Local banks are helping business and nonprofits apply for forgivable loans from the federal stimulus package. As the President of Flying Cloud Institute’s board of directors, I am grateful for Greylock Federal Credit Union’s quick response in helping us to apply for the Paycheck Protection Plan funding, which will allow us to maintain current staff levels and pay rent for the next eight weeks while we figure out longer term solutions.
The Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires, an organization known for stepping up to address current needs, has a comprehensive COVID-19 resource list for Berkshire nonprofits. 1Berkshire also has a useful resource list ranging from resources for businesses and nonprofits to where to get takeout and delivery.
And speaking of Flying Cloud, this wonderful organization that provides science and art programming in Berkshire County’s public schools is offering online challenges, videos, and meetups. Lessons such as Do It Yourself Disinfectant Wipes and Design Your Own Catapult are a great enhancement to homeschooling your child during school closures. Many other non-profits, such as IS 183 art school and Berkshire Museum, also have engaging online options.
Berkshire County’s restaurants are stepping up in a big way to provide take out meals and delivery. I’ve been placing weekly orders with The Dream Away Lodge and Haven Cafe and Bakery. The menus are different every week and always include both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. They also both offer some grocery and beverage items. Being cooped up in the house makes food a highlight of the day, and these meals are something I anticipate with great eagerness.
There are also numerous ways for families to get free meals. In Pittsfield, for example, the Pittsfield Public Schools offer breakfast and lunch service on weekdays while Berkshire United Way and local restaurants offer free meals on Saturdays.
Non-profits are also adjusting their fundraising strategies to adapt to life with social distancing. Virtual fundraisers will become a big thing, such as Community Access to the Arts’ Virtual Gala and week of digital performances in May.
And of course we are all grateful to Berkshire Health Systems and local first responders and police departments for putting their lives on the line and stepping up to address this crisis.
It’s hard to believe that just a month ago, children were going to school, people were going to work, and friends and families were socializing. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic shows how quickly a community can come together. Life is certainly different here in Berkshire County, MA, and we will be challenged as cases peak in the coming weeks, but there is a sense that we are all in this together.