MANCHESTER - Manchester Branch Manager, Chuck Sharp, organized a group of eight Branch managers from the Rutland, Manchester, Arlington, and Dorset branches to help build on Dec. 11. They did a great job putting up sheetrock on the first and second floors of a home that Habitat is building on Jennifer Lane in Manchester. The group was supervised by volunteer, Curt Merrow, and worked with soon to be Habitat home owner, Rodney Carmouche.

In the summer of 2013, the Berkshire Bank Foundation awarded Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity a $3,000 grant to support their Jennifer Lane Housing project in Manchester. Habitat used the grant's funds to purchase building supplies for each of two homes Habitat is building on Jennifer Lane.

Habitat brings together people of all backgrounds, races and religions to build, renovate, or preserve homes in partnership with families in need and community members to accelerate and broaden access to affordable housing as a foundation for breaking the cycle of poverty. The Bennington Area affiliate serves all of Bennington County and just purchased land in Pownal for a home it will build in the summer of 2015.

Habitat's Jennifer Lane Housing project began in 2011 with plans to build as many as 22 single-family homes on the property.

Since the groundbreaking in 2011, Habitat has completed two homes and has paid for considerable infrastructure work on Jennifer Lane; including a community septic system, upgrading the town water supply from a 4 to 8" pipe, and paving the town road.

Habitat estimates that it currently costs approximately $130,000 to construct each home ranging in size from 1,050 to 1,250 square feet of living space depending upon the number of people living in the home. Habitat uses the most environmentally responsible materials it can afford while making the homes easy for volunteers to build, simple for first time homeowners to maintain, and affordable for the long-term.

"Berkshire Bank is pleased to once again support the work of Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity as they help make the dream of homeownership a reality for deserving home buyers," said Chuck Sharp. "At Berkshire Bank, we believe that helping people achieve the dream of homeownership by supporting Habitat for Humanity is one way we can help strengthen the community in which we live and work."

In addition to providing financial support, Berkshire Bank administers a large Employee Volunteer Program that carries out community service projects benefiting schools, nonprofit organizations and communities within the bank's service area.

In 2012, Berkshire Bank employees completed 95 volunteer projects to help their local community. Over 50 percent of the bank's employees participated in donating over 37,000 hours of service through both company-sponsored and individual volunteer efforts.

Alison Hill Administrative Consultant Bennington Area Habitat for Humanity www.benningtonareahabitat.com 802-367-1000