By Cory Willey
GREAT BARRINGTON — Every summer, children from New York City take the long bus ride to the Berkshires to spend a week or two with a family who opens their home, eager to share our fresh mountain air and wide open spaces with those more used to a city skyline.
This year was no different as, on Aug. 9, more than 20 kids stepped off the bus at the South Berkshire Community Center and were greeted by the 18 families with whom they would be spending the next week.
The week-long stay is made possible by the Fresh Air Fund, a nonprofit established in 1887 which is dedicated to providing children from low-income communities the opportunity to experience free summer experiences outside the city. The fund connects children with families from along the East Coast; from Canada, to Maine and down to Virginia.
“It is just one of those programs where people can build relationships,” said Lelia Bruun, a Fresh Air Fund representative for Berkshire County.
Outreach is done on both ends of the program — in the city as well as the “countryside” — and families interested in hosting children must first allow for a home visit from a FAF representative, have references checked and submit to a background check.
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