BUW and GFCU collect school supplies for Pittsfield and South County schools

Back-to-school supplies can cost a family, or teacher, hundreds of dollars, so Berkshire United Way (BUW) set out to alleviate some of this burden through a school supply drive, sponsored by Greylock Federal Credit Union (GFCU).

Brenda Petell, BUW director of volunteer engagement, reached out to Marisa Mendonsa, deputy superintendent of Pittsfield Public Schools, to get a list of supplies. BUW then created an Amazon wish list, set up collection sites at their office and at Downtown Pittsfield, Inc., and partnered with Lenco Armored Vehicles for a “Stuff the BearCat” event during Cultural Pittsfield’s 3rd Thursday in August.

GFCU employees helped pack and distribute the supplies to all the Pittsfield Public Schools.

“On behalf of the Williams School community, we just wanted to thank you all for the supply drive you did – not only for Williams, but for all Pittsfield Public Schools,” said Principal Kerry Light. “It is so needed for students, staff and families, and was very kind and thoughtful of you. What a great partnership! Your generosity is greatly appreciated.”

BUW and GFCU also worked with the Kiwanis Club of Sheffield and Berkshire South Regional Community Center to collect school supplies for Muddy Brook, Undermountain and New Marlborough elementary schools.

“This is such a great endeavor for our community. I love that we’re getting the supplies directly to the schools, so they reach the children that really need them,” said Rebecca Beron, GFCU Allendale branch manager.

pam knisley and brenda petell drop off school supplies

BUW's Pam Knisley and Brenda Petell drop off supplies at Crosby Elementary School.

Click image to see our School Supply Drive gallery

Jewish Women's Foundation of the Berkshires supports BUW and Berkshire Bounty partnership to provide end-of-summer meals

Berkshire United Way and Berkshire Bounty also recognized that this year, there was going to be a gap in meal service between the last free summer meal and the first day of school for Pittsfield families. With support from the Jewish Women’s Foundation of the Berkshires, they distributed bags of food at Conte and Morningside Community Schools and Berkshire Peak and Brattlebrook Apartments.

GFCU pitched in and packed bags for the Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires as well.
Food was purchased through Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, Pittsfield Rye Bakery and Samascott Orchards, and Blue Q donated the bags.

"The start of the school year is a busy time for students, teachers, and families,” said BUW president and CEO Tom Bernard. “By activating our network of community partners and supporters we helped to address challenges related to food security and access to materials, which hopefully gave everyone a strong, secure start to the year.”