Weekly Email Update 12.14.20

Weekly Email Update 12.14.20

"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." 
Winston Churchill b.1874 d.1965

 This week's email has more than a few new ways to stay involved in Windham County during these Winter months, WeCANners. Opportunities to help your community plan and create new uses for public spaces, to help the town of Brattleboro rewrite their hazard mitigation plan, and to assist in a research study about domestic violence are all available this week. You'll also find information about the re-emergence of the DACA program and how you or someone you know can apply inside... so don't forget to scroll all the way down to the end to see how you can stay involved!
     This week's Georgia runoff information comes from WeCAN member Ann Smith and Lean Left VT. Their fundraising for candidates Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock concluded in November, but you can still find them raising funds for four grassroots endeavors in Georgia: Georgia Shift, the GALEO Impact Fund, The Georgia Muslim Voter Project, and The Asian American Advocacy Fund
Georgia Shift mobilizes young voters across Georgia to build independent political power. They provide voter guides, help for voting by mail, student poll worker recruitment, and tools for civic engagement.
GALEO Impact Fund is a non-partisan group that strives for a better Georgia where the Latinx community is engaged civically and its contributions and concerns are recognized.
The Georgia Muslim Voter Project was founded to address anti-Muslim rhetoric in mainstream politics and the low rates of civic engagement in the Muslim community. They actively work with local mosques and community groups to increase voter registration and mobilization.
The Asian American Advocacy Fund’s advocates for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians in Georgia. They provide language support, help with registration and voter education. 

     A donation in any amount using this link (https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ga_grass) will be split between these four organizations, each of them helping to register and educate voters when we need them the most. If you're unable to give financially, don't worry! Here's now you can volunteer your time to each organization:
Lean Left VT: https://www.leanleftvt.org/actions-overview
Georgia Shift: https://georgiashift.com/volunteer/
GALEO Impact Fund: Send an email to [email protected].
The Georgia Muslim Voter Project: https://www.gamvp.org/volunteer
Asian American Advocacy Fund: https://www.asianamericanadvocacyfund.org/volunteer

HAPPENING TODAY, SUNDAY, DECEMBER 13TH, 2020

Coffee with Coffey
Sunday, December 13th, 2020, Online. 3pm-4pm.
You can access the Zoom HERE. 
The legislative session begins on January 6th and if you live in my district please join me this Sunday, December 6th for "Coffee with Coffey" 3-4pm over Zoom. These monthly coffee hours (held on the first Sunday of each month) are as a way to stay connected with the issues and our neighbors. I will share my priorities for the coming session, answer questions and listen to your ideas and concerns. If you cannot make it to a coffee hour please don't hesitate to get in touch by phone or email. 
Hope to see you! Be well and take good care, 
Sara Coffey 
State Representative 
Windham-1/Guilford & Vernon 
email: [email protected] 
home phone: 802-257-0288

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Sister District Knows How to Party in Vermont . . . Even Via Zoom! 
Sunday, December 13th, 2020, Online. 4pm.

Join us with this link. Everyone is welcome! 
Pour a glass of wine or a cup of tea and join fellow Southern Vermont Sister District supporters in celebrating what we've accomplished thus far. 

  • Special guest Rita Bosworth, Sister District's Executive Director, with an update on the national, post-election strategy
  • Premier viewing of Southern VT SDP's video retrospective, Stir the Pot 
  • Poetry (by Verandah Porche), music (by Seymour Sisters), and the unveiling of a delicious soup surprise

    See you there! 

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HAPPENING THIS WEEK, MONDAY, DECEMBER 14th, 2020-SUNDAY, DECEMBER 20th, 2020

Everyone Eats! EXTENDED THROUGH DECEMBER 30th, 2020!! 
Monday, December 14th, 2020-Thursday December 17th, 2020 at the C.F Building (80 Flat Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 4pm-6pm. Masks required. PLEASE DO NOT ARRIVE EARLY. You can pick up meals for up to three households including your own. If you have any questions visit https://www.brattleboro.com/everyoneeats/ or contact Frances Huntley [email protected]. Organizational ordering information is listed under our Free and Nutritious Food in Windham County section further along in this email. 
Everyone Eats! is a program which will distribute meals from Brattleboro restaurants to anyone in need who lives in Brattleboro, Dummerston, Guilford, Putney, or Vernon, free of charge, through December 11th. There will be 850+ meals/day available Monday through Thursday to serve our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pick up for individuals will be at the C.F. Church Building at 80 Flat St in Brattleboro and group/institution orders can be picked up at Mama Sezz in West Brattleboro. All meals are available Monday-Thursday between 4pm and 6pm until supplies run out.
If you have extra produce from your garden, there will be a wheelbarrow you can drop it off in on your way out of the pickup site. Participating restaurants will use the donated produce in making more meals.
The meals are free, but if you would like to make a monetary contribution to help make more meals possible for others, it will be gratefully received. The base cost of each meal is $10 but any amount will be appreciated.
Each restaurant will contribute meals two or more days a week. You will receive one individually packaged cold ready-to-eat or heat & serve dinner for each person you request a meal for. Meals will be distributed cold, so if you are driving a distance, delivering to other households, or distributing through your organization, consider bringing a cooler if you can.

