We are excited about launching the testing phase of our virtual learning hub! We were proud to pivot to a new method of organizing and content delivery at the onset of the pandemic and now we are transitioning to our remote instruction platform fondly carrying the name New Pathways forward. This site will hold resources and content, thought leadership, polls, news, etc. There are multiple levels of engagement from a client, member, activist/ally or constituent perspective. However you are engaged with BRIDGE, there is something that will “add value” here and be accessible.
Go to this link to sign up and explore our “mighty BRIDGE network”!
For more information:
If you are a retail/hospitality worker (or any hourly worker) and concerned about pay, please apply for unemployment (https://www.mass.gov/applying-for-unemployment-benefits). The state is waiving the 1 week waiting period.
If you are a small business, please fill out https://www.mass.gov/info-details/small-business-assistance-for-covid-19?fbclid=IwAR1YcjhoLn2DkJUZd7hVz9yP29fv-DW7zDugevuf-Cu-dgk728EezCOlwJc. The state is working closely with U.S. Small Business Association to provide assistance to eligible businesses. To get this process started, they first need to meet the threshold.
Resources for children, families and community
Below is updated information regarding resources available for children, families, and community. Please share as appropriate! Be in touch if I can be of any support as we find our way through these next weeks.
Stacy & Gwendolyn
Community Based Resources:
The Northern Berkshire Community Coalition is open by appointment. Please call (413) 663-7588 to set up an appointment. For a listing of services please visitwww.nbccoaltion.org.
18 Degrees is also open at this time. They can be reached at (413) 448-8281 or 18degreesma.org. There offices are located at 350 West Street, Pittsfield.
Multicultural BRIDGE, Main Street in Lee, is reaching out to connect people with resources. If you need support with food for your family or other essential supplies incl. folks to pickup and deliver school lunches , please contact us by email email@example.com. We are compiling a list of access points and will post them on our page and we also have private donors & volunteers willing to help.
The North Adams Public Library posted information on how residents can access library services while the library is closed to the public: http://www.naplibrary.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2020/03/NAPL-closing-services.pdf
BCAC: We will continue to serve clients via phone interviews and through a drop-off box located in our lobby. We are anticipating that LIHEAP services will continue uninterrupted as long as no “shelter in place” order is issued. We are postponing all in-home services such as Quality Control Inspections and Energy Efficiency measures. Contractors may continue to provide services at their discretion. We will continue serving VITA clients but without face to face interviews. Clients will be instructed to drop off paperwork in our dropbox and will be notified when they can come in to sign their returns. Our lending programs for CARS and Grow will be suspended, but we have extended the terms on our Emergency Loans. Clients will be able to borrow $500 with the extended repayment term of one year. Repayment will be deferred and no payments will be required for the first six months.
Food/Meal pick up sites for students:
Berkshire Hills Regional Hills:
BHRSD will be preparing and sharing to-go meals (lunches and next day breakfasts) starting Tuesday March 17 from 11:30-12:30. Meals will be pick up/drive thru. Stay in you cars.Meals will be available at the following sites:
Meals will be available at the Hoosac Valley Elementary School site. All children 18 and under can pick up a grab and go breakfast and lunch package for free between the hours of 9:00-11:00 am, Monday through Friday, in the Hoosac Valley Elementary School cafeteria. Please go to the back door of the cafeteria near the playground to pick it up.
*Lee Middle & High School: During the 2 weeks of no school, Lee Public Schools students can pick up a free grab-and-go breakfast/lunch on Mondays through Fridays. So we can plan ahead, we ask that you call or email the food service department at 413-243-0336 x3333 or firstname.lastname@example.org and leave a message with the student(s) name(s) the day before you plan on picking up meals. The grab-and-go meals can be picked up between 9:30 and 10:30 at the LES Cafeteria entrance (on the right side of the building).
