Diocesan Response Plan – Phase 1
Dear Colleagues and Friends in Ministry,
With word now in from all of our congregations, it seems almost all of our church buildings were spared damaged. There’s nothing new to report in that regard since I last wrote to you on Friday. It also seems our parishioners and most of our Vermont neighbors are all physically safe. Thanks be to God! We are, however, all painfully aware of the devastation so many are experiencing.
The response from Vermonters and Vermont Episcopalians is heart-warming, expansive, and expanding. The people of Gethsemane, Proctorsville, are working with local authorities to respond to the needs of their community. Among many others, they have worked with a young single mother with two children whose house was destroyed. The people of St. Paul’s, White River Junction, have provided (and continue to provide) hundreds of home-made meals to workers, small business owners, recreation departments and homeowners who are deep in the mud of Irene – along with clothes and supplies – and had casseroles delivered to St. Peter’s, Bennington. People of Good Shepherd, Barre, and St. Mary’s, Northfield, have been doing laundry for people in the area who were flooded. In Brattleboro, St. Michael’s parishioners are assisting with efforts at the Converse Home and beyond. This is just a tiny peek into what is happening – those who are busy with relief efforts do not have the time to share all they are doing – so, just multiply this information at least ten-fold! And, there is much more to be done and will continue to be….
A relay system from church to church is being established along the major highways of Vermont – from Newport to Brattleboro along I-91 and from Swanton to Montpelier on I-89 and Burlington to Bennington on Route 7. Angie Emerson is coordinating the I-91 efforts from St. Paul’s, White River Junction with Susan Ohlidal in St. Johnsbury. Our hope and expectation is to gather the provisions and supplies needed and get them to the areas of need. People to join work and clean-up crews will be needed and this contact system can be used to gather groups and make connections over the weeks to come. If you have a specific contact person for your congregation and haven’t sent me that information already, please do so.
Current needs include:
Health is a big issue. All of the mud from the floods is contaminated by sewage, so basic first aid items, and protective latex gloves.
Emergency Clean-up Buckets (such as Church World Services provides) you will need:
One five-gallon bucket with resealable lid
Five scouring pads
Seven sponges, assorted sizes
One scrub brush
Eighteen cleaning towels (reusable, like Easy Wipes®)
One 50-78 oz. box dry laundry detergent
One 12 oz. bottle of liquid concentrated household cleaner (like Lysol®)
One 25 oz. bottle liquid disinfectant dish soap (like Dawn®)
One package of 48-50 clothespins
Clothesline, two 50 ft. or one 100 ft.
Five dust masks
Two pairs latex gloves (like Playtex®)
One pair work gloves
28-bag roll of heavy-duty trash bags (30-45 gallon)
One 6-9 oz. bottle of insect repellent (pump, drops or lotion, not aerosol)
Please provide all liquids in new, unopened plastic bottles. Be sure to send only new materials. Place all items in the plastic bucket, making sure they are packed securely to avoid damage during shipment, and seal lid with packing tape. If you can’t provide the complete kit, any and all of these items are needed.
Gift cards for clothes and school supplies (Walmart, K-Mart, Staples, Walgreens, Kinney’s, etc.)
Gas cards for people in the Proctorsville area (specifically Sunoco and Gulf) for the purchase of gas are needed because there are no longer supermarkets nearby. People have to travel 30 – 45 minutes from Proctorsville to buy food. Local markets were destroyed.
Socks and Underwear for both genders, all age groups, all sizes
Canned and non-perishable food – wholesale-size and household size
Household necessities (diapers, toilet paper, dish and laundry detergents – if you use it in your house, there’s a need somewhere)
Personal necessities (soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, contact lens solution, etc. – again, if you use it daily, there’s a need somewhere)
Plastic bins for people to protect the belongings they have been able to salvage.
Thank you to all those who have been responding tirelessly to the efforts. All of us need to remember to support each other as we are supporting those in need. Please remember to take a break now and then – we can’t do it all, all at once and there are many who are responding. Please step in to give others a break as you are able.
Lynn Bates, Canon to the Ordinary and Transition Minister