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Irene Recovery Grants Awarded

The Grant Steering Committee recently awarded $43,000 in the first cycle of grants from the $150,000 awarded to the Episcopal Church in Vermont by Episcopal Relief and Development for long-term recovery. The grants awarded are as follows:

Rock Point Summer Camp Scholarships: $1,800
A diocesan program in conjunction with schools and Episcopal and other churches in flood-damaged areas to identify children who might benefit from a week at the diocesan camp program at Rock Point on Lake Champlain, where, in addition to camp activities, other help might be provided as needed.

Small Step: $1,800
This grant, which will allow purchase of a large cooler, is part of a program of assistance to farmers, specifically allowing the owner of a small organic farm in the heavily damaged Mad River Valley, who employs 6-7 local workers, to store produce for sale to restaurants, stores, and local families.

Christ Church, Bethel: $5,000
Most of this grant ($4,200) will support this community’s continuing efforts to help with unmet needs in this still-reeling community. It represents an ongoing partnership with local merchants and fuel providers to help with household and heating needs. The remainder of the grant ($800) will help continue a recently-begun weekly program of conversations, open to all those affected by Irene in Bethel and surrounding communities, and providing refreshment and, from time to time, expert advice and/or facilitation. The meetings have been well attended so far, providing a much-needed outlet and much-needed opportunity to share experiences and emotions in a supportive community.

Church of Our Saviour, Killington: $2,700
This project coordinates out-of-town construction teams, local aid agencies, and funders, business and residential owners, and the people of Church of Our Saviour—part of ongoing team efforts to help restore homes and businesses in the area.

St. Paul’s, White River Junction: $10,630
This grant will help the people of St. Paul’s continue their support of and coordination with a church in West Hartford; local residents, who themselves are helping to restore the homes they hope to return to before winter; local merchants, who are providing materials at significant discounts; and teams of Dream Workers from Maryland—teenagers doing amazing construction work. St. Paul’s is providing lunches for the teams. These efforts will continue through the summer.

St. Mary’s, Wilmington: $5,000
St. Mary’s church building was itself rendered unusable by Irene. The church community recently purchased a building in the devastated downtown area of Wilmington. Working within its own parish, and with downtown merchants, and affected businesses, some of which are key to the economic wellbeing of the town and one of which provided significant aid during the initial relief efforts, the people of St. Mary’s are committed to helping raise money for the reconstruction of a wall along the river, without which any recovery will be only temporary.

St. Martin’s, Fairlee: $3,975
This project, designed by members of St. Paul’s in White River Junction, is being taken over by St. Martin’s in Fairlee. Its purpose is to harvest and distribute firewood needed for fuel in the area and was developed in conjunction with park and forest officials, Boy Scouts, local wood merchants and truckers. It is easily replicable in other areas and we are distributing the blueprint throughout the diocese.

Mad River Flood Relief: $12,095
This grant represents an important facet of Vermont Episcopalian’s determination to develop and nurture ongoing relationships with long-term recovery committees and aid agencies to deal with present and future emergencies. Mad River has done and continues to do amazing work in a badly damaged region. And they are willing to cross boundaries to be sure that those in need receive help. For instance, we have been involved in trying to replace housing for a family in East Granville, who are now homeless–a family that has fallen through many cracks. A volunteer from Christ Church in Montpelier has spent many hours in the last six months trying to untangle bureaucratic red tape and to figure out what help might be available. Although it is outside their designated area, Mad River—on appeal from the Flood Relief Steering Committee—has agreed to oversee the permitting and construction process and to work with the caseworker assigned, who is from a different recovery zone. The funds made available through this grant are for construction work, mold abatement, and streambed improvement for several businesses and rental properties not covered by FEMA in the Mad River Valley.

The next deadline for applications is September 15 for long-term recovery funds provided through the Episcopal Church in Vermont by Episcopal Relief and Development. For more information, contact Ann Cooper,

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