Our Story

Berkshire Bounty is a food rescue, non-profit organization dedicated to fighting food insecurity in Berkshire County, with our primary focus being in South County and Pittsfield. We provide food to those in need by collecting donated food and buying purchased food, and delivering that food to organizations such as food pantries and senior centers, for further distribution to those in need. Our guiding principle is the belief that everyone in Berkshire County should have access to sufficient nutritious food.

Berkshire Bounty was formed by Jay Weintraub and Mark Lefenfeld in 2016, with a simple idea – to enlist volunteers to pick fruit from peoples’ backyard trees, for delivery to those suffering from food insecurity. We quickly expanded the strategy to include food donated by and purchased from local supermarkets. Our growth was accelerated when we merged with a similar local organization that had been delivering food to those in need for over 25 years. We’re grateful to the late Mel Greenberg, who started that organization and whose funds were used to purchase our van. This combination also brought a number of dedicated volunteers to Berkshire Bounty.

Berkshire Bounty has grown tremendously over the last five years, collecting and delivering an increasing amount of food every year: 8,000 pounds in 2017, 33,000 pounds in 2018, 130,000 pounds in 2019, and 272,000 pounds in 2020. We’re on pace to deliver well over 400,000 pounds in 2021.

Our growth has been the result of many factors, including success in expanding our sources of donated food, and the generosity of individual contributors and grantors (including Berkshire Agricultural Ventures, Berkshire Bank, Green Pastures, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Jewish Women’s Foundation and Lee Bank), which has allowed Berkshire Bounty to purchase an increasing volume of food (at well below retail prices). We’re also so extremely grateful to our 130 volunteers, and especially the 30-40 volunteers who carry out the weekly collections and deliveries. We’re very lucky to have them. They are the core strength of our organization.

Berkshire Bounty has also achieved a higher public profile, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, giving us enhanced growth opportunities. For example, we have seen an increasing volume of inbound calls from new food sources asking us to pick up food for delivery to food pantries. We also leverage our operation by partnering with other local non-profit organizations, such as Berkshire Grown, Berkshire South Regional Community Center, Berkshire United Way, Fairview Hospital’s Rural Health Network, Greenagers, Hevreh of Southern Berkshire, Southern Berkshires Coalition of Non-Profits and Northern Berkshires Coalition of Non-Profits. These ties have resulted in a number of cooperative ventures that have led to, among other things, rare countywide food deliveries. We will continue these programs, as long as we possess the financial resources to do so.

We recently established a formal Board of Directors, which is an important step in ensuring that Berkshire Bounty will be sustainable well into the future. We believe that the Board will significantly enhance our ability to serve our strategic goals by adding substantially to our skill set. Biographies of the Board members can be found in the "Board of Directors" tab.

Berkshire Bounty is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. All donations to Berkshire Bounty are tax deductible.