* From 51 Park Restaurant: Due to recent Berkshire County school closures and lack of access to school lunches, we will be offering free cheese pizza to children 14 and under next week from Monday through Friday between 11 - 2 PM. This will be offered for those dining in house with no additional purchase required. (*one per child, per day).
Lenox Public Schools - See announcement
Mount Greylock Regional School District
Mount Greylock Regional School District will be offering access to grab-and-go lunches Monday through Friday for the next three weeks. Meals will be available for pick-up at the Lanesborough Elementary School and Williamstown Elementary School main entrances between 9:30 and 10:30 each day. In an attempt to assist the district in planning, you are asked to:
Call or email the food service department the day before using the following:
North Adams Public Schools is participating in Grab and Go style meals will be provided to all children without charge. Meals will be provided, at a first come, first serve basis, at the sites and times as follows. Children must be present to receive one breakfast and one lunch per day:
Pittsfield Public Schools will be providing once-a-day grab-and-go breakfast and lunch packages to Pittsfield children. These nutritious grab-and-go food packages will be available between 11:30 am and 12:30 pm at the following sites in the City of Pittsfield:
Community Food Pantry/Meal Sites
The Berkshire Food Project will be open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday this week (3/16-3/20) for meal pick up only. Meals can be picked up at the breezeway doors between 11:30 AM and 1 PM. Two meals will be provided each day, to cover the days we are closed. All volunteer shifts are cancelled this week.
Friendship Food Pantry will be open on 3/18 from 10-2 & 3:30-5:30. (1) Pre-packaged box of food per household can be picked up at the front door, 45 Eagle Street. Watch for updates at www.friendshipfoodpantry.org
Community Bible Church of Williamstown-Open this Wednesday, March 18th, 12:00-2:00. If there are emergency food needs call the church office at 458-5556 or Phyllis Babcock at 413-663-6094.
This is a great time to support Feed It Forward at A-Ok and the Free Taco Board at Tres Ninos!
The FoodBank of Western MA Mobile Food Pantries are STILL RUNNING. Same days, time and locations in North Berkshire at this point: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gZbAq2mpteAO_RDK8kYPE0BFK5-pwgpO/view?usp=sharing
Free Saturday Lunches at First Baptist Church, North Adams will resume as take out only on Saturday, March 28th, 11:00am-12:30pm.
Meals on Wheels is still running.
Salvation Army Food Pantry, Tuesdays, 12:30-3pm. Please meet at front door to receive food.
Harper Center will continue to provide life support transportation options with the van-medical trips and food shopping fall into this category.
Berkshire Health Systems has established a toll-free hotline for questions regarding the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). It is open from 7am to 7pm, seven days a week. Call 855-BMC-LINK or 855-262-5465.
Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority Operations Policy: Although the Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority's (BCRHA) physical office space will be closed to the public, BCRHA staff will continue to work with households in need of assistance through telephone and video conferences, when possible. You may leave a message at the following number (413) 443-7138. This number will be checked periodically throughout each weekday. You can also go to BCRHA's website www.bcrha.com to access our staff directory as well. P
Mass211 has set up a line to support residents throughout the ongoing response to COVID-19.Massachusetts residents can call 2-1-1 at any time for real-time COVID-19 information, resources and referrals in multiple languages. MORE via Massachusetts Department of Public Health: http://bit.ly/COVID211
The Department of Public Utilities issued a moratorium to suspend all shut-offs of gas and electric utilities for residential customers during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. This action was taken to ensure that residential customers will continue to have electric and gas utility service during this state of emergency.
MassHealth has expanded eligibility and coverage in response to COVID19. See https://www.mass.gov/topics/masshealth for more information.
fun ideas for connecting with children and others at home
New! See more ideas from JV here.
Note from Gwendolyn @BRIDGE:
Positive ways to connect with children:
Fun Things for Families To Do at Home:
Pretzel sticks (skinny, small ones)
2 people sit back to back/Each person take 15 to 20 pretzels
Place a paper towel flat in front of you
One person is the communicator and one person is the receiver
The communicator starts first and tells the receiver how to lay down their pretzels.
