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Volunteer remotely to help COVID-19 response

  • The Upper Valley Community Band, with support from the Lebanon Elks and Hanover Lions Club, presented a free outdoor concert last Sunday at the Lebanon Elks Lodge. The band has been unable to perform its usual program of parades and concerts this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic and it was the first performance of the season for many band members. Last fall, the band successfully completed a fundraising campaign to support the construction of a new band wagon. The wagon was completed with donations from the Hanover and Canaan Lions clubs among others this spring, and members were able to see it for the first time at this concert in Lebanon. (Photograph courtesy of Elizabeth Roberto) Photographs courtesy of Elizabeth Roberto

  • The Upper Valley Community Band, with support from the Lebanon Elks and Hanover Lions Club, presented a free outdoor concert last Sunday at the Lebanon Elks Lodge. The band has been unable to perform its usual program of parades and concerts this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic and it was the first performance of the season for many band members. Last fall, the band successfully completed a fundraising campaign to support the construction of a new band wagon. The wagon was completed with donations from the Hanover and Canaan Lions clubs among others this spring, and members were able to see it for the first time at this concert in Lebanon. (Photograph courtesy of Elizabeth Roberto)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 9/11/2020 9:49:05 PM
Modified: 9/11/2020 9:48:51 PM

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteering has changed. Older adults in particular have take a step back from in-person activities to limit their potential exposure to contracting the coronavirus.

But while some opportunities have gone away, other remote opportunities have popped up, as seen with the legions of people in the Upper Valley who have been making homemade facemasks. People are eager to assist first responders, essential workers and others on the frontlines.

Volunteering with the COVID Alliance Senior Support Team of NH (also known as SST) is another way to do so. The volunteer network checks in with long-term care facilities throughout the Granite State, including the Upper Valley, to ask about their PPE needs and other concerns in addition to providing them with up-to-date information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the state’s health and human services department.

“It’s a high-impact thing you can do,” said Linda Hallock, of Cornish, who is a retired nurse and volunteers with the team. “It doesn’t take a lot of time and it’s 100% remote.”

Volunteers start as liaisons, who make calls to long-term care facilities to assess their needs for the day. It’s about a 2-3 hour time commitment per week

“Volunteer liaisons are paired up so nobody has to do it every day,” Hallock said. “A number of the liaisons have established a kind of relationship with the people they talk to at the facilities. They just appreciate having somebody to talk to and some places you can call and they just give you the facts. Other places you call, they like to talk for a while. Either way is fine.”

If volunteers want to increase their participation, there are opportunities to do so. Hallock started as a liaison and now volunteers as a supply coordinator and a regional coordinator.

“One of the great things about this group is nobody ever pressures you to take on another role or do more,” she said.

The group is part of the COVID-19 Policy Alliance, which was formed in March by a group of MIT professors to gather data about COVID-19 and help contain the spread. The SST is part of the alliance’s effort to assist long-term care facilities, where the virus has been shown to spread at facilities across the world.

“Every day (the Department of Health and Human Services) sends us a copy of each facility’s (personal protective equipment) requests and then we have a spreadsheet that we keep track of that on and then we keep track on whether they received that supplies, whether it was in good condition, if they used outside vendors, if there was any price gouging we put them in touch with the Attorney General,” Hallock said. “We’ve helped them find staff by providing them with resources they can use.”

Volunteers must be 18 and older, sign a confidentiality form and pass a background check.

“Initially there were a lot of nurses involved, but no medical experience (is) necessary,” Hallock said. “I like to be able to do something to help and this is something that I can do. Because I’m home and I really can’t go very many places, it gives me something to do that’s helpful and worthwhile during this time.”

For more information, visit covidalliance.com/sst.

Two Rivers director receives leadership award

WOODSTOCK — Peter Gregory, executive director of Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission, has received the 2020 Arthur Gibb Award for Individual Leadership from the Vermont Natural Resources Council.

“For 30 years and counting, Gregory’s work and leadership have led to thoughtful, comprehensive approaches to local and regional planning for transportation, water quality, energy, and emergency management,” according to a news release from the council. “He has also served as an active, effective, and respected voice in the state Legislature in support of these and other issues.”

Among Gregory’s accomplishments is helping the state implement Act 200, water quality laws and work on the state’s energy plan. He has also testified before the U.S. Congress and held a leadership role in the National Organization of Development Organizations.

He was also a leader in the Irene Floods Buyout Project, which bought and demolished 140 flood-damaged properties, created better flood storage, remediated brownfield sites and created 17 riverside parks and public water access points.

