Here are some ideas if you’d like to help a Vermonter.
Actually, helping Vermonters is harder than helping other people, but I thought I’d gather some of the ideas here anyway.
There is now a Vermont Disaster Relief Fund created by the United Way of Vermont. This will probably be the most effective line of help for families and individuals who need food, clothes, etc. They are always the best at helping people near the holidays and I have a great respect for their organizations here.
The Red Cross also has ways of helping.
You can text FOODNOW to 52000 to donate $10 to Vermont Foodbank.
There are little grassroots ideas springing up- because that’s what we do best up here- like this t-shirt with proceeds going to the Red Cross or this one with proceeds going to the Food Bank. (I think any purchase of a Vermont-made product is generally a helpful thing to do.) There’s a little story about the subject of Vermonters getting involved in their own relief efforts here and it includes a few details on some of these points.
- The VT Irene Flood Relief Fund is raising money to help people and communities affected by flooding. 100% of all donations will be distributed to businesses and families. The fund is being administered by Todd K. Bailey.
- Vermont Baseball Tours has set up the 8/28 Fund to raise money. Donations of $20 or more get you a cool t-shirt.
- The MRV Community Fund has been reestablished to help Mad River Valley farmers who saw devastating crop losses due to the flooding.
- Burr and Burton Academy has started a fund to help relief efforts in the Manchester area.
- The Preservation Trust of Vermont is taking donations to help rebuilding and cleanup efforts for the historic buildings and bridges damaged by Irene. Make a donation on their site and be sure to note “Hurricane Relief” in the Comments section.
- The Intervale Center has started a fund to help the farmers at Burlington’s Intervale who lost their crops to flooding. To make a contribution, donate to the Intervale and designate your donation to the “Intervale Center Farmers Recovery Fund.” Or mail a check payable to Intervale Center Farmers Recovery Fund to the Intervale Center, 180 Intervale Road, Burlington, VT 05401.
And, if you’re on the ground here, #VTResponse is a great resource for finding ways to help out.
Towns everywhere are pulling together to make life better again. Woodstock’s efforts included a local Stone Soup gathering- “bring your spoiling veggies”- and these have been well documented on the Woodstock Early Bird’s blog. I love this write-up of Thursday’s town meeting for its simplicity, honesty and thoroughness.
In Bristol, the water rose over the spring box for their water supply. The word began to spread across town that water needed to be boiled before drinking and, according to a resident, one man took it upon himself to go running down each street during the storm, shouting the announcement. It makes a great mental image, like a wet Paul Revere.
In northern Vermont, the following offer is being made: “Farmers Helping Farmers : The Mennonite Church up in northern VT may be able to field young (experienced) farm hands over the weekend, and have connections to help from out of state. We need help getting the help to the farmers that need it: fencing, mucking out, animal handling, relocation, we have a butcher available if necessary.. let’s get these hands where they need to go!” Awesome.
There are local benefit concerts, Salvation Army stuff-a-truck events, community suppers, and general goodness happening everywhere. My favorite pictures of both the severity of the devastation and also the pluck of Vermonters are by Liam James McKinley, particularly the one of two men playing cards on a table in the middle of (closed) Rout 100 in Rochester. It’s on his facebook page here (caution: visual obscenities in the porch group picture).
Facebook is playing an important role in connecting those who are seeking information with those who have it. Vermont Flooding 2011 is the main page, but there are many. Vermont Emergency Management’s page was invaluable during the storm, and I hear Governor Shumlin’s Twitter page is one to follow, if you do that sort of thing.
Many of us here in Middlebury have felt twinges of survivor guilt; we didn’t get more than a wet basement, if that. A little power outage here and there and my phone was out for 2 days. I checked in with all my neighbors and church friends and everyone’s doing well. What can I do to help those in need? I’m signed up to donate blood because that’s just a good thing to do, I’m trying my hardest to find out what the folks over the mountain need most (they’re not very forthcoming but I think it’s manual labor), I called the church folks south of us and the report was that they’re all fine… hmmm. So I made big chocolate chip cookies for the linemen at the power company who have been working 17 hour days since Sunday morning. I’m not saving anyone’s life but I’d sure like to, so I’ll keep my ear to the ground and do what I can.
What can you do to help someone?