Dear SHARE member,

Included is a statement from the Great Barrington Savings Bank of the Berkshires balance in your SHARE account.

Since the last members’ letter, SHARE has collateralized two new loans. Two sisters and their mother, the Thomas’, started a business from their home in West Stockbridge. Known as “A Change of Art,” their original designs cover cards, letterheads and clothing. The designs are both playful and elegant. An example of a sweatshirt by “A Change of Art” is on display at SHARE’s new offices at 196 Main Street, Great Barrington. You can contact Marian, Sarah or Joanne at home to see what creations they have on hand or may special order cards and sweatshirt clothing to your specifications. The loan through SHARE helped them to buy a quantity of sweatshirts in various colors and sizes.

Community Supported Agriculture is in its second year of operation. Shareholders of CSA commit to pay a percentage of the annual budget for the running of a market garden. Twice a week throughout the summer, shareholders receive a portion of the garden’s harvest. Members are encouraged to participate in the farm work when able. The garden is cared for with biodynamic methods of soil preparation. Those receiving produce from Community Supported Agriculture have praised the consistent high quality of the vegetables. CSA still has openings for shares of this summer’s crop. Call Robyn Van En if you are interested. The $2,700 loan to CSA was for the purpose of buying equipment that is to be capitalized over several years of farm operation. The loan was a Direct Loan from members of CSA who are also members of SHARE.

In cooperation with the Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires, SHARE has helped to initiate a second mortgage pool called the Fund for Affordable Housing. The first investments in the Fund will be lent as second mortgages to some of the year-round residents purchasing one of the 18 units under construction by the Land Trust on its Christian Hill site. Judging by the initial enthusiasm about the Fund, we expect its reserve to build quickly so as to address the broad needs in Berkshire County for affordable housing. If you wish to participate directly in the Fund, you can do so by filling out the form on the back of the enclosed descriptive material and returning it to the office.

Several loans have been repaid since the last members’ letter. Your passbook may have been held against these funds and returned by the bank to SHARE once the loan is repaid. If so you will need to sign a new agreement to use your passbook as collateral for loans. You may find enclosed this agreement for your signature. Please sign it and return it to the office in the accompanying stamped envelope.

Thank you for your help in making the SHARE program possible.

Best wishes,

The Board of SHARE