Example: “I placed my first pretzel stick vertical in the middle of my paper towel.”
The receiver can not ask clarifying questions.
Once the communicator is completed, look and see how well they match.
Now switch roles
This time the receiver can ask questions?
What was it like to follow directions and not be able to ask questions?
Did you find yourself getting frustrated?
Was it easier to ask clarifying questions?
Why was it easier?
Which is better one-way, or two-way communications? Why?
What am I thinking?
Pay attention activity
Have one person thinking of something they have in mind in the room. Can be color or object. The first person takes a guess of what the person is thinking of in the room. The person says whether they are hot or cold. The second person tries to guess and again hot or cold. This keeps going around and around until one person guesses the object in the room correctly. This is a lot of fun and can last for a few minutes. Everyone has to pay attention.
Red Light/Green Light
One person is selected to be the caller of Green Light/Red Light
This person turns their back to the other players
This person calls green light and when they turn around after saying red light
Anyone caught moving when the caller says Red Light-That person has to go back to the beginning. This keeps going until one of the players touches the caller. They now exchange places. The winner is now the caller of Red Light/Green Light.
Place chairs in the middle of the room-1 less than the players playing
Start the music and keep it playing for awhile-Once the music stops players try to grab a seat. The one left standing takes a seat away and they also are out of the game. It starts all over again, play the music for a while, the music stops and everyone should try to grab a seat. This keeps going until the last person is able to grab a seat. This is the winner!
Salt Play Dough:
Visual Diary Project; Spring 2020
Throughout human history, people have used journaling and sketching to document their lives. Scientists keep “field journals” to document their observations and findings in a specific location, over a period of time. Artists keep sketchbooks to develop their ideas and practice drawing what they see. Writers keep journals to contain their thoughts and write down ideas for stories, poems, or movies. Throughout history, sometimes the most accurate way to get a picture of what living in a certain time was like is to read someone’s journal or letters.
We are living through a very unique time in our history. It might feel scary, frustrating, boring, fun, sad, weird-- all at once. Time might feel like it is moving differently now. Many people are being required to slow down, rest, and work together to make sure everyone stays safe and has what they need. Some people are working harder and longer to make sure that people have what they need. We can extend lots of gratitude to people who work in grocery stores, pharmacies, community organizations, and hospitals. We can feel grateful to live in community and to be able to ask for what support we need. This is an important time to document and use journaling as a way to capture our feelings and experiences.
TO BEGIN: Create your journal! Gather printer paper, lined paper, or any blank paper you can get your hands on. If you have thicker paper like cardstock, or construction paper, that can be used as the cover. You can make your journal with a stapler or hole punch.
This is your journal! You can do it however you want. I like to have a couple things I do the same every day as well as adding in a new prompt. You can skip a prompt, repeat a prompt, or write or draw anything you want. The prompts are meant to inspire/give you ideas, there is no wrong way to do them. This is for you! The point is to try to add something every day. Here is what I like to record every day:
How I’m Feeling:
A Drawing of One Object I See:
A NOTE ON MATERIALS: This project can be done with as little as a No. 2 pencil and a small stack of computer paper, or all the art supplies in your house. If you have post-its, colorful paper, graph paper, or 11” x 17” you can create fold-outs, staple together many different papers, or glue anything into your journal. Don’t worry about making it look perfect, the idea is practicing drawing, documenting, and recording. If you don’t like something, instead of scribbling over it, try adding a flap or gluing a page on top of it. All these prompts can be done with just a pencil or pen, or paint, collage, crayon, marker, whatever materials you have nearby.
30 Daily Visual Diary Prompts:
Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower Book Club for Cauleen Smith Exhibit
September 26, 2019
Facilitated By Gwendolyn VanSant
Click below to download the PDF of the Agenda