Berkshire Country Day School to send aid to Puerto Rico as part of national Make a Difference Day

Related Media

Mayra Rodriguez and BCD students

STOCKBRIDGE/LENOX, MA (10/24/2017) (readMedia)-- Berkshire Country Day School (BCD) has "adopted" 100 families in Puerto Rico to receive 100 boxes of supplies from a school-wide drive to be held Saturday, October 28. As part of the Make a Difference Day, the largest single day of service nationwide held annually on the fourth Saturday in October, the Student Council, Parents Association, and the wider BCD community passionately agreed that aiding families devastated by Hurricane Maria would be the focus of this day of service.

Students are collecting essential supplies this week, and on Saturday at 9:30 a.m., BCD invites all community members (students, families, faculty, alumni, and neighbors) to meet in the Fitzpatrick Hall gymnasium to help pack the 100 boxes to be sent out. A light breakfast will be served. To join the drive on Saturday, RSVP to Mayra Rodriguez at

BCD parent Ms. Rodriguez, whose son Alex is in eighth grade, is from Puerto Rico and retains close ties to the Island. Through Ms. Rodriguez, BCD is in contact with a network of people living in cities and small villages alike who are in dire need of common supplies. These local connections will distribute supplies to others in need as well. They are the "Boots on the Ground" so to speak.

This day of service is in coordination with BCD's ongoing Service Learning curriculum, which is learning through active and meaningful community service. Associate Head of School Leigh Doherty, who has watched the enthusiasm and support for this drive come together quickly and organically, said, "This Saturday parents and faculty and students of all ages will come together to work on a mission. Everyone will be connected in meaningful action that will grow empathy, awareness, and citizenship, one of BCD's core values."

In addition to collecting supplies, students will write notes to the recipients and include photos and drawings. "It is love in a box," continued Ms. Doherty. Recipients will send photos and notes to the students in response. Ms. Doherty is already envisioning ways to make this a fuller service learning experience and is considering follow-up drives and further communications.

For Ms. Rodriguez, who has watching from afar as so many of her loved ones suffer, the outpouring of support from the BCD community has been profound. Several families told her they want to travel to the island on their personal vacations to help people rebuild. "The love and support from the kids and adults asking 'how can we help?' speaks volumes about this place and this school," said Ms. Rodriguez.

The collection list includes: boxed juice, rice, canned beans (NOT baked beans), canned fruit, canned vegetables, crackers, cookies, rice cakes, peanut butter, jelly, fruit and protein bars, boxed shelf-safe milk (Parmalat or similar), canned meats (tuna, sardines, salmon, chicken, ham), flashlights, mosquito repellent, and wipes and hand sanitizers.

A former educator, Ms. Rodriguez sees the larger goal for the drive as a chance for students to learn the impact a single person can have. "You don't have to be a part of a huge movement to make a difference; hundreds of people will feel the ripple effect of each of us pitching in," she said.

About Berkshire Country Day School: Intentional. Independent. Inspired.

Now in its 72nd year, Berkshire Country Day School is a Preschool through Grade 9 independent school voted Best Private School in the Berkshires in 2017 by readers of The Berkshire Eagle. BCD opened new facilities in 2017: the Kevin Hirt Library and Learning Commons and the Kim and James Taylor Music / Performance Room, dramatically impacting the historic 27-acre Stockbridge campus. In 2017-18, BCD welcomed 42 new students and launched a 2 year-old program which follows the Reggio Emilio approach practiced in the Preschool classrooms. Berkshire Country Day School exists to inspire the individual promise of every student so that each may become an exemplary citizen of the world. More information about BCD can be found at