By Molly Triffin
The Stowe C19 Response Team & General Relief Fund provides immediate help to those in need.
On March 17, shortly after it became clear that the impact of the coronavirus would upend many lives, Vermont State Representative Heidi Scheuermann formed the Stowe C19 Response Team & General Relief Fund. She and the other Team members built a network of 148 local volunteers to run errands and provide resources to vulnerable populations. Guided by Leslie Anderson, chair of groceries and other necessities, the volunteers helped out 48 seniors by dropping off food and supplies and checking in on them regularly.
The Team crafted and distributed face masks to health care professionals, first responders, and residents. In addition, members helped produce an ongoing newsletter about safety protocols and updates to the residents of Copley Woodlands retirement center.
As unemployment surged and a rising number of people found themselves struggling financially, the task force raised $33,000 in relief funds. This money went toward providing weekly grocery assistance to 30 households; contributing to the ShiftMeals program (more on that later); assisting folks with essential needs—medicine, healthcare, fuel, transportation; and providing a month’s worth of products from Mansfield Dairy for workers who were furloughed or laid off as a result of COVID-19, while also supporting our local dairy farm in the process.
“Having a community fund specific to Stowe helped us develop a nimble process for assessing and meeting needs, and our accessibility to community members has proven to be beneficial to those who have never had to ask for financial help before,” wrote fundraising committee chair Leigh Pelletier. “We heard from many recipients about how this service created a bridge through a tumultuous time.”
Scheuermann added, “I couldn’t be prouder of my hometown for stepping up.”