Construct’s Warm Up the Winter Call to Action for Emergency Assistance scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 6, at 7:00 p.m, will be online and free to attend for the entire community. As published in a media release, this year’s event can be viewed by going here  and will honor professional singer, actress, and song stylist Wanda Houston for her generous contributions to the annual winter benefit since its inception by Rabbi Deborah Zecher and the community at Hevreh over ten years ago. As always, Warm Up the Winter proceeds go directly to community members in need of emergency assistance for fuel, utility, and rental payments, including covering emergency accommodation costs and, this year, keeping those who are homeless safe.

Known as an entertaining, uplifting, and unifying showcase of diversified local talent, Warm Up the Winter will move from its traditional home at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center to online due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The forty-minute long online event will be emceed by Construct Executive Director, Jane Ralph and board member, Barney Stein, and will feature music by The Wanda Houston Band along with vignettes from Construct clients and community members including appearances by actors and Construct supporters, Chris Noth and Lauren Ambrose.

Construct's Executive Director, Jane Ralph made the following statement:

The coronavirus pandemic made Construct’s annual winter gathering unsafe to continue, yet the urgency to raise funds to meet the increasing need remained. Warm Up the Winter has always provided a winter safety net for those who need it most,” Construct usually receives $5,000-$10,000 in emergency assistance funds from the state to keep households who are homeless sheltered during the coldest winter nights. This year, due to the added pandemic expenses, Construct did not receive those funds. Therefore, this event is more important than ever, and we will need to stretch the funds farther than ever. For that reason, we recognize this event as a Call to Action more so than a traditional fundraiser.

Warm Up the Winter is supported by Construct’s dedicated volunteer board of directors and is generously underwritten by The Schnesel Family Fund. Community partners include Jewish Women’s Foundation of the Berkshires, Volunteers in Medicine–Berkshires, Southern Berkshire Rural Health Network, and the Nonprofit Center of the Berkshires.

There is no charge to join this year’s event that premieres online on Saturday, Feb. 6, at 7:00 p.m. However, Warm Up the Winter continues to be among Construct’s most critical and impactful fundraisers, and donations are encouraged. Donations can be made online, by calling Construct’s Development Office at (413) 429-4433, or by texting ‘WARMUP2021’ to 855-202-2100 for a link to donate. Donations also can be sent directly to Construct “Warm Up the Winter” at 316A State Road, Great Barrington, MA, 01230. Information is available at Construct's Facebook page and on Construct’s website.

(information sent to WSBS from Construct for online and on-air use; featured image taken from Wanda Houston's Facebook page

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