Everyone Eats! Info From Putney Mutual Aid
Have you taken advantage of Everyone Eats? Here's how Putney folks can participate:
1. CURBSIDE PICKUP IN PUTNEY!!! We will be distributing meals in Putney for curbside pickup on Monday evening. Pick up at the Putney Community Center from 5-5:45. First come, first served. No need for advance reservations. (Be sure to drive up in your car and wait for instructions. We will bring the food to you.)
2. DELIVERY IN PUTNEY!!! Putney Mutual Aid volunteers can deliver a meal to you on Monday evenings -- PM us, comment here or email [email protected] to make arrangements
3. CURBSIDE PICKUP IN BRATT!! You can journey into Brattleboro (Mon-Thurs, 4-6) to pick up a meal. The program runs through mid-December. (more info in the link below).
4. VOLUNTEER!!! If you are interested in helping with delivery of meals as a volunteer with Putney Mutual Aid, contact us! Comment below, PM or [email protected]
Just a reminder... this program is meant to be an economic stimulus as well as an innovative way to address food security. Please feel free to participate and grab a meal! It helps our local restaurants and gives us all delicious food. Putney Food Shelf https://www.brattleboro.com/everyoneeats/.

 

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Covid 19 Pop-Up Testing
Brattleboro:
Monday, December 14th, 2020 at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (17 Belmont Ave, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 5pm-8pm.
Tuesday, December 15th, 2020 at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (17 Belmont Ave, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 5pm-8pm.
Wednesday, December 16th, 2020 at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (17 Belmont Ave, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 5pm-8pm.
Thursday, December 17th, 2020 at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (17 Belmont Ave, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 5pm-8pm.
Friday, December 18th, 2020 at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (17 Belmont Ave, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 5pm-8pm.
Saturday, December 19th, 2020 at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (17 Belmont Ave, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 9am-2pm.
Sunday, December 20th, 2020 at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital (17 Belmont Ave, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 9am-2pm.
Stratton:
Monday, December 14th, 2020 at Carlos Otis Stratton Mountain Clinic (78 Founders Hill Road, Stratton Mountain, VT, 05155). 9am-2pm.
Tuesday, December 15th, 2020 at Carlos Otis Stratton Mountain Clinic (78 Founders Hill Road, Stratton Mountain, VT 05155). 2pm-5pm.
Wednesday, December 16th, 2020 at Carlos Otis Stratton Mountain Clinic (78 Founders Hill Road, Stratton Mountain, VT 05155). 9am-2pm.
Thursday, December 17th, 2020 at Carlos Otis Stratton Mountain Clinic (78 Founders Hill Road, Stratton Mountain, VT, 05155). 2pm-5pm.
Friday, December 18th, 2020 at Carlos Otis Stratton Mountain Clinic (78 Founders Hill Road, Stratton Mountain, VT, 05155). 9am-2pm.
Saturday, December 19th, 2020 at Carlos Otis Stratton Mountain Clinic (78 Founders Hill Road, Stratton Mountain, VT, 05155). 9am-12pm.
Sunday, December 20th, 2020 at Carlos Otis Stratton Mountain Clinic (78 Founders Hill Road, Stratton Mountain, VT, 05155). 9am-12pm.
Testing is available for all. 
If you need testing, there are a variety of options available to you: your primary care provider, pop-up test sites and pharmacies. The Test Site Finder below can help you find other testing near you.
HEALTH DEPARTMENT POP-UP TESTING LOCATIONS
Here are the steps to set up a testing appointment at a pop-up testing site:

  • Register to get an account
  • Receive an email with your patient ID and use that to confirm your account (check your spam folder if you don't see the email)
  • Log in with your patient ID
  • Set up an appointment

Register for Pop-Up Testing Here

 

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Lost River Racial Justice Working Group Meeting 
Monday, December 14th, 2020, Online. 6pm-8pm.
The online meeting will be open at 5:45pm for time to get connected and troubleshoot any technology issues, and the meeting agenda will begin at 6pm.
Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84614525296?pwd=dmVFSWFtNlprcVlsa1lCQllUWlhPQT09 Meeting ID: 846 1452 5296.
Our monthly working meeting is a space for white-identified people to deepen our learning about white supremacy and our role in challenging it; to organize and take action in support of racial justice; and to connect and build relationships that sustain us in this work. This is a great space for new people to jump in. We hope to see you there!

 

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Town Arts Fund 2021: Virtual Info Session
hosted by the Arts Council of Windham County
Tuesday, December 15th, 2020, Online. 12pm-1:30pm.
View the full application, meeting information, and guidelines at www.artswindhamcounty.org/taf. If you have specific questions you'd like us to address in the info session, you can email us at [email protected] A recording of the info session will also be made available online.
Join us virtually on December 15th at 12pm to learn about the 2021 Brattleboro Town Arts Fund (TAF) program and application process. First-time grant seekers welcome and encouraged to attend + apply!
Call for creative ideas: in response to the COVID crisis, the 2021 TAF grant process is soliciting proposals for low-cost, short-term creative projects that aim to build connections, support, solidarity, and solace - for those most impacted by social isolation in these pandemic times.
Grants awarded in this cycle will be for a fixed amount of $1,000, and must be implemented within 90 days of when funds are awarded.

