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Out & About: Senior Solutions honors COVID-19 volunteers

  • Senior Solutions recently honored volunteers who stepped up to run errands and assist senior citizens in Windsor and Windham counties during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photograph courtesy of Senior Solutions)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 7/3/2020 9:22:37 PM
Modified: 7/3/2020 9:22:24 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. — When the COVID-19 pandemic started, Senior Solutions found itself in quick need of volunteers. The majority of the nonprofit organization’s volunteers are seniors themselves and due to the risk posed by the novel coronavirus, were unable to continue in their roles.

So the Springfield, Vt.-based organization appealed to the younger members of the community: Could they run errands and make deliveries for homebound older adults in Windsor and Windham counties?

“They were able to do the shopping, pick up, and deliveries so desperately needed by our aging recipients,” Joann Ernhouse, community relations director for Senior Solutions, wrote in a news release. “Our regular older Friendly Volunteer Visitors and Vet to Vet Visitors maintained phone contact with their recipients and buddies while the new and younger volunteers were able to provide the actual services. The net result being that now we could meet the increase in demand for help and the recipients had an extra friend lending a hand to meet the needs.”

More than 30 community members stepped up to the cause and they were honored during a luncheon on Tuesday. While some of the COVID-19 volunteers are returning to work as stay-at-home orders ease, others are going on to become permanent volunteers with the organization.

The volunteers honored are as follows: Alice Abraham, John Adler, Marc Aube, Pauline Aube, Gordon Best, Adrienne Chitayat, Craig Coleman, Gloria Cristelli, Victoria Davis, David Dion, Jeff Dwyer, Christopher Fauver, Clare Gilman, Mike Goldberg, Laura Hamel, Teri Heck, Arnie Knowlton, Julia Lagrange, David Lemal, Jonathan Longo, Brenda Martini, Brenda Moore, John Ogorzalek, Barbara Riotte, Karl Riotte, Mary Sanborn, Elizabeth Spicer, Kevin Theissen, Joan Turner and Erasme Uyizeye.

Vital Communities names interim director

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Beth Roy, director of Vital Communities’ Valley Food & Farm Program, has been appointed interim director of the nonprofit organization.

Tom Roberts, who led the organization for five years, departs Friday, according to a news release. Roy will serve as interim director as the search continues for Roberts’ successor.

“Our annual budget has increased by more than 50 percent since Tom arrived, with proportional growth in staff and programming,” Vital Communities board Chairman Ronald G. Shaiko said in the release. “We are on very firm financial ground thanks to Tom’s stewardship efforts. Tom is also responsible for our growth in affordable housing and climate adaptation as well as our new focus on the Route 11 corridor.”

Roy joined the Vital Communities in 2014 and oversees the Upper Valley Farm to School programming, as well as Valley Quest.

Red Cross seeks volunteers for Disaster Action Teams

The Northern New England Region of the Red Cross is holding a virtual open house from 10 a.m.-noon Saturday, July 18, for people interested in becoming a member of the region’s Disaster Action Teams.

Action teams assist community members who are impacted by house fires and other disasters by helping them find shelter, supplies and support.

Current volunteers will talk about their experiences and answer any questions prospective volunteers may have. To join the open house, visit https://bit.ly/2VhiUWz. For more information, contact Tom O’Neil at 603-205-4930 or tom.oneil@redcross.org.

Free meals available to children in Windsor area

WINDSOR — Breakfast and lunch is available to children and teenagers 18 and under from Monday-Friday in the Windsor area.

The program runs through Aug. 7. The free meals can be picked up from 9-9:30 a.m. at Center Church in Perkinsville, from 9:45-10:15 a.m. at Old Perkinsville School, from 9:30-10:10 a.m. at Albert Bridge School in Brownsville, 10:25-10:55 a.m. at Windsor Common, 11-11:25 a.m. at Windsor Connection Resource Center, 10-10:30 a.m. at Hartland Public Library and 10:30-11:30 a.m. at Meacham Farm.

Friends of Mascoma switches to curbside food pickup

CANAAN — Friends of Mascoma will begin offering curbside pickup of food pantry items in Enfield on Tuesday and in Canaan on Wednesday.

