Community Resources

This page has been most recently updated on June 2. Please contact individual organizations for the most current information.

 

Census2020

Make sure Great Barrington and Housatonic are counted! Respond to the census here.

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resources

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (also called COVID-19) is a respiratory disease that causes a lung infection. As we are seeing cases in Berkshire County, it is important that we all take steps to protect ourselves and our community. You can find links to current and reliable information on this page. We will continue to update this page and add more resources.

Symptoms of coronavirus are fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. If you experience any of these, stay home and call your primary care physician (PCP) before coming in (BMC also has a hotline at 855-BMC-LINK). Even if you are not experiencing symptoms, wash your hands with soap and water often.

Masks and Face Coverings: CDC recommendations regarding the use of cloth face coverings

 

Local Updates & Information

Town of Great Barrington Updates: check for regular updates from the Town Manager and the Select Board

Sign up for Massachusetts COVID-19 text alerts: To get up-to-date alerts sent directly to your phone, text COVIDMA to 888-777

Mass 2-1-1: Massachusetts residents can call 2-1-1 for 24/7 COVID-19 information, resources, and referrals in multiple languages. Online, multilingual chat is available on the Mass211 website

Berkshire Hills School District updates

Berkshire Eagle COVID-19 updates

 

Reading Lists for Our Times

If you are looking for reading material to help you understand the current unrest shaking the country, if you want historical context, if you want to educate yourself about how to be an ally, please check out these lists from Powell’s Books and Buzzfeed. Many of the books recommended are available electronically, and with curbside pick up starting on June 5 GB Libraries staff will do our best to help you get copies of these books.

 

Health Insurance

MassHealth: COVID-19 updates for MassHealth members and applicants

MA Health Connector: An extended enrollment period is available through April 25, 2020 for qualified Massachusetts residents who are uninsured

 

Health Information & Support

Mental Health and Wellness Kit: Created by the Town of Great Barrington Health Department, this resource will be updated as more information becomes available.

Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 for a mental health crisis hotline.

Mental Health and Coping During a Crisis: Tips and Links from the CDC for maintaining mental and emotional health

60 Digital Resources for Mental Health: searchable by population and diagnosis

Nursing Home Family Resources Line: Families with loved ones in nursing homes in Massachusetts can call (617) 660-5399 to get information and resources, coordinated across state agencies. Open 9am-5pm, 7 days a week.

Berkshire Medical Center Hotline: 855-BMC-LINK (855-262-5465), 7:00am-7:00pm, seven days a week

Berkshire Medical Center Information Kiosk

Massachusetts Department of Public Health: Provides daily updates on the coronavirus in Massachusetts

New England Region of Narcotics Anonymous: Virtual Meetings

Alcoholics Anonymous: Virtual meetings

Recovery Dharma Online: Daily video and phone meetings

Massachusetts Trial Court: COVID-19 Substance Use and Mental Health Resources

Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH) Visual Tool: A communication tool to help hospital staff, medical personnel, first responders, and service providers communicate with hard of hearing and Deaf individuals and patients.

 

Employment & Financial Resources

Massachusetts COVID-19 Unemployment Information: Stay informed on the latest related to Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) and COVID-19.

Unemployment Benefits: If you’ve lost your job or had your hours greatly reduced, you may qualify for unemployment benefits

Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance Virtual Town Halls: Sign up to learn about applying for unemployment assistance

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Resources for consumers to protect themselves financially during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Neighbor to Neighbor grants from the Berkshire Taconic Foundation

Assets for Artists: COVID-19 emergency funds and resources for artists compiled by MassMoCA.

 

Food & Child Care Resources

Free School Breakfasts & Lunches: In response to community need, BHRSD will be preparing and sharing to go meals (lunches and next day breakfasts) starting Tuesday March 17 from 11:30-12:30.  This will be pick up/drive thru.  Stay in your cars.