 

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Socialist Night School Online: Why the Working Class?
Tuesday, December 15th, 2020, Online. 7pm-8:30pm.
Free.
To register for this event and to receive a zoom link please fill out this form: https://dsausa.zoom.us/.../tJMvdeuurTwoGNy...
As socialists, we talk about workers' power and building a movement of the working class. But what is the working class? What gives workers power in struggles against exploitation and oppression in our workplaces, our communities, and our homes? And if a united multiracial, multi-gendered working class has such change-making potential, how do we grasp and overcome all that divides us?
Join the Socialist Education Working Group for a presentation by Nancy Welch on “Why the Working Class?” Suggested short readings are linked below, but the major points and debates will be covered in the kick-off presentation, so you can join the discussion even if you don’t have time to prepare!
Speaker: Nancy Welch is a member of the Upper Valley Democratic Socialists of America and UVM United Academics AFT-AAUP, the union of UVM full and part-time faculty where she has also been active in UVM United Against the Cuts. She is most recently author of "A Semester to Die For" and "Standing Together Against Sexual Violence at Dartmouth," and her essay "'We're Here and We're Not Going Anywhere': Why Working-Class Rhetorical Traditions Still Matter" won a Richard Ohmann award for best article in College English
Links to readings:
Hadas Thier, "The Working Class Is the Vast Majority of Society": https://www.jacobinmag.com/.../working-class-peoples...
Tithi Bhattacharya, "How Not to Skip Class: Social Reproduction of Labor and the Global Working Class": https://viewpointmag.com/.../how-not-to-skip-class.../...
Kim Moody, “How Just-in-Capitalism Spread Covid-19” (especially “Class Struggle in the Time of Pandemic and Recession” and “Learning New Habits of Struggle”): https://spectrejournal.com/how-just-in-time.../...

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Marlboro Community Food Share
hosted by the Marlboro Community Center
Thursday, December 17th, 2020, and every Thursday, at the Marlboro Community Center (524 South Road, Marlboro, VT, 05344). 4:30pm-5:30pm.
Every Thursday from 4:30pm-5:30pm the Marlboro Community Center invites you to fill a grocery bag with non-perishables and fresh local produce. No registration or eligibility required. This weekly opportunity is available for anyone who could use an extra bag of groceries or knows someone who does.
Food will be set up in the entry-way to the Marlboro Community Center. For proper social distancing, please enter one person at a time. Bring a grocery bag or use ours. Masks are required. Deliveries will be made through Marlboro Cares for those needing assistance. Please call Marlboro Cares at 258-3030 in advance to arrange a delivery.
To donate food:
Leave non-perishable food in the donation box at the Marlboro Post Office. It will be collected on a weekly-basis. (Please note that this box previously supplied the Deerfield Valley Food Pantry, which is now distributing food exclusively from VT Food Pantry) 
Gardeners and farmers are welcome to donate produce. Wear masks and wash hands when harvesting and handling food. Fresh produce can be dropped off at the Community Center on Thursday between 1pm and 4pm. (Any leftover produce will be taken to FoodWorks the following morning)

 

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Guilford Cares Food Pantry
Thursday, December 17th, 2020 (and every Thursday) at Broad Brook Community Center (3490 Guilford Center Road, Guilford, VT, 05301). 5pm-6pm. If you have questions, concerns or would like to donate groceries or monetary gifts please contact Pat Haine 802-257-0626. For additional questions or more information call 802 579 1350 or email [email protected]
The Guilford Cares Food Pantry will continue to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure food security for all our citizens and vulnerable populations. They are well stocked with the staples you need for your family and are following viral guidelines to limit risk.
They ask that shoppers to remain in their car. A volunteer will greet you and give you a "shopping list" for you to  mark with the items you would like. Another volunteer will fill your bag  and bring it to porch where you will be asked to pick it up. Please  bring a bag for the items and a pen to fill out the shopping list. If you have questions, concerns or would like to donate groceries or monetary gifts please contact Pat Haine 257-0626
If you cannot come to the Pantry due to illness or high risk, you can call also call Pat to arrange for food delivery by a volunteer.
We know that supplemental food can make such a big difference in one's budget. That is why we are stocking our shelves for our neighbors. All are welcome to come and take home fresh produce, staples, meat, dairy.
Guilford Cares welcomes anyone in need of supplemental food for themselves or their families.

 

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Winter Farmers Market
Saturday, December 19th, 2020 (and every Saturday this Winter) at the C.F. Church Building (80 Flat Street, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 10am-2pm.
Masks are required. COVID19 social distancing directives will be observed during pickup. 
We regret to inform you that the physical market will no longer be open for in-person shopping as of Saturday, November 26th, 2020 due to the increased risks associated with COVID19. We will, however, continue in a curbside pick up model at least through the holidays. At the start of the New Year we'll assess the possiblity of re-opening a "Shop "n Go" market. For the most up to date info on current market practices or other market information go to www.brattleborowinterfarmersmarket.org. 
Our order cycle opens each week at 8AM on the Tuesday morning before a market, and closes at 8PM on Thursday evening so our vendors can pick, pack, bake and make what you are looking for. Our orders will be ready for pick up between 11am-1pm. There will be a $1 fee added for processing debit or credit cards. Just as at the in-person market, this enables us to offer access for those using food benefits. 

