Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce

BERKSHIRE BANK TO CONDUCT ANNUAL FOOD DRIVE

Employees Ask for Public’s Help to Collect 10,000 Pounds of Food to Support Local Pantries


In support of National Hunger Action Month this September, Berkshire Bank is conducting its 5th annual food drive through its Employee Volunteer Program. The drive will run from September 10 through the 28, and the food collected at all bank locations will be given to local food pantries in those communities served by Berkshire Bank. Last year, approximately 8,700 pounds of non-perishable food items were collected, and this year the goal is 10,000 pounds.  

Food collection boxes are set up at each Berkshire Bank location in Massachusetts, New York, and Vermont. Customers and the public are invited to participate in the food drive by donating non-perishable goods at their local Berkshire Bank office. Recommended items include peanut butter and jelly, canned beans, rice, pasta and canned pasta sauce, hearty soups, tuna fish and cereals. A complete list of accepted items can be found at any bank location.

Each Berkshire Bank office has teamed up with a local food pantry in its community to ensure the food collected stays to help those directly affected by hunger in the local area. In addition to food, bank branches will also accept monetary donations that will be donated to local food pantries. For every $1 donated, a food bank can purchase $10 - $13 worth of food.

According to Peter Lafayette, Executive Director of Berkshire Bank Foundation, “Thousands of people in our local communities depend on food assistance from local food pantries to feed themselves and their families. This year local food pantries have seen a decline in both food and monetary donations while also seeing an increase in demand. This has resulted in some food pantries shutting their doors because of the lack of donations and inability to meet the demand. It’s more important than ever that during these difficult times we rally as a community to support our local food pantries and help those who are hungry.”

The Food Drive is one of many projects that are part of the bank’s Employee Volunteer Program which carries out community service projects in communities served by the bank. Annually, 50% of the bank’s employees participate in community service volunteer projects and programs and they contributed more than 26,000 hours of service in 2011. The Employee Volunteer Program is another way the bank demonstrates its commitment to the communities in which it does business in addition to the $1.5 million dollars it awards annually to nonprofit organizations through its two charitable foundations.

Background

Berkshire Bank Foundation Inc. and Berkshire Bank Foundation – Legacy Region the charitable arms of Berkshire Bank, America’s Most Exciting BankSM, are leaders in philanthropy and community involvement.  The foundations’ mission is to enhance the quality of life in Berkshire Bank’s footprint by providing priority funding to education and community/economic development projects.  They also fund programs dedicated to the arts, education, and human services. Each year the two foundations award nearly $1.5 million to nonprofit organizations in their footprint.  For more information, visit www.berkshirebank.com/foundation, “Like” them on www.facebook.com/BerkshireBank or call Peter J. Lafayette, Executive Director at 413-447-1722.

Berkshire Bank - America's Most Exciting BankSM is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hills Bancorp.  The Company has $4.5 billion in assets and 68 full-service branch offices in Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, and Connecticut providing personal and business banking, insurance, and wealth management services.  Berkshire Bank provides 100% deposit insurance protection for all deposit accounts, regardless of amount, based on a combination of FDIC insurance and the Depositors Insurance Fund (DIF).  Berkshire has a pending agreement to acquire Beacon Federal Bancorp headquartered in Syracuse, NY.  For more information, visit www.berkshirebank.com or call 800-773-5601.

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