Strengthening Families in Massachusetts
Nearly 150 miles west of Boston is Berkshire County, Massachusetts, a picturesque mountain community and frequent tourist destination. But without an urban center nearby, jobs can be hard to come by, as can resources for struggling families.
That’s where Child Care of the Berkshires (CCB) comes in. Providing much more than just child care, this nonprofit organization was founded in 1969 to strengthen Berkshire County families through high-quality child care, education, support services, and advocacy. Every holiday season, CCB hosts a toy drive for the especially needy families they work with. They look to corporate sponsors to help supply toys for the drive, and in 2010, Structure Tone answered the call.
“Organizations in Western Mass don’t always get as much attention as those in the eastern part of the state,” says Mike Ryan, Structure Tone senior vice president. “Once we learned about the Child Care of the Berkshires program, we knew we had to help.”
CCB staff selects families for the program based on exceptional circumstances and collects their children’s lists of needs and wishes. The Structure Tone team then spends the weeks leading up to Christmas gathering the items on the list—plus plenty more.
This past year, the team outdid themselves, collecting over 900 gifts for over 40 families. Since 2010, they have gathered more than 5,200 books, toys, and clothing items.
“I love the commitment our employees have to this drive. It’s a beloved tradition for many of them, and they get just as invested as they do giving to their own families,” says Ann Vanderperre, Structure Tone Boston executive administrative assistant and organizer of STO’s participation. “It’s really special to be able to see the impact it has on these children and families.”
CCB shares thank-you notes from recipient families each year, which express how much these donations mean to them.
“Thank you very much for making my son’s first Christmas one that I will never forget,” says one mother. “Much love from a very thankful first-time mommy trying to make ends meet all on her own for her baby boy.”