Thanks to generous support from C & S grocers, New England Grassroots Environment Fund, Brattleboro Savings & Loan and Post Oil Solutions, they will be adding a new match for customers using SNAP/EBT. Similar to the Crop Cash program, the "Boost your Bread" will help put more healthy local food on the tables of those who receive SNAP/EBT benefits, while supporting local farmers, bakers and other food producers at the winter market. With both Crop Cash and Boost your Bread, $10 will be triple your buying power, allowing you to purchase $30 worth of food at the market.
For more information, visit their website at https://www.brattleborowinterfarmersmarket.org

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UPCOMING EVENTS

Red Cross Blood Drive at NECCA
Monday, December 21st, 2020 at NECCA (10 Town Crier Drive, Brattleboro, VT, 05301). 12:30pm-5pm.
Give the gift of life! It's easy and so worth while. There are lots of protocols in place to make sure it's very safe with limited appointments, required masks, and on-site temperature checks. Find more info and schedule a time here: https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/donation-time

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Youth Essay Contest

Sanders Announces Eleventh Annual State of the Union Essay Contest
The deadline for student essay submissions is Jan. 12, 2021. More information can be found on Sanders’ Senate webpage at https://www.sanders.senate.gov/stateoftheunion or by calling (800) 339-9834.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has launched his eleventh annual State of the Union essay contest.
Each January, the President of the United States delivers the “State of the Union” address to a joint session of Congress, which outlines priorities for the coming year. Because Senator Sanders knows that great ideas can come from everyone – not just those in power – and wants to encourage young people to become engaged in the political process, he created the State of the Union Essay Contest.  The contest is an opportunity for Vermont high school students to describe a major issue facing our country and propose what they would do to solve it.
The 250-500 word essays can be on any issue of national importance. A volunteer panel of Vermont teachers will judge the essays on the students’ ability to articulate an issue and propose a solution, without regard to the students’ political views. Senator Sanders will enter the essays of the ten finalists into the Congressional Record – the official archive of the U.S. Congress.
“I started this essay contest 11 years ago to help our students be actively engaged, no matter where they stand on the issues,” said Sanders, who serves on the Senate education committee. “This year, our state and nation face a health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with a renewed fight for racial justice. Many of you have seen family members struggle because of lost wages or health concerns, you have been asked to learn online, and you face a future that may feel uncertain. To my mind, the unprecedented nature of this time makes it more important than ever to hear perspectives and innovative ideas from you, our young people.”
More than 4,600 students from high schools throughout Vermont have written essays in the past ten years about critically important issues, including climate change, access to mental health care, the rising cost of college, and much, much more. Last year, Isabelle Hiller from Woodstock Union High School was selected as the winner from 536 submissions for her essay on criminal justice reform.

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COMMUNITY SUPPORT OPPORTUNITIES

LGTBQIA+ Resources via Out in the Open

Out in the Open is offering a lot of resources & virtual spaces for rural LGBTQ folks in this time, friends. The full list and calendar is on our website hereWe have a Community Care Offers & Asks list, and a list of Rural New England Mutual Aid opportunities, with specific resource links for LGBTQ and QTPOC folks. Out in the Open also has a Slack channel for rural LGBTQ folks to share resources and connect outside of social media. Email [email protected] for more information.

 

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The Root Social Justice Center Year End Activities
The Root is seeking volunteers to help with their year-end fundraising, phone-banking, and other events. Tasks include:

  • Phone-thanking (1:1 calls, reading a prepared script)
  • Postcards (writing/mailing to donors and members)
  • Phone-banking (outreach to yearly and major donors)
  • Co-facilitation or Tech support during our Virtual Gratitude Event (December)
  • Marketing & Outreach for our Virtual Gratitude Event (December)
  • Communication (Assisting the Development Director in scheduling and coordinating other volunteers)

If you are able to help please fill out this sign up sheet.

 

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Agency of Commerce and Community Development 'Better Places' Project
The Better Places pilot program provides “placemaking” grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 that improve the vitality of state designated downtowns, village centers, new town centers, or neighborhood development areas.
Eligible Applicants
Municipalities, local community groups, and nonprofit entities with documented municipal support may apply. Municipalities must partner with community groups and have a plan to involve the broader public. Nonprofits and community-based organizations must have permission from the property owners (city/town or private owner) where the project is proposed. Nonprofits must be registered with the Vermont Secretary of State. Community groups may use a fiscal sponsor and must abide by Vermont Community Foundation’s fiscal sponsor agreement.The Better Places partnership is a place-based economic development program that: 
•    Revitalizes and improves public spaces in support of local economic and community development efforts
•    Empowers residents to play an active role in shaping their communities, building social capital, and local pride
•    Supports local COVID-19 response and recovery efforts 
•    Advances “quick build” projects that boost confidence, builds partnerships and sparks momentum
•    Improves public health, reduces social isolation, and increases physical activity
•    Stimulates the creative economy and supports public art projects
Program Partners
The program is funded and supported by the Vermont Community Foundation, Vermont Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), Vermont Arts Council, National Life Group Foundation, and the Preservation Trust of Vermont. The program relies on the expertise and generous support of the Better Places Partners that include AARP Vermont, Local Motion, Vermont Department of Health, Vermont Agency of Transportation, and Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets.
Program Timeline
•    Notice of funds – December 9, 2020 
•    Grants Due – on January 22, 2021
•    Application review period – until February 12, 2021
•    Grant Awards announcement – week of February 15, 2021
•    Project completed – August 31, 2021
FAQs can be found HERE.

