The public is invited to attend the newly established Pittsfield Emergency Recovery Committee’s first informational meeting at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12 at the Berkshire Athenaeum. The committee will discuss its work, raise awareness about resources available to those displaced by emergency events such as fires and floods, and recruit volunteers who would like to join the effort.
The volunteer group operates under the umbrella of The Christian Center of Pittsfield and represents a grassroots collaboration among participants from 20 local community organizations, congregations, government agencies and offices of elected officials in the city and Berkshire County.
The committee aims to offer a compassionate, coordinated, and sustainable community support system that assists people in their most vulnerable time of need. Currently emergency assistance in Pittsfield is limited and tapers off for people displaced by these events after about two days. However, the consequences of displacement often persist for months and more.
The group has compiled a handbook for fire and flood survivors titled, “Now That the Fire is Out, What Do I Do?” that is distributed by the Pittsfield Fire Department. The handbook covers several themes, including securing property, restoration, insurance claims, replacing essential documents and addressing mental health concerns around trauma.
Over the next several months, the committee intends to:
- Recruit and train volunteer navigators to accompany, guide and support fire/flood survivors as they grieve, heal and rebuild their lives.
- Coordinate collections of kits of new household items to support the transition to the next phase of housing.
- Build awareness of this project and broaden collaboration within the community.
- Accept financial donations in support of the project.
The full list of participating organizations include:
- Ad Lib
- Berkshire County District Attorney’s Office
- Berkshire County Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD)
- Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority
- The Brien Center
- The Christian Center
- First Baptist Church, Pittsfield
- First United Methodist Church, Pittsfield
- Knesset Israel, Pittsfield
- Office of the Mayor of Pittsfield
- Pittsfield Area Council of Congregations
- Pittsfield Fire Department
- Pittsfield Health Department
- Pittsfield Public Schools
- Salvation Army
- Pittsfield City Councilor Helen Moon
- Massachusetts Department of Mental Health
- Office of State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier
- South Congregational Church, Pittsfield
For more information, please contact Rabbi David Weiner, Knesset Israel, 413-445-4872, firstname.lastname@example.org; Gina Armstrong, Director, Health Department email@example.com; and Ellen Merritt, Executive Director, The Christian Center, 413- 443-2828, firstname.lastname@example.org .