By Trina Bianchi, Charlotte COVID-19 Assistance Team

Your Charlotte COVID-19 Assistance Team continues to meet twice a month and has now officially taken on the task of discovering how our residents feel about where our town is going. Working with the Vermont Community Resilience Organization (CRO), the team has redesigned the resilience assessment with the goal of having every Charlotte resident complete it.

As happened with Hurricane Irene and now with the COVID pandemic, Vermont communities responded, helping folks in need. Between the food shelf, the school, and the two local churches, meals and food were provided along with financial assistance. Did we miss areas that should have been covered? We don’t know and we need your help to make that determination.

Other towns in Vermont have used the CRO assessment and from those results have established teams to address areas that were identified as problematic. The assessment looks at five areas of concern: Basic Needs and Services, Environment and Natural Systems, Physical Infrastructure, Community Connections and Capacity, and one section has been added specifically addressing the COVID-19 Pandemic. Questions will ask you to rate our town on a scale of 1 to 5 as to how resilient or prepared you think Charlotte is. Space for specific comments will follow each category.

The team discussed how to make sure all of our residents can easily find and complete the assessment; both online and on-paper options will be offered. The important thing is that everyone takes advantage of this opportunity; in order to get accurate results, it is important that as many people as possible take the 15 to 20 minutes necessary to complete the survey. All of this can be anonymous; you can also give your name if you want!

We will be distributing the assessment toward the end of September. The link will be published in The Charlotte News and paper copies will be available at various places in town.

The results from the assessment will be given to our town officials which can then lead to the creation of task forces of interested individuals to look at the areas of concern and suggest avenues for improvement. This assessment has been used successfully in other Vermont towns to implement changes, making the town more prepared and resilient in years to come.

Current available resources

Food and meals
Available to Charlotte school age kids: The school lunch program will continue. Access the website, click on “District Resources”, click on “Menus,” or call Scott Wagner at (802) 871-6198.

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

The Food Shelf is open Wednesdays from 5:00 p.m. –7:00 p.m. at the Charlotte Congregational Church. Kids lunch packs are available and will include a week’s supply of lunches. 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 is available 24/7 to call or text. Talk with a peer who has dealt with issues in the past. This is an awesome resource available to all Vermonters.

NFI Vermont 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.

Vermont Department of Health
Stay abreast of the ongoing news in Vermont with respect to COVID-19.

On a personal note, if you are looking for a great read and want to understand the ongoing racial discord in this country, I recommend “Caste” by Isabelle Wilkerson. It is available at the Charlotte Library.

Stay well, be kind and respectful and watch for the assessment!