COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund for Berkshire County Awards $182,000

SHEFFIELD — The COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund for Berkshire County has awarded a round of grants for nonprofit programs addressing mental health and the emotional well-being of children, youth, and families, as well as regional food coordination to sustain partnerships established at the height of the pandemic.

Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Berkshire United Way, Northern Berkshire United Way, and Williamstown Community Chest were granted a total of $182,000 for 33 projects estimated to reach more than 8,500 residents.

“This past year has been challenging for everyone, especially our nonprofits, but we are encouraged by their resiliency and ability to once again pivot as Berkshire County focuses on recovery,” said said Candace Winkler, president and CEO of Berkshire United Way. “We are thankful for the continued support of the COVID-19 fund and our ability to help nonprofits address ongoing concerns as a result of the pandemic, like mental health, well-being and access to food.”

Four grants will support projects with potential for wide reach and replication. Berkshire Workforce Board will offer professional development for teachers and families focused on social-emotional learning. Iglesia Fuente de Salvación Misionera will provide mentoring support to immigrant youth ages 10 to 22 and those struggling with family separation, substance use, or behavioral disorders, while Berkshire South Regional Community Center will pilot a project to provide behavioral-health consultation for staff, as well as the children and families they serve. A grant to Busy Bee Learning Center will help fund integrative expressive arts lessons, coupled with mental-health support.

The fund also awarded grants to 26 nonprofits for programs offering reading, literacy, and academic support; arts and storytelling workshops; playgroups and summer camps; and employment training, coaching, referrals, and peer support. Participants will include youth and adults with disabilities, immigrant and BIPOC youth, people experiencing homelessness and substance-abuse disorders, and others experiencing economic fallout from the pandemic.