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Help Brattleboro Rewrite the Hazard Mitigation Plan
Brattleboro is re-writing its Hazard Mitigation Plan. The plan looks at what natural risks we face and how we can reduce natural hazards.
You can learn more and contribute your thoughts HERE

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DACA is Back: How to Prepare
DACA is back in full and DHS is accepting first time applicants again. If you’re an undocumented youth (or not so young anymore) and don’t know if you qualify to receive this protection, you can figure it out using the DACA application checklist.
But first, whether you find that you qualify or not, you should still consult a trusted lawyer or legal representative when deciding whether to apply and to review your application. This DACA application checklist is only meant as a guide and not as the final word on your qualification as an applicant. You can find the checklist and more information HERE.

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Seeking Participants for a Research Study Opportunity in Intimate Partner Violence 
This study is looking for women 18 years old and older, with experiences of intimate partner violence, who are willing to share their experiences and perspectives on navigating services in a rural area. 
Inquiries and participation are confidential.
This study includes a short questionnaire, a 60 minute audio recorded interview by phone or Zoom, and an opportunity for participation in a group interview.
If you are interested in participating, please contact Anna at 802-275-4505 (text or call) or [email protected]. 
Participants will be paid for their time.

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120 Birge Street Collective
The 120 Birge St.  collective is a group of local artist/musician/poets/builders etc that have been sharing a collective art/music space in one of the old Estey buildings. It has been a wild year; Winter is on it's way and although there are so many causes we all need to be giving to in this world, we could definitely use a bit of help to keep our space alive and come out the other side of this all ready to host and promote and foster and keep the lights and heat on! People can donate via Venmo @minions. Thanks for your consideration/support!

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Social Justice Resources

ROOT SOCIAL JUSTICE CENTER MUTUAL AID & SUPPORTIVE NETWORK
The Root Social Justice Center is collecting a list of contacts and resources to help support and assist with the needs of their Root community members. Join if you are in need or are able to help.

RURAL RACIAL JUSTICE ORGANIZING STUDY GROUP TOOLKIT FROM LOST RIVER RACIAL JUSTICE AND OUT IN THE OPEN
     Exciting new resource available to rural communities and beyond who are fighting for racial justice. Lost River Racial Justice and Out in the Open have put together this Rural Racial Justice Organizing Study Group Toolkit to support communities in running their own study groups.
Find the full toolkit on our website here: weareoutintheopen.org/zines--toolkits, link to PDF HERE.
     This toolkit was crafted and created in 2018 and revised after our 2019 Rural Racial Justice Organizing Study Group. The toolkit was created as an act of love by many individuals within our community and in collaboration with The Root Social Justice Center.
    We are releasing this resource now, in early Fall 2020, after years in the making, fueled from the global uprisings for Black Lives Matter and a global pandemic raging across the globe, which disproportionately impacts Black and Brown people. We continue to mourn the murders of Black trans folks, cis Black women, and cis Black men. We build on the collective outrage, and inspiration of global uprisings for Black Lives with the release of this toolkit to support continued organizing in rural communities and all communities.
     This is the long haul work. This Toolkit and Study Group are intended to take time and intention. In a moment where there is the call to action, for white people to do work in dismantling white supremacy, this Toolkit allows a framework for deep learning, conversation, and commitment to engage in rural racial justice work for the long haul, not just in a specific moment.
     We are sharing this widely as an invitation to use this toolkit as a framework and guideline for supporting the development organizing and continued education opportunities within your rural communities.

 

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COVID 19 RESOURCES: VERMONT

NEW COVID 19 STATEWIDE GUIDELINES  Effective Saturday, November 14th, 2020 at 10pm.

