By Trina Bianchi, Charlotte COVID-19 Assistance Team

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
~ Yogi Berra

The unofficial, but very creative and determined Charlotte COVID-19 Assistance Team met again last Monday, this time totally focused on what this team could do to make sure our town is prepared to provide assistance to our residents when necessary in the future. Between the two churches, the school and the food shelf, both meals and financial assistance have been available to folks during this ongoing pandemic. But the question that this crisis has brought to the forefront is: “Is the Town of Charlotte prepared for other emergencies and/or for whatever might be down the road in future years?” Are we, as a town, a resilient community?

Frankly, we don’t know the answer to that question. It became way too apparent after the devastation left by Hurricane Irene in multiple towns in Vermont that some towns were able to recover more quickly than others, and it became clear that some towns were definitely better prepared and more resilient than others in our state. Emerging from this learning has been the creation of Community Resilience Organizations.

Community Resilience Organizations or CROs are teams of local citizens that engage residents and town leaders in climate adaptation, disaster preparedness and hazard mitigation. Step one in the process is assessing town members. From this assessment a picture can be drawn showing areas from where a town is prepared in the event of an emergency to where a town maybe not even close to being prepared.

The current assessment available is designed to be given in a public forum with discussion and instant results, which unfortunately, due to the coronavirus is not a possibility at this time. The good news is that instead of a public forum, we are in a position to do this assessment in another way.

The goal of the committee is to modify the current assessment, making it very user-friendly so that each and every resident of Charlotte is willing to take a bit of time to complete it. The plan is to have it available both online and on paper and to have the paper version available at multiple places in town for people to pick up, take home and complete.

The goal of the assessment is to garner a sense of how all of residents think and/or feel around the ability of our town to withstand and respond to various events.

As for resources available now:

Food and meals
Available to Charlotte school age kids: The school lunch program continues to be available. To access, go to the website, click on “District Resources,” click on “Menus.”  Click on the link for further information, or call Scott Wagner at (802) 871-6198 as he is the contact for the summer for questions and any special needs.

These lunches are available at CCS on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  Pickup between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

From the Food Shelf: Grab and Go lunches available at Spear’s Store and the Charlotte Library, daily Monday through Friday. To register, call (802) 425-3252.

The Charlotte 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.

Emotional and mental health

  • Vermont 211 from your phone—available for referrals and questions.
  • Pathways Vermont at (883) 888-2557 is free and available 24/7 to call or text. Talk with a peer who has dealt with issues in the past.
  • NFI Vermont, access through nfivermont.org. 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 Food Shelf, Charlotte Congregational Church and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Requests can be made by calling (802) 425-3252 or (802) 425-3130.

From the Department of Health
To stay abreast of the ongoing coronavirus news in Vermont, check on what is opening, find new regulations for traveling into our state, where to get a test if you need one, and how to remain safe and well here.

Stay well, stay safe, and we will, together, get through this.