Submitted by DLE ’19 Retreat Alum Stephanie Bosley Director of Community Partnerships, Berkshire Community Action Council(BCAC), Pittsfield, MA
Regardless of where you live, there’s a tremendous opportunity to volunteer your talent and help a Berkshire-based community group committed to combatting poverty.
Berkshire Community Action Council (BCAC) is the federally designated poverty agency for the Berkshires. We find creative and sustainable solutions that promote economic stability and alleviate the destabilizing effects of poverty in the Berkshires.
During the challenging times of this pandemic, we have used our federal funding to provide support to the Berkshire County Superintendents Roundtable for a new county-wide online learning platform, Chromebooks and internet access for low-income Berkshire County kids, capacity-building for the Foodbank of Western MA and local food pantries to buy cold storage, and funding to local addiction specialists to provide support during this difficult time. We also have provided fuel assistance, clothing, emergency loans and weatherization assistance.
Every year, BCAC is one of the host sites for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program in the Berkshires. This program of the IRS provides free basic tax return preparation to individuals who generally make $57,000 or less, persons with disabilities and taxpayers with limited English who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns.
And that’s where the opportunity to make a difference comes in. We need VITA volunteers to help prepare tax returns during the period of January through April 2021. This year we expect interest in our VITA Tax Preparation Services to rise significantly due to COVID-19 and the fact that other options are not available.
Volunteers do not need to have any prior experience, and training will be provided. Hours to help are flexible. This is a great opportunity to learn a new transferable skill while benefiting families in the Berkshires to keep more of what they earn and helping to boost our local economy. Please contact me for information or to share your interest at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In this season of thankfulness and reflection, I am grateful for the DLE community. The DLE Retreat allowed me to meet young professionals from across the Berkshires that I continue to have personal and professional relationships with. These are connections that I probably would have never made elsewhere and relationships that I am thankful to have.
Wishing you all a happy and safe holiday season!