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December 11th, 2020 Update from Gov Scott
Vermonters should continue being cautious as cases remain high. Health Commissioner Mark Levine said at Friday’s press conference that it’s now been about two weeks since Thanksgiving, but so far, we have not seen a “surge on a surge” of COVID-19 cases.
“None of our recent contact tracing efforts have revealed clusters of cases coming from this holiday,” Dr. Levine said. “We hope this means that Vermonters either avoided Thanksgiving gatherings or kept them small... and we truly appreciate that.” However, said Dr. Levine, “these numbers are not something we should develop a new comfort level around.”
Our neighbors in the region continue to experience rising cases and positivity rates. Notably, the death this week from COVID-19 of the newly elected Speaker of the New Hampshire House of Representatives. In Vermont, we are still seeing more than 100 cases each day, affecting our schools, work sites and health care facilities, including long-term care facilities.
“There are simply more people with COVID-19 in our communities right now, and more potential for exposure,” Dr. Levine said. “We need to take that into account as we plan for and celebrate the holidays. As the CDC, and our current guidance says, staying home is still the best way to protect ourselves, our families and others right now.”
Find Opportunities to Support the COVID-19 Response
Human Services Secretary Mike Smith announced Friday a new website where Vermonters can step up and help with the COVID-19 response in long-term care facilities and other areas. Clinicians with additional capacity are especially needed – in either paid or volunteer roles, he said. But anyone including part-time workers, retirees, unemployed individuals, college students can help fill short-term gaps in the system caused by COVID-19 outbreaks. Visit https://www.vermont.gov/covid-staffing for more information.
Stay Informed with VT-ALERT
To help Vermonters stay up to date on the latest COVID guidance and information, Governor Scott today encouraged Vermonters to register for Vermont Alert (VT-ALERT), the State’s emergency notification system. “As COVID-19 continues to be prevalent in the state, Vermonters need convenient access to the information that will help keep themselves and their neighbors safe, and VT-ALERT is a great way to use existing infrastructure to get it out there,” said Governor Scott.
Since 2012, VT-ALERT has warned Vermonters of potential and imminent hazards. Vermonters can now use the system to receive important COVID-related updates, though VT- ALERT will not replace more comprehensive resources like healthvermont.gov or accd.vermont.gov. Vermont Emergency Management Director Erica Bornemann said “the system will send out important updates to the Governor’s Executive Order, and other announcements that will directly impact Vermonters.”
Vermonters can register for VT-ALERT by visiting www.vtalert.gov and selecting the alerts they would like to receive (COVID information is listed under “Health Alerts”). Current subscribers may update their notifications by visiting www.vtalert.gov. Notifications are available via email, text, phone and the Everbridge mobile app. Users may specify geographic areas for which they want to receive alerts (i.e. the town or county where they live or work).


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CURRENT COVID19 CASE INFORMATION

New cases: 113 (5,541 total) (+40 from last week)
Currently Hospitalized: 26 (+3)
Hospitalized in ICU: 5 (+2)
Hospitalized Under Investigation: 0 (-4)
Deaths: 93 (+16)

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COVID 19 VACCINE INFORMATION

Identifying Priority Groups

Based on what we know now, it is likely that the initial supply of COVID-19 vaccine will be limited, and will be distributed to states in phases, with early vaccine going to certain groups of people. Those groups may include:

  • people who provide direct care to others (for example, health care professionals)
  • people who are critical to the COVID-19 response (for example, people who work at COVID-19 testing sites, people who process COVID-19 specimens at laboratories)
  • people who are essential to maintaining a functional society (for example, first responders) 
  • older adults and people who have chronic illnesses and are at the highest risk for developing severe illness from COVID-19

We will look to recommendations from the National Academies(link is external) and the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices(link is external), and gather input from organizations and partners across Vermont, to determine what these groups will be in Vermont. 

Ensuring Equitable Access

When a COVID-19 vaccine is more widely available, we will work closely with the health care providers, pharmacies, and others who will provide the vaccine in Vermont, to ensure access across the state. We will also collaborate with community organizations and other partners to make sure people who are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, including Black, Indigenous and people of color, have equitable access to the vaccine.   

Sharing Information with Vermonters

We are committed to sharing ongoing updates with Vermonters as we make plans for vaccine distribution, and as we learn more about strategies at the national level. Below you will find our draft interim COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan for Vermont. For a quick look at the plan, read the executive summary. 

READ THE DRAFT INTERIM PLAN EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

READ THE FULL DRAFT INTERIM PLAN

 

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Vermont Covid 19 Arrearage Assistance Program
     Vermonters suffering economic hardship due to loss of income from COVID-19 can get help now to pay their arrearages (money owed) for residential and non-residential accounts. The Vermont COVID-19 Arrearage Assistance Program (VCAAP) provides financial support to customers who may face disconnection of service because of past-due balances for their electric, landline telephone, Vermont Gas, private water or water and sewer/wastewater charges.
     Note: the program has expanded and now accepts applications for help with municipal water and sewer/wastewater departments, community water systems, fire districts, and other systems that provide water and sewer/wastewater services to consumers.
     You must apply by December 15th, 2020. Grants will be awarded on a first come, first served basis until funding runs out or the program ends in December.
Funds for this program were made available through the federal CARES Act and the State of Vermont Coronavirus Relief Fund. There is limited funding. 
     Questions? The Department has prepared a Frequently Asked Questions. You can also call your utility to ask questions; contact your local Vermont Community Action Agency, or contact the Department's Consumer Affairs and Public Information (CAPI) Division at 1-800-622-4496, via email at [email protected], or through CAPI's online form.

 

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Money for Past-Due Rent in Vermont During the COVID-19 Crisis
If you need help paying your rent and you have a very low income, call 211. Otherwise, contact your landlord and apply together for the Rental Housing Stabilization Program.
For help with past-due rent, Vermonters should apply for the Rental Housing Stabilization Program through the Vermont State Housing Authority (VSHA). VSHA is accepting applications from landlords and tenants, and paying landlords directly to bring the tenant’s rent account current UNTIL DECEMBER 11th, 2020!! 
The program pays up to the VSHA payment standards. If the landlord wants payment, the landlord must agree to waive rent amounts in excess of the payment standard for all the months paid for. 
When the landlord accepts the money they have to promise to: 

  • drop any eviction 
  • not start a new eviction for the same number of months (up to six months) in the future as the money pays for
  • not raise the rent before January 1, 2021, or the end of your lease term — whichever is later, and 
  • make sure the unit is up to code in 30 days.

