RICHMOND, Mass. – The cold and the wind Thursday morning didn’t stop a team of volunteers from helping to get the Boys and Girls Club of the Berkshires’ Camp Russell ready for the summer.
“We’re picking up the sticks and debris,” said Chip Kleiner, one volunteer from Unistress Corp. in Pittsfield. “We’re doing the mulch bed out front, and there’s a couple more up here that we’re doing. We were going to rake too, but it’s a windy day, so not much raking’s going to happen.”
The cleanup is part of Berkshire United Way’s Here For Good Volunteer Month. It began last year to help local nonprofits affected by the pandemic.
“They’re not seeing the number of volunteers that it takes to really run their operations,” said Brenda Petell, director of volunteer engagement at Berkshire United Way. “So to build up awareness and bring that extra help to the non-profits, it’s so critical right now.”
All the work the volunteers did at the camp Thursday morning would otherwise have to be done by the Boys and Girls Club staff.
“They said they’re very understaffed, so us coming out here to help them out is definitely giving them an advantage to tackle this project,” said Kleiner. “It gives them a little less they have to worry about.”
“It’s a little chilly this morning, but I’m glad to be here,” said Brandon Stuczynski, another volunteer. “Just paying it forward, volunteering, helping the kids out, helping the community out.”
This is one of more than a dozen volunteer opportunities organized throughout the month. Petell said so far, the campaign is a success.
“Our goals for this year were to engage 250 volunteers in approximately 1,000 hours of volunteerism,” said Petell. “And we are on track to meet those goals.”
Berkshire United Way has volunteer events running through May 18, and anyone interested in volunteering can sign up at volunteerberkshireuw.org.