First Press Release

The following press release went out to local media today:

HIGHER GROUND NON-PROFIT FORMED TO PURSUE DISASTER RELIEF, HOUSING

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA—On October 21, Higher Ground became a non-profit group dedicated to providing immediate relief for those affected by Tropical Storm Irene, preparing for future disasters, and creating more affordable housing in the area. Higher Ground is providing services and raising money to meet long-term physical, emotional, and spiritual needs associated with the disaster, which is perhaps the greatest in Williamstown’s history.

Higher Ground currently provides fourteen trained caseworkers who are working closely with those affected by the storm. Other volunteers are facilitating communications between the town and affected residents, fundraising to cover families’ immediate needs, and networking with regional, national, and international resources that can provide guidance and financial support.

Higher Ground’s efforts will replace those of the Community Fund and serve to supplement the businesses, organizations, and individuals who have been essential in the relief process so far. The outpouring of financial and volunteer support exhibited since Higher Ground’s inception by the Northern Berkshire Interfaith Clergy in the days following the storm has been “phenomenal” says Rev. Carrie Bail, the organization’s chair. “Many disaster professionals have remarked on how quickly we have built an effective helping organization,” she adds.

Higher Ground is accepting donations by check, which can be made to Higher Ground and mailed to 906 Main Street, Williamstown, MA 01267. Those interested in volunteering should e-mail nbhigherground@gmail.com to contact Higher Ground Coordinator Robin Lenz. To stay updated on the situation and Higher Ground’s work, visit http://nbhigherground.org or sign up for the newsletter at http://tinyurl.com/nbhigherground.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

The All Saints Episcopal Church is making and delivering a home cooked turkey dinner with all of the fixings for anyone who is homebound and fifty-five or older. Call the church at 664-9656 to place an order. Those interested in helping with the program should contact Diane Bleau at the same number.

Nov. 21, 4:00pm: The Berkshire Food Project will be hosting its annual Thanksgiving Dinner at the First Congregational Church in North Adams.

Nov. 23, 11:00am: Williams College will be hosting a Thanksgiving meal in Driscoll Dining Hall.

Nov. 29, 5-7pm: The Williamstown Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting will be a fundraiser for Higher Ground. The dinner will be at the Orchards (227 Adams Road, Williamstown) and open to the entire public at a cost of $30 per person. Call 413-458-9077 or e-mail info@williamstownchamber.com to sign up.

Media Contact: Lauren Shuffleton, 603-490-5219, Lauren.Shuffleton@gmail.com

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