Important: VSHA has to have applications from both the landlord and the tenant. You should talk to your landlord and agree on the amount you owe. Make sure that amount is on both applications. Apply for this rent help on the VSHA website. If you need help with your landlord, an eviction, or applying for the rent help, contact us at Vermont Legal Aid.

 

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Free In-Home Covid19 Testing
sponsored by United Way of Windham County
People who are in need of a covid test and do not have transportation should call VT Public Transit at 802-442-0629 or toll free at 1-833-387-7200. VT Transit will contact your provider to confirm and get necessary info. They are using an ambulance service thru VT Department of Health which will do FREE IN-HOME testing and then transport your specimen to a local lab. VT Transit takes initial info and contacts the local EMS and VDH.

 

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Guidance for Returning College Students During Covid19

-If you are a college student coming home to Vermont for a break or holiday, you must quarantine for 14 days, once you arrive. If you have not had any symptoms of COVID-19, the quarantine period may be shortened by having a test on or after day 7 of quarantine, though you must continue to quarantine until you receive a negative test result.
-If you are a Vermonter picking up a student from an out-of-state college, you and the student will need to quarantine for 14 days when you come back to Vermont.
-If you have not had symptoms of COVID-19, you have the option to get a PCR test on day 7 and end your quarantine with a negative test result.
-It is recommended that the student quarantine separate from the family, use a different bathroom, eat separately and wear a mask inside.
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School and Child Care Guidance
Strong and Healthy Start: Safety and Health Guidance for Vermont Schools
Mental Health: A Strong and Healthy Start: Social, Emotional and Mental Health Supports During COVID-19
Child care: Health Guidance for Child Care and Out of School Care

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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESOURCES, DURING COVID 19:

What if you are isolated (or quarantined) with your abuser? Reach out for the help you need. Law enforcement is continuing to respond to calls. Hotlines and shelters will remain open. Contact the Vermont Network for more information about your local organization.

  • Vermont Network(link is external)
  • Vermont Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-228-7395
  • Vermont Sexual Violence Hotline: 800-489-7273
  • LGBTQ+ Survivor Support-line: 802-863-0003
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233
  • If you’re unable to speak safely: Log onto thehotline.org(link is external) or text LOVEIS to 22522
  • If you are in an emergency situation: Call 911

 

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Statewide Mutual Aid
organized by Brenda for Vermont
Localized Mutual Aid has been organized in Brattleboro and Putney and hyper local neighborhoods in Marlboro.  If your community does not have mutual aid or you can't find it, please sign up to volunteer or if you are in need of help.  All of us will likely be on the side of being able to help and needing help at times.  Please don't hesitate to ask for help.
Sign up here if you would like to help your neighbors or are in need of help:https://www.brendaforvermont.com/cms/help-your-neighbor/
The links below will take you directly to the mutual aid forms. 
To Volunteer: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfkRnbDKtNX_SacVaHWPyIAnsSXDGLsDMZE8vys25nzTgUo5A/viewform
If You Need Help: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfw7gg12KNq6n4s7SDUxf1ghMx-0MD3S0RCWQtxqmPTJQI8QA/viewform

 

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Online Religious Services

All Souls U.U. Sunday Services
Sunday Mornings at 10am. 
To get the current information on an upcoming service or vespers check the All Souls web page at www.ascvt.org.

 

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FREE HEALTHY AND NUTRITIOUS FOOD IN WINDHAM COUNTY

Brigid’s Kitchen, St. Michael’s Church, 47 Walnut Street, Brattleboro 802-254-6800 or 802-558-6072 
Grab-and-go lunches and fruit/nuts on Mon, Weds, Thus, and Sat, 11:30am-12:20pm.

Loaves and Fishes, Centre Congregational Church 193 Main Street, Brattleboro (802) 254-4730
Grab-and-go lunches on Tuesdays and Fridays at 12pm.

VT Foodbank and Veggie Van Go
will be at Brattleboro Union High School (Fairground Ave, Brattleboro, VT, 05301), in the parking lot, on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month, from 10am-11:30am. Drive up, touchless pickup. Walkers welcome, too. Call VT 211 for more information. 

Foodworks, the food shelf program of the Groundworks Collaborative https://groundworksvt.org (802) 490-2412, [email protected]ksVT.org 
Households in need of food are asked to call or email to coordinate delivery. There is an urgent need for volunteers, and Foodworks has set up protocols to keep staff, volunteers, and clients as safe as possible. Please email us at [email protected] if you are able to help.

Guilford Food Pantry 
Every Thursday at the BBCC (3940 Guilford Center Road, Guilford, VT, 05301). 5pm-6pm.
We know that supplemental food can make such a big difference in one's budget. That is why we are stocking our shelves for our neighbors. All are welcome to come and take home fresh produce, staples, meat, dairy. Guilford Cares welcomes anyone in need of supplemental food for themselves or their families.

