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Susannah Sharpe
Jugglers lead the pack at a recent Construct walk in Great Barrington.

‘Walk into the Future’ Sept. 22 with Construct

By Monday, Sep 16, 2019 Life In the Berkshires

Great Barrington — It is that time of year for Construct’s annual walk to raise money and awareness to help homeless individuals, displaced homeowners and those with emergency housing needs. Construct, a familiar neighbor, is located in Great Barrington and serves principally South County residents. Construct has been part of the community for 50 years with a mission to serve effortlessly community members in crisis with housing issues as well as to advocate for more affordable housing. Construct has also been involved in building homes such as Forest Springs in Great Barrington for low-income individuals. Other types of help Construct provides is one-time emergency assistance with housing related bills; shelter in its transitional living facility; filling out housing applications; and fuel assistance and food stamps inquiries.

Participants walk to help Construct end homelessness in Berkshire County. Photo: Susannah Sharpe

Construct currently has a wait list of 500 individuals seeking affordable housing. According to Jane Ralph, executive director, “The problem is as big as it ever has been.” Therefore, Construct holds many yearly fund raising events, and community members’ support to date has been outstanding. The financial donations promote Construct’s mission to bring housing safety and security to all individuals and/or families. As Jane Ralph says, “We all need a safe place to live.” However, current funding is not enough. Construct continues to need your help and invites you to walk to raise money and awareness of our neighbors’ housing crises.

Traditionally, the walk has been the most visible fund raising event. This is the 22nd annual walk. The current theme is “Walk into the Future” so that neighbors can remain hopeful knowing preventive measures can be taken to avoid a housing crisis. Previous walks have been well-attended with huge financial support, and according to Lisa Henriques, operations manager, “The response for this year’s walk has been high.”

It is not too late to sign up; individuals, groups and organizations are encouraged to bring friends, family members and co-workers. This is also a family-oriented event. All ages from youth to seniors are encouraged to attend. Dogs are even welcomed; provided they are leased and licensed. According to Howard Lefenfeld, donor relations manager, “It’s an opportunity for everybody in our community to walk together to help each other live a happy and stable life.” If unable to attend or manage the walking route, you might consider making an individual donation.

See below on how to register.

Berkshire Bateria warm up the crowd at a recent Construct walk in Great Barrington. Photo: Susannah Sharpe

Please note that unlike previous years, there will be two routes with starting points in Great Barrington at Ski Butternut and the courthouse on Gilmore Avenue. Those up for a more rigorous walk may want to start at Ski Butternut while those seeking more of a laidback stroll can start at the courthouse. After the walk, everyone is asked to meet at the gazebo behind the Town Hall where there will be lively activities as well as free refreshments with tables and chairs in rented tents donated by Fairview Hospital. Children can play, if they like, at Giggle Park adjacent to the gazebo. This is a rain or shine event but long-range weather forecasts are predicting great conditions for walking.

By the way, you might see bricks/signs/buttons that read “Brick by Brick.” This is Construct’s way of bringing attention to some of the work it does, plus its belief that it is a step-by-step process for increasing affordable housing in our community. If you see a person with a “Brick by Brick” button, please consider asking how you might be able to help. All financial support goes a long way! For instance, Construct recently assisted in restoring a house in receivership located in Becket. Sometimes it just takes building one home at a time with one brick at a time; which can result in helping our neighbors tremendously.

Participants at a recent Construct walk in Great Barrington. Photo: Susannah Sharpe

Please plan on joining Construct’s family and friends Sunday, Sept. 22, at 12:30 (registration) and 1 p.m. (start time). All Construct’s fundraising events are well-attended by the community, knowing that Construct’s presence is greatly needed and valued as its services help with decreasing job vacancies, improving health care and boosting the economy.

Construct looks forward to seeing you, thanking you in advanced for your help on behalf of those recipients receiving the funds raised. Please keep in mind, when making a donation, Jane Ralph’s wholehearted belief “that everyone have great places to live and be part of everyone’s lifestyle.”

To register, you can go online to www.constructinc.org, call (413) 528-1985 or stop by Construct’s office at 41 Mahaiwe St. in Great Barrington.

Date/Time: Sunday, Sept. 22, 12:30 p.m. (registration), 1 p.m. (start time)

Where: Ski Butternut; courthouse on Gilmore Avenue (both locations in Great Barrington)

Walk routes: Ski Butternut; Southern Berkshire District Court House on Gilmore Avenue


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