Berkshire Bank tends to community needs

WESTFIELD – The perception of the banking industry may not be one of care and compassion today, especially in a nation divided by wealth more than ever before.
Recently, however, patrons of the Westfield Food Pantry were treated to large displays of care and compassion from ten local employees from the Berkshire Bank, who helped to sort out food at the Food Pantry’s Meadow Street location and who also worked to improve the Pantry’s community garden behind Westfield State University’s Horace Mann Center, as part of Berkshire Bank’s company-wide “Day of Service”
Now in its fifth year, this annual event serves as a company initiative to give back to the numerous cities, towns and communities which serve as homes to branches of “America’s most exciting bank”, based in Pittsfield.
This year, eighteen branches in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont worked on various projects in their communities, which were selected by regional employment volunteer committees and to benefit local non-profits.
Last year’s event saw more than 50 percent of the bank’s employees donate over 37,000 hours of service to benefit community organizations across the four states which comprise the bank’s service area. According to Peter Lafayette, executive director of the Berkshire Bank Foundation, last year was just the tip of the proverbial community service iceberg.
“We have a record number of projects and employees participating this year,” Lafayette said in a statement. “We are excited to make such a substantial effort to give back to the communities that give us so much.”
The ten employees of the Westfield branch who helped with the projects at the pantry and the community garden were Teddi Averin, Gary Cole, Nicholas Dicaprio, Carla Gesek, Theresa Hebert, Catharine Killela, Claudia Laflamme, Heidi Leonard, TJ Taylor and Melissa Taylor.
“It is one of our most important tenets,” said Ray Smith, Berkshire Bank’s assistant vice president of marketing. “We like to give back, and this event is our opportunity every year to do that.”

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