Coronavirus and person wearing maskBy Trina Bianchi, Charlotte COVID-19 Assistance Team

The Charlotte COVID-19 Assistance Team met this past Monday and continued our discussion around community resilience, this time focusing specifically on the survey from Community Resilience Organization (CRO) we discussed at our last meeting. With Mindy Blank from the CRO, we reviewed the current survey and made suggestions on how to change it so it might be more user friendly and relevant to Charlotte. We also discussed how to best present the survey to the community.

Other towns in Vermont have taken the survey and have been able to implement changes based on the results; the hope is to be able to do the same here in Charlotte. Unfortunately, the survey is designed to be given at an in-person forum that gives people the opportunity to ask questions before assessing each individual question. Given COVID-19, this approach is not possible, so there was discussion on how to make it easily available to all residents and easily understandable to complete without the benefit of being with others and asking questions. If you have thoughts on how best to accomplish this, please let us know.

Community Resilience Organization started in Vermont after Hurricane Irene devastated so many towns and areas in our state. What became apparent was the fact that some communities were able to rise to the challenges they faced, while others struggled. The difference was the level of resilience in one community versus another; some communities were better prepared to deal with a crisis and met the challenges they faced. CRO’s mission is to help build strong, resourceful communities that can survive and thrive in the face of a changing climate and other challenges that lie ahead. Other towns in Vermont that have taken on this challenge and are doing the work can be found at this website.

The Charlotte team has decided to move forward with the survey. At our next meeting, Aug. 10 at 11:00 a.m. on Zoom, we will discuss the assessment and how to roll it out in our community, the goal being to hear from as many community members as possible. If you would like to be involved or learn more about this team, please contact Rev. Kevin Goldenbogen. If you have suggestions on how to introduce the assessment, please let us know.

As for resources available now:

Food and meals
The school lunch program is available to school-age kids through the summer. To access, go to the CVSD website, click on District Resources, click on Menus, then click on the Summer Meals Info link. Call Scott Wagner at (802) 871-6198 for further information. These lunches will be available at Charlotte Central Sschool on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Pick-up is between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m.

Grab and Go lunches from the Food Shelf are available at Spears Store and Charlotte Library, daily, Monday through Friday. To register, call (802) 425-3252.

The Food Shelf itself continues to be open Wednesdays from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Charlotte Congregational Church. Kids lunches will also be available at this time and will include a week’s supply of lunches. Tenney’s Snack Bar has added a voucher for a creemee to the summer lunch bags. Call (802) 425-3252 to register.

The school district is currently looking for volunteers to help with food distribution for the summer meals. Interested in helping out? Send an email.

Emotional and mental health
Vermont 211 from your phone is available for referrals and questions.
Pathways Vermont, (883) 888-2557, is free and is available 24/7 to call or text a peer who has dealt with mental health issues in the past.
NFI Vermont, accessed through their website, serves Vermont families whose children are struggling with emotional, behavioral or mental health challenges.
First Call, (802) 488-7777, is for crisis situations. Available 24/7.

Financial assistance
Emergency financial assistance is available through the Charlotte Food Shelf, Charlotte Congregational Church and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church. Requests can be made by calling (802) 425-3252 or (802) 425-3130.

From the Vermont Department of Health
Stay abreast of the ongoing coronavirus-related news in Vermont, check on what businesses are opening, learn new regulations for traveling into our state, and find out where to get a COVID-19 test and more at the Vermont Department of Health website.