All shoppers and volunteers will be required to wear a mask. If they do not have one, the nonprofit organization will supply them. Shoppers must also practice social distancing. No preregistration is required.

People can walk up and select items from tables outside the nonprofit’s location near the Canaan town common from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesdays. They can also pick up food from 4-6 p.m. on Tuesdays behind the Enfield Police Department on Main Street.

For more information, visit friendsofmascoma.org, call 603-632-4542 or email elkozma@friendsofmascoma.org.

VNH, Good Neighbor donate food to pantry after vandalism

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — After the Sharing & Caring Food Pantry outside the White River Junction Methodist Church was vandalized earlier this month, employees at two neighboring nonprofit organizations joined together to donate 270 pounds of food to replenish it.

Hannah Cerasoli, director of the pantry, found it in disarray on June 23, according to a news release from the Visiting Nurse and Hospice of Vermont and New Hampshire. Food had been opened and thrown around the church’s property and those nearby. The cupboards that held the items were destroyed and baskets were stolen.

Employees at VNH and the Good Neighbor Health Clinic collected non-perishable food items to replenish the pantry, which was started in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Sharing & Caring Food Pantry makes free food available to people around the clock.

The UMC Sharing & Caring Food Pantry is a community effort and filled with generous donations from community members and local organizations. This vital resource helps members of the White River Junction community supplement their food needs.

“The Sharing & Caring Food Pantry at the WRJ Methodist Church is unique as it is self-service and is available to people who might not have the money for a quart of milk or food for dinner after normal business hours,” said Good Neighbor Health Clinic Executive Director Dana Michalovic said in the release. “Good Neighbor staff was happy to be included in the VNH effort to restock the pantry.”

Land Trust adds trails to Morey Mountain area

FAIRLEE — Four additional miles of trails are now available to hikers at Morey Mountain Conservation Area in Fairlee.

The trail system was built in June by volunteers from Hypertherm who are part of the Upper Valley Land Trust’s Corporate Volunteer Program. The trails officially open this weekend with a socially distanced event.

“Along the trails UVLT staff, who normally lead hikes in person, have placed signage describing the natural communities and interesting facts about the property,” the nonprofit organization wrote in a news release. “These facts are usually disseminated verbally, but because we can’t gather together in groups at this time, the new trail signs will allow visitors to take themselves on a self-guided tour.”

The display will be through July 12. The trail system can be accessed via the Lake Morey Road parking lot. It eventually connects with the Palisades trail and leads to a lookout over Route 5 and the Connecticut River. For more information, visit uvlt.org.

New London Hospital alters Hospital Days event

NEW LONDON — The parade may be canceled, but New London Hospital will still mark its annual Hospital Days celebration.

Area businesses and residents are being encouraged to create floats or other displays on their properties in the theme of “Game Night” as part of an event the hospital is calling “No Parade, Parade,” according to a news release from the health care organization.

Displays will be up from Monday, Aug.3-Saturday, Aug. 8 and people can vote for their favorites. Entries are now being accepted at newlondonhospital.org/hospitaldays.

The hospital will also virtually host the traditional “Hospital Days Dunk Stool.” Community members and leaders will be dunked in events streamed on Facebook Live on Thursday, Aug. 6 and Friday, Aug. 7. People can purchase throws on the hospital’s website.

For more information, visit newlondonhospital.org or call 603-526-5373.

Bradford Academy annual reunion canceled

BRADFORD, Vt. — Bradford Academy alumni have canceled their annual reunion, which was originally scheduled for June 6 and then postponed to Oct. 17, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The reunion will be held on June 5, 2021, at Oxbow High School. The classes of 1970 and 1971 will co-host the event.

The classes of 1972, 1973 and 1974 are also invited to attend. Students in those classes attended Bradford Academy and graduated from Oxbow.

For more information, contact BA Alumni Secretary/Treasurer Elizabeth “Liz” Green Dane at BAAlumni3@comcast.net.

Editor’s note: Please email Upper Valley community news items to calendar@vnews.com. Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.




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