FindHelp.org: Find food assistance, help paying bills, and other free or reduced cost programs that help people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

People’s Pantry: Thursdays, 10am-1pm, 352 Main Street (St. James’ Place)

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) Benefits: Information about P-EBT, a federal program that provides food supports to help families with children who were receiving free and reduced-price school meals pay for food.

Other Food Pantries in Berkshire County (please call ahead as hours and services may change)

Roots Rising Virtual Farmers Market

Berkshire Grown: Find a list of local stores and farms where you can buy food.

Takeout & Delivery in the Berkshires: Compiled by 1Berkshire

Emergency Child Care Directory: From the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.

18 Degrees: Family services for Western Massachusetts. Call (413) 448-8281 or email info@18degreesma.org.

 

Legal Resources

Legal questions? Massachusetts Trial Court Law Libraries are providing service remotely.

Community Legal Aid: CLA is the free civil legal aid provider for residents of Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester Counties. Call Call 855-CLA-LEGAL.

 

Other Resources

Elizabeth Freeman Center: Provides services to address domestic and sexual violence in Berkshire County. Call (866) 401-2425 for their 24-hour toll-free hotline.

SafeLink: Toll-free and confidential 24/7 crisis hotline for those experiencing sexual assault and domestic violence: (877) 785-2020; TTY: (877) 521-2601.

Berkshire Community Action Council: BCAC can help remotely with fuel and electric bill assistance, emergency loan programs, and tax preparation. They can be reached by phone at (413) 445-4503.

Multicultural BRIDGE: If you need support with food for your family or other essential supplies, email adminsupport@multiculturalbridge.org or (413) 394-4029.

Berkshire Immigrant Center: Call (413) 445-4881.

Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority: Call (413) 443-7138.

MassHire Berkshire Career Center: Check their calendar for virtual workshops on job search strategies, resumes, and more.

Free Smartphone from Assurance Wireless: Qualifying low-income households can receive a free smartphone and service plan through the Massachusetts Lifeline Program.

 

Small Businesses & Organizations

U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Loan Assistance

Massachusetts Resources and Guidance for Business

Massachusetts Nonprofit Network Resources

Mass Cultural Council COVID-19 Resources

Massachusetts Resources for Agriculture

1Berkshire’s Toolbox for COVID-19 Response & Preparedness: Information and resources for businesses and employees.

 

Libraries, Museums & Digital Collections

The Eric Carle Museum Online Exhibition: ART in PLACE: Social Distancing in the Studio

Library Services Available Online: a statewide calendar of virtual library programs and services.

Berkshire Museum: Video explorations of exhibits, daily doodles, podcasts, and more!

Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive

New York City Ballet’s Digital Spring Season From April 21 through May 29, New York City Ballet presents digital streams of two ballets a week, along with a full slate of other online programming, including new podcast episodes and livestreamed movement classes for all ages.

Norman Rockwell Museum

Massachusetts Library Services Online: eBooks and audiobooks, historical photographs, and more.

Digital Commonwealth: Explore historical collections from libraries, museums, and archives across Massachusetts.

New England Aquarium: Daily Virtual Visits.

Virtual Berkshires

Clark Connects Collection-based games and activities as well as virtual programs from the Clark.

Google Arts & Culture: Virtually tour 500+ museums and galleries.

 

Learning  at Home: General Resources

Google Teach from Home: A temporary hub of information and tools to help teachers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

edX: Free online courses from 140 institutions.

Berkshire OLLI course recordings

Massachusetts Center for the Book virtual events calendar

College Admissions Test Prep: Resources from EBSCO Learning Express (free through June 30, 2020)

GED Test Prep: Resources from EBSCO Learning Express (free through June 30, 2020)

 

Learning at Home: Resources for Students

How To Succeed in Online School: Tips from an online university student

Spectrum is offering free service to households with K-12/college students who do not already have service

200 Free Educational Resources for Children: Video lessons, apps, books, and more from openculture.com

Storyline Online: Video storytimes

Explore UNESCO World Heritage Sites on Google Earth

 

Art & Skills From Home

Learn to Code from Home: The Coronavirus Quarantine Developer Skill Handbook from Free Code Camp.

