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Neighbors

Neighbors: Who are we, and what are we to each other?

Hello neighbor.

I lay in bed the other night thinking about the word “neighbor” and its definition.

A neighbor is defined as “a person who lives near another.”

I have several close (in proximity) neighbors in Shutesbury, but I only know them by name. We exchange pleasantries when we bump into each other.

It is also defined as “one’s fellow human being.”

Does that mean everyone I pass on the street is my neighbor, whether I’m in Shutesbury, somewhere else in Franklin County, out of state, or across the world?

And, “a person who shows kindliness or helpfulness toward his or her fellow human beings.”

We see kindness and helpfulness come from strangers every day — just think about the actions of some of our neighbors here in Franklin County after Hurricane Sandy or the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

There are people who will always rise to the occasion and, in most cases, don’t need to be asked.

“When strangers start acting like neighbors ... communities are reinvigorated,” says Ralph Nader, American political activist, probably best known for consumer protection, environmentalism and humanitarianism.

So, let’s all try something, shall we?

The next time you are walking down the street or through a store, make eye contact, smile, and say “hello” to someone you don’t know.

If you see the time has expired on someone’s parking meter, deposit a dime or a quarter, so that person doesn’t have to come out to find a parking ticket on his or her windshield.

Pay it forward. Be kind and friendly. Tell someone you like their shoes or something they’ve done. Start small and see where it goes.

Let’s reinvigorate our Franklin County community.

Here’s what some of our neighbors are doing:

SCOTT COTE AND TIM FARRELL will be celebrity bartenders at Taylor’s Tavern on Thursday night beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The Franklin County register of deeds and the local political leader and insurance agent will donate all of their tips to the Ice Stars for Wounded Warriors Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring and supporting wounded American servicemen and servicewomen returning from combat.

The two will also hold a raffle, which will include, but not be limited to, the following prizes: UMass Men’s basketball tickets, gift certificates to local restaurants, car wash gift certificates, golf at the Country Club of Greenfield, and Boston Red Sox tickets.

If anyone would like to donate a prize for the raffle, contact Farrell at 413-773-3686 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

FOREST MOON WILL HOST A TORSO-MAKING WORKSHOP, “One in Eight: The Torso Project,” on Feb. 2 and 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day at The Art Garden in Shelburne Falls.

The workshop invites women affected by breast cancer, as well as survivors who may bring a female friend or family members with them, to make plaster torso models and decorate them.

Forest Moon is partnering with Cancer Connection and The Art Garden to present the free, two-day workshop, which is being sponsored by Rays of Hope.

Women who make torsos will be invited to display their completed projects at a One in Eight exhibit at Salmon Falls Artisans Gallery in Shelburne Falls from March 1 through April 29.

Preregistration is required by calling or emailing Pam Roberts, program director for Forest Moon, at 413-625-2402 or pam@forestmoon.org.

I attended a One in Eight workshop a few years ago with my best friend Judy, who I’ve told you is a cancer survivor. It was one of the best times I’ve had with her. What a wonderful way to honor the people in our lives — and it was like being a kid in art class again.

FOR THE PAST FIVE YEARS, small ensembles of singers have brought songs of hope and healing to people confined to beds throughout the county.

Eventide Singers, an all-volunteer group, whose primary purpose is to sing in small ensembles for anyone whose illness may confine them to their home or care facility, as well as the terminally ill and their caregivers, will hold its annual benefit concert on Feb. 10 at 3 p.m. at the First Congregational Church in Greenfield. Kenyan-born Jacquiline Jumba will join the group for that performance. During the performance, Eventide will sing several South African songs.

Eventide has an eclectic repertoire of songs representing many cultural and spiritual traditions.

The group will split the proceeds from the benefit concert with the church, which has served as Eventide’s Hospice Choir’s rehearsal home since 2007.

Admission is open to all with a suggested donation of $10 to $15.

For more information, call John Bos at 413-625-2082.

I WANT TO REMIND YOU that St. Joseph Parish in Shelburne Falls is sponsoring a benefit supper for Holland Herzig, who suffered a brain injury last year, to help him pay some of his medical expenses.

Herzig has served as a reserve police officer in Charlemont, a firefighter in Colrain, and a teacher at Franklin County Technical School.

Now, it’s our turn to help him.

The buffet-style supper will be held Feb. 1 at 6:30 p.m. at the Shelburne-Buckland Community Center at 53 Main St. in Shelburne Falls.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 5 to 12. Children under the age of 5 are free.

The deadline to purchase tickets is Monday, so call for them before the end of the weekend.

All proceeds will go to Herzig.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call Jim at 413-625-6405.

GREENFIELD RESIDENT KIM A. KIRKWOOD has opened an account at Greenfield Co-operative Bank, 63 Federal St. in Greenfield to help a Holyoke family that recently lost 15-year-old Halee Hilton and a couple of pets in a house fire.

The Holyoke High School freshman was killed in a fire with her two dogs at her family’s home. Her mother was injured in the fire.

Kirkwood, 54, said she felt compelled to open the bank account to raise money for Halee’s family.

Kirkwood, who is disabled, had recently hired Halee’s mother, Lisa Hilton, as her home health aide and said the two had a good connection.

“Anything would be of help,” Kirkwood told me. “They lost everything. They could also use gift cards.”

Kirkwood would like people to donate to “The Hilton Family Fund,” care of Greenfield Co-operative Bank, 63 Federal St., Greenfield, MA 01301.

She said she’d like to thank those who have donated so far — Kirkwood opened the bank account with $10 and said there is more than $400 in it so far.

WITH THE WORST WINTER MONTHS STILL AHEAD, help is on the way for working families struggling to keep their heat on.

The Massachusetts Good Neighbor Energy Fund, supported by WMECO and its customers, is now open to all qualified candidates.

WMECO says it understands how winter’s bitter cold makes a bad situation worse for some less fortunate families, so with the help of its customers it has contributed to help families through temporary crisis.

The fund has raised more than $18.3 million and assisted more than 80,450 needy families since its inception in 1985.

WMECO customers who want to support the fund may send a check in the Good Neighbor Energy Fund envelope found as an insert in their monthly bill. Customers may also donate through WMECO’s “Add A Dollar” program.

For more information, visit: www.wmeco.com.

To donate online, visit: www.magoodneighbor.org.

To contact Anita Fritz, a staff reporter at The Recorder, send an email to: anita.alice.fritz@gmail.com or call 413-772-0261, ext. 280 or call her cell at 413-388-6950. You can also reach Anita on Facebook at Anita’s Neighbors. Information to be included in Neighbors may also be sent to: neighbors@recorder.com up to noon on the day before you want it to run.

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