Bits & Bytes: Rainbow Seniors discussion, potluck; Volovik on Chabad community; United Way employee resource coordinator

Berkshire United Way’s Workplace Resource Coordinator will be located at participating local employers to connect employees with necessary resources.

Rainbow Seniors of Berkshire County sponsor potluck

Williamstown — Rainbow Seniors of Berkshire County will celebrate the holidays with a potluck-and-program on Tuesday, December 15 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the First Congregational Church.

Members of the LGBTQ community will meet for community conversations on “Making the Holidays Merry & Gay” or “Surviving the Holidays” (for those who feel down at this time of year). The noon potluck is open to the entire community and attendees are asked to contribute a lunch dish or a beverage.

The meeting is handicap accessible and there is convenient parking next to the church. For more information contact Ed Sedarbaum at ed@rainbowseniors.com or by (413) 441-6006.

–E.E.

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Sara Volovik on community, caring, and kosher cooking

Sara Volovik
Sara Volovik.

Pittsfield — On Monday, December 14 at 10:45 a.m., educator, organizer, kosher cook and caterer, and Chabad of the Berkshires co-director Sara Volovik will discuss creating community. The free program at Congregation Knesset Israel is part of the Jewish Federation the Berkshires’ Connecting With Community series.

In the program Volovik will highlight some of the outreach services that she organizes and presents in the Berkshires. She will also talk about the Chabad Lubavitch movement, and how its sheluchim (emissaries) adapt to the more than 4,000 far-flung locations around the globe to which they have been sent.

For more information call the Jewish Federation of the Berkshires at (413) 442-4360 x10.

–E.E.

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Berkshire United Way secures grants to fund new position

Pittsfield — Berkshire United Way has received a grant courtesy of Bank of America and United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley in the amount of $20,000 to assist in the creation of a new position designed to be a resource for employees to solve non-work related issues that ultimately cause personal and family stress. Greylock Federal Credit Union has also provided $5,000 to support this pioneering effort in Berkshire County.

Berkshire United Way’s Workplace Resource Coordinator will be located at participating local employers to connect employees with necessary resources. Examples of issues that the Workplace Resource Coordinator can assist with include outstanding medical bills, transportation, child care, debt collection, tax preparation, and financial literacy education.

Berkshire United Way held two Employer Community Conversations last year to gauge interest in program participation. As a result, six local employers have agreed to pilot the Workplace Resource Coordinator program in 2016, including Greylock Federal Credit Union, Boyd Technologies, and the Brien Center for Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

Employee appointments with the Workplace Resource Coordinator will be 15-30 minutes in length and scheduled during break times or during a supervisor-approved time period. The meetings will be confidential unless an employee signs an authorization for the Coordinator to advocate or speak on their behalf, and  the Coordinator will provide quarterly aggregate utilization reports to management. Financial literacy training as well as free tax preparation through the federal Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program will also be provided on site.

Those interested in applying for the Workplace Resource Coordinator position may do so online.

–E.E.