Great Barrington — As every shopper in South County already knows, Marshalls opened a new store in Great Barrington on Thursday. We all know, too, that Marshalls knows how to save you money. But, we discovered today, they also know how to give money away…wisely.
As part of its grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony, Marshalls presented a check for $10,000 to Berkshire South Community Center to help support the Community Supper Program. Through this program, the Center offers supper to about 125 people every week. And another part of the program is the once-a-year Community Thanks Supper. This takes place the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, and serves some 250 people.
Jenise Lucey, Executive Director of Berkshire South, had this to say about the gift, “Berkshire South Regional Community Center is overwhelmed by the generosity of Marshalls in support of the Community Supper and Community Thanks Supper programs. Through their generosity, we will be able to serve almost 5,000 meals over the year while working to build community strength. We couldn’t be more appreciative of their support!”
How did Berkshire South get selected for the Marshalls gift? It seems that Marshalls rented some space from the Center for training and staff development while the store was being transformed from a Kmart to its new identity, and the new store manager Laurie Cella got to know the Center’s programs. According to Lucey, Cella was particularly intrigued by the fact that people could come to the Center not just to eat, but to have someone to eat with. The combination of eating and socializing was particularly impressive.
Lucey says the success of the program is due to the generosity of the chefs who come in to create great dinners on a budget of $2 per person. The group includes Tommy Lee (who always takes charge of the Thanksgiving dinner), the chefs from Gould Farm, the food people at the Berkshire Co-op Market who provide one dinner per month, Janet Elsbach, Dan Smith from John Andrews Restaurant, Aroma, Micale Gallon, Annie Dinan, Michelle from Windflower Inn who can always be counted on to provide amazing desserts, and the Big Y which donates meals when no chef is available. And also a cadre of volunteers who help the chefs prepare and serve.
I know, I know, you also want to know about Marshall’s. So, here’s the scoop. The store looks beautiful. It is brimming with merchandise, all displayed beautifully. There is something for everyone…women, men, kids. Clothing, of course, and also shoes, handbags, toiletries, scarves, home goods and, for the opening at least, a DJ playing great music to shop by. On opening day, the store was filled with shoppers, all of whom seemed also to be buying. As always at Marshall’s, bargains come and go. You never know what you’ll find, and the next time you go that item you hesitated about will probably be gone. That’s not the only downside for me. The real problem for me is that Marshall’s is now much too close to my home, and I am afraid that I will not be able to stay away!