Tinkercad: Build digital models you can 3D print! Lots of tutorials to help you get started and ideas to inspire you.

Make Art at Home with IS183: Video tutorials from Berkshire artists.

Berkshire Paint & Sip: Cookies and Canvas video tutorials.

Berkshire Theatre Group: Learn from Home videos.

National Theatre at Home: New plays streaming every Thursday!

Skillshare: Now offering the first 2 months free.

Wendy Macnaughton’s #DrawTogether: Weekdays 1pm EST/10am PST

Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems

Draw Every Day with Jarrett J. Krosoczka

 

Exercise & Meditation

Berkshire Yoga Dance & Fitness: Online classes.

Berkshire Fitness and Wellness: Classes available on Facebook Live.

Radiance Yoga: Check out a free online practice; you can subscribe online with a 15 day free trial.

Berkshire Natural Resources Council: Top Trails.

Tara Brach: Free guided meditations.

Headspace: Although this is a subscription app, it offers free meditations especially for weathering the COVID-19 pandemic.

Calm: Another subscription app with a broad selection of free content.

Waking Up: Sign up at this link and get your first month free.

Homebound Fun & Cabin Fever Survival: 1Berkshire’s staff picks!

 
How to Help

Call your neighbors to check in on them.

Buy gift cards for your favorite local businesses.

Become a member of favorite theaters and museums.

Massachusetts Disaster Volunteers: Find local organizations looking for volunteers.

Donate blood: Visit RedCrossBlood.org or call 1- 800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). BMC’s Blood Donor Center also accepts public blood donations M-F 8am – 3pm Call Julie Stone at (413) 447-2597 to make an appointment.

Donate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): See Mass.gov’s PPE Donation Program website for more information.

Take care of yourself by exercising, meditating, connecting virtually with friends and family, and finding other ways to relax and ground yourself.

 

General COVID-19 Resources

Coronavirus.gov: The latest resources and updates from the CDC

CDC Coronavirus Disease 2019: Practical information on coronavirus, prevention, symptoms, what to do if you’re sick, and other FAQ

CDC Guide to keeping spaces safe

CDC Travel Notices: Find travel advisories by country

CDC video series about COVID-19

CDC Answers to FAQs

World Health Organization (WHO): Updates, information, and guidance

WHO Myth Busters: Answers to common misconceptions about coronavirus

Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center

Public Health On Call: A podcast from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

New York Times: What Parents Need to Know about Coronavirus

The Math Behind the Spread of Viruses (animation)

Wash Your Lyrics: Generate a personal hand-washing song with your favorite song lyrics to be sure you wash for 20 seconds

Don’t Be a Spreader (PSA from Max and Mel Brooks)

Coronavirus PSAs from Around the World

Image courtesy of Katie Glick.

These are just a few of the conditions that can make you extra-susceptible  to COVID-19.  If you need help finding resources specific to your situation, please contact us at (413) 528-2403 or masonramsdell@gmail.com and the library staff will assist you in finding  what you need.

 

Common Questions

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Wash your hands often, with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds. Use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces (including your phone!) daily.
  • Cancel events and face-to-face meetings.
  • CDC Advice

What can I do to protect others?

  • Stay home
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or elbow, and immediately wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Wear a facemask if you are sick.
  • CDC Advice

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?
If you experience the following symptoms, stay home and call your healthcare provider.

Who is at a higher risk of serious illness?

  • Older adults
  • People with serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease
  • People who are immunosuppressed
  • Further CDC information

What does it mean that Massachusetts has declared a State of Emergency?
Governor Charlie Baker declared a State of Emergency on March 10, 2020. This gives the state government more flexibility to respond to the coronavirus outbreak and protect Massachusetts residents. Current advice and guidance is available here.