Berkshire Bank conducts annual food drive

Date: 9/17/2012

PITTSFIELD – 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 through Sept. 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 to $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 percent 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.