Claremont asks for input about Pleasant Street proposal

CLAREMONT — Claremont is hosting an online meeting about the proposed Pleasant Street project at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

Attendees will be asked for their opinions on sidewalk materials, trees and site furniture, among other suggestions.

For more information on the project and Zoom information, visit rethinkpleasantstreet.com.

Annual Connecticut River cleanup continues

There’s still time to participate in the Connecticut River Conservancy’s 24th annual Source to Sea Cleanup, which lasts through the end of September. The nonprofit organization is also pushing its supporters to call for an end to disposable and single-use plastics.

“After cleaning up 1,167 tons of trash over the past 23 years it’s clear that repeated cleaning is not the solution to our trash problem,” Andrew Fisk, executive director of the conservancy, said in a news release. “Consumers need to avoid single-use items. And it’s time for the businesses who created and have been profiting from this trash to now help solve the problem through fundamental redesign of how our products are made and disposed of.”

The annual Source to Sea Cleanup is a river cleanup coordinated by CRC in all New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut, which make up the 410-mile Connecticut River basin. For more information or to register for the event, visit www.ctriver.org/cleanup.

DHMC hosts virtual heart health event

LEBANON — Dr. Merle Myerson, a cardiologist and director of Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Services & Lipid Clinic at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health, will discuss how to prevent heart disease, known risk factors and prevention during an online talk from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Myerson will also address healthy eating, exercise, heredity factors and available treatments.

“Staying at home more often and self-isolation along with gyms closing have resulted in less physical activity and for some, weight gain,” Myerson said in a news release. “With the upcoming cold weather, it’s helpful to strategize now on how you can be active and make heart-healthy choices.”

Visit dhhealthylivingseries.eventbrite.com or call 603-302-1633 to register.

Camping gear needed for area nonprofit organizations

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — The UV Giving Emergency Aid & Resources (UV Gear) and the Upper Valley Haven are partnering for a camping equipment drive now through Sept. 24.

Among the supplies needed are tents, sleeping bags, C batteries, $10 gas cards, StraightTalk phone cards, hand sanitizer, mini first aid kits and small tarps. Items can be brought to the Haven (713 Hartford Ave., White River Junction) from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Call 802-295-6500 for more information.

Montshire Museum’s online auction continues

NORWICH — The Montshire Museum of Science is holding an online auction fundraiser through Sept. 22.

“The Montshire’s temporary closure, along with the cancellation in May of our annual Fiddlehead Fling, have led to a major budgetary shortfall,” the organization wrote in a news release. “By moving many of our auction items online, we are pleased to celebrate the generosity of the donors and sponsors who have entrusted us with their support and invested in the Montshire’s mission.”

View items at 32auctions.com/MontshireAuction2020.

Headrest hosts virtual lunches for Suicide Prevention Month

LEBANON — Headrest, nonprofit addiction treatment provider that also operates a 24-hour crisis hotline, is hosting weekly virtual lunches about suicide prevention each Tuesday at noon as part of Suicide Prevention Month.

Kelleen Caravona, suicide prevention coordinator for NAMI New Hampshire, spoke during the first half-hour program. The rest of the schedule is as follows:

■Sept. 15: Russell Conte, mental health and wellness coordinator for the New Hampshire State Police, will share an update on efforts to establish a crisis intervention team program within New Hampshire’s law enforcement community.

■Sept. 22: Penny King, a suicide loss survivor, shares her story.

■Sept. 29: Susan Morrison, a suicide loss survivor, shares her story.

Register at headrest.org/events-meetings/virtual-lunches.

Billings Farm names people’s choice quilt show winners

WOODSTOCK — More than 1,100 ballots were cast for the 2020 People’s Choice awards for Billings Farm & Museum’s 34th Annual Quilt Exhibition.

Josette Jones, of Windsor, earned first place in the full-size quilt category for “Diamonds and Hearts in the Stars.” Second place was awarded to “Fiesta” by Kathy Geagan, of Brownsville, and third place went to “Peace” by Sandra S. Palmer, of Hartland. Mara Novak, of Hartland, earned first place in the small/medium size quilt category for “Adoration of the Dragon Child.” Second place was awarded to “Blooming Batik Bouquets” by Susan Hall, of Hartland, and third place went to “Edgar” by Linda Diak, of Chester.

More than 7,500 people visited the exhibit this year, according to the nonprofit.

Editor’s note: Email Upper Valley community news to calendar@vnews.com. Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com.




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