By Trina Bianchi, Contributor

As I sit to write this week’s update from the Charlotte Community Partners, the colors of fall have come and are quickly disappearing, reminding us that we are slowly but surely heading into winter. We are watching the virus increase in states all around us and across the entire country, and I know we are all hoping that we, as independent Vermonters, stay the course and remain safe.

We continue to work on the Community Resilience Assessment, editing it to be as clear as possible, as the goal is to have every resident in our town complete it. The goal is to be able to get a clear picture of how our town is doing in terms of providing for and serving our residents.

How do you feel Charlotte does in terms of providing basic needs and services? How do you feel Charlotte is doing in terms of protecting our environment and natural resources? Do you feel that Charlotte does a good job caring for and protecting our roads, bridges, culverts, etc.? Do you feel that Charlotte does a good job in creating community connections, giving us opportunities to thrive together?

Each of the questions asked can be rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with the option of saying “I don’t know,” as that is also valuable information for various boards and organizations in town to realize. If the town or an organization thinks they are providing a service to residents, but a percentage of our residents don’t even realize that the service is available, that is important information.

If this assessment is to have value to our town, we need to hear from as many Charlotte residents as possible and the team continues to discuss just how to make it as easy and painless as possible for everyone to complete it. The plan currently includes having it available online, accessible from the Charlotte Library and anywhere you have computer access, and for those preferring to complete a paper copy, have paper copies available at several different places in town.

The goal is to finalize and publish distribution and collection locations and hopefully roll it out soon after the election in November. Our hope is that each of you will take the time to read and complete the assessment as this is the first step in a Resilience Series, hosted by the Charlotte Library, Charlotte Community Partners and Community Resilience Organizations. It is our hope that through this assessment we can get a clearer picture of public perception of our resilience across the many sectors that make up our community. This is the starting point to future discussions on how to make Charlotte the best community we can be for everyone who chooses to call our town their home.

As for resources available now:

Food and meals
Available to Charlotte school age kids: The school lunch program continues whether your students are in school or learning from home. Access the CVSD website, click on “District Resources,” click on “Menus,” or call Scott Wagner at (802) 871-6198. The Food Shelf continues to be open Wednesdays from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Charlotte Congregational Church. Call (802) 425-3252 to register.

Emotional and mental health
Vermont 211 from your phone is available for referrals and questions.
Pathways Vermont, (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. 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, at (802) 488-7777, is for crisis situations. Available 24/7.

Financial assistance
Remember that 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 Vermont Department of Health
Stay abreast of the ongoing COVID-19 news in Vermont or learn how Vermont is opening up by going to the website that is updated on a regular basis. Check on what is opening, new regulations for traveling into our state, where to get a test if you need one, how to remain safe and well.

In closing, I will remind everyone to take the time to vote. You should have received a paper ballot in the mail; you can complete it and mail it or take it directly to the Town Hall now.