carolina passed a bill requiring transgender individuals to use bathrooms corresponding with their biological birth sex, there was an immediate backlash from organizations that fought for the rights of all people regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. An excellent place to start in Vermont is working with the Pride Center of Vermont, which focuses on youth, education, and wellness.
It's vital to make the public aware of the benefits of vaccination to end the COVID-19 pandemic. The most important thing you can do is start a dialogue with family and friends about the safety and efficacy of vaccines. From there, consider organizing a push for vaccines with local medical groups. Share the information on local Facebook pages and groups, and see if your community's news station or newspaper can help you promote the event.
Get out and help register people to vote. No matter what political party they follow, there's nothing more important to fulfilling your civic duty and honoring your forefathers than voting. Whether you do this at your local library or post office or visit colleges and high schools to get the word out, it's important to help people find their voice in government.
Vermont is the home of many small farms, and the state's economy relies on them being successful. However, with climate change warming up New England more quickly than other parts of the country, the winters are becoming milder, posing a significant threat to Vermont's agriculture. Help protect Vermonters' jobs by spreading the word about how everyone can help protect the environment.
If you're passionate about saving the planet, consider a career in environmental causes. Anyone can earn aBachelor of Science in Education online to open the door to making a long-term impact on their community by teaching young children about their environment. You can learn at your own pace no matter your daytime job and impact your community after completing the degree program.
When your community is under attack, it brings people together as nothing else can. For example, after the Orlando shooting, people came together to help those affected by the tragedy create a more inclusive community. Just imagine what your town could do if there were an active hate group in the area. If you want to make a change, work to promote love and acceptance.
Boost Community Awareness in Vermont
Several options are available to get involved and encourage others to support local causes. Whether it's protecting a minority group or promoting neighborhood safety, you can make a difference. To learn more ways to help your community, contact Goodwill Industries of the Berkshires and Southern Vermont, Inc.
*Daniel Sherwin, a single dad of two, created Dadsolo.com with a goal to help equip other dads with resources regarding single parenthood. He is currently living with his two kids: a 9 y/o daughter and 6 y/o son.