As a result of an aggressive fundraising campaign to keep the Center fully operational, the Berkshire Immigrant Center (BIC) is nearing its goal of raising $45,000 for this fiscal year. The Center has received generous donations from private donors, local foundations, and the business community including Berkshire Bank and Berkshire Bank Foundation – Legacy Region, the Pittsfield Rotary Club, Lee Bank, the New World Fund, Greylock Federal Credit Union, and Hoosac Bank. Additional financial support has been generated through fundraisers at local immigrant-owned restaurants.
BIC Director Hilary Greene said cuts in federal Community Service Block Grant funds, which previously made up between $40,000 and $50,000 of the Center’s $150,000 annual budget, originally threatened the Center’s ability to maintain basic services. “We are so grateful to the community members who recognize the unique and important services the Center provides our local immigrants. This recognition of the many contributions our immigrants make to our community and outpouring of support has been outstanding. While we are more than three quarters of the way to our goal, we are hoping that our continuing “dining night out” series will help us reach our target.”
The dining events have helped support BIC while simultaneously highlighting immigrant-owned businesses. “Our last two events at Spice Root in Williamstown and Flavours in Pittsfield have been filled to capacity. People have supported the Berkshire Immigrant Center and sampled delicious international cuisine. Diners have had fun while contributing to this important agency,” said Marge Cohan, event coordinator and BIC advisory board member.
BIC will be holding the third dining out event on Thursday, February 9th at Xicohtencatl Mexican Restaurant at 50 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, giving South County residents the opportunity to close the funding gap. The prix fixe menu ($25 not including tax and tip) will offer diners a choice of two courses from among the chef’s specialties. There will be two seatings at 5:30 and 7:30, and reservations are recommended by calling (413) 528 2002. The event will also include a silent auction. Xicohtencatl is pledging 50% of the evening’s dinner sales to help the Center during its funding crisis.
The Berkshire Immigrant Center, a program of Berkshire Community Action Council, offers citizenship and immigration information and application support, legal assistance, advocacy, and referrals to the growing immigrant population of the Berkshires and beyond. In addition to the contributors cited above, the program is funded by the Berkshire United Way, the City of Pittsfield, the Mass Bar Foundation, and the state Citizenship for New Americans Program. For more information about the upcoming event at Xicohtencatl or the Berkshire Immigrant Center, please call (413) 445-4881 or email email@example.com. Tax deductible donations can be mailed to BIC, 88 South Street, Pittsfield, MA or made on-line at www.berkshireic.com