NEW: “Everyone Eats!” Food Relief Program Information

If you have questions, contact Frances Huntley at [email protected]
What is this? Everyone Eats!, a food relief pilot program in Brattleboro, leverages federal relief funds to engage local restaurants in making to-go meals for anyone in Brattleboro, Guilford, Vernon, Dummerston, or Putney whose food security has been challenged by the COVID-19 crisis due to unemployment, underemployment, homelessness, and other financial challenges. With eight Brattleboro restaurants, Monday through Thursday, through December 30th, 2020.
When? Monday – Thursday 4pm-6pm
Where?  Individuals/households will be able to pick up meals in the parking lot of the Church Building on Flat Street on a first-come-first-served basis. Organizations will be able to pick up pre-ordered meals at Mama Sezz in West Brattleboro.
Who is eligible? Anyone whose food security has been challenged by the COVID-19 crisis due to unemployment, underemployment, homelessness, and other challenges to well-being who would get relief from receiving meals may participate.
For Individuals
When and where can I receive meals? Meal distribution for individuals is first-come-first-served. Pickup is from 4-6pm on weekdays Monday through Thursday in downtown Brattleboro (location TBA).
Is it free? All who would benefit from a meal are welcome to participate.
Can I give something back to help the program? There is no obligation to pay it back or forward. If what you have to offer in return is your thanks, that’s enough. But if you can share veggies from your garden, there will be a drop-off location on site for bagged or boxed contributions; as much as possible will be used in future meals. And if you would like to make a monetary contribution to help make more meals possible for others, it will be gratefully received. The base cost of each meal is $10 but any amount will be appreciated. Touch-free options for donation include Venmo, Paypal, mailing a check, or providing a donation at the time of pickup.
What will I receive? You will receive one individually packaged cold ready-to-eat or heat & serve dinner for each person you request a meal for.
Do you have vegetarian or vegan/GF options? Yes, you will request your meal choice at the time of pickup.
Is there a limit to how many meals I can get? You can request one meal per person per day for each person in your household. Please note that there is a limit to how many meals will be produced each day. We hope to serve everyone who makes a request but we cannot guarantee it. Meals will be first-come-first-served.
Can I pick up meals for another household? Yes, you can pick up meals for up to three households including your own.
Will my meals be hot or cold? Meals will be distributed cold, so if you are driving a distance, delivering to other households, or distributing through your organization, consider bringing a cooler if you can.
For Organizations
As a representative of an organization, can I request meals on behalf of my clients? Yes. We invite organizations to do bulk pickups for distribution to those they serve.
Is there a limit to how many meals I can pick up? No, but you will need to reserve meals in advance each week using this form.
What will I receive? You will receive individually packaged COLD ready-to-eat or heat & serve dinners for each person you are willing to distribute a meal to.
What options are available? You will choose how many of each type of meal (omnivore, vegetarian, vegan/GF) and which days you will pick up meals for distribution.
Who will be making the food? These meals are being made by independently-owned local restaurants.
Will I need to pick up our meals, or will you deliver to my location? You will need to pick up your requested meals and distribute them to your clients. We cannot deliver them to you.
When and where do I pick up my meals? Pickup for organizations is from 4pm-6pm on weekdays Monday through Thursday in West Brattleboro at Mama Sezz, 127 Marlboro Rd.
How do I request meals for bulk pickup? Organizations must submit their request forms two weeks before the first distribution week and one week before the second, third, and fourth distribution weeks. To get more information about participating and request a form for the first week, contact Frances Huntley at [email protected]
Will I receive a confirmation? After your meal request form is received, you will receive an automated email via Google Forms.
When do you need my form by? Meal request forms must be submitted by the Thursday prior to the week they are for (except for the first week, which must be submitted two weeks prior). You will need to submit a new form each week. If you have already received meals in a prior week, you will receive an email reminder for later weeks.

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Food Discount Programs

Food Resources at Brattleboro Food Coop 
Our Shareholder Assistance Grant supports community members who could not otherwise afford to be a Shareholder at the Co-op. It covers $60 of the $80 cost of a Brattleboro Co-op Share. By joining the Co-op and paying the remaining $20 over the course of a year, a community member can enjoy all the benefits of being a Co-op Shareholder and qualify for our 10% Food for All discount. https://www.brattleborofoodcoop.coop/join/become-a-shareholder/shareholder-assistance-grant/

Food for All is our needs-based discount program. It gives eligible Shareholders a 10% discount on all food at the Co-op, with a few exceptions (such as alcohol). Food for All can apply to anyone that fits the criteria - WIC, 3 Squares Vermont, SSI, EBT, referral letter from a local organization. https://www.brattleborofoodcoop.coop/shop/food-for-all-program/ 

Contact the Shareholder Services department at the Brattleboro Food Co-op for assistance at 802-246-2821 or [email protected]

 

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Vermont WIC is Responding to Covid 19
We are moving to phone appointments to align with social distancing efforts. If you have opted in to email and text notifications, you will receive important program updates, including information about local office hours and changes in operations. Our website will be kept up-to-date as well. Contact your local office with any questions about breastfeeding, nutrition or shopping. Call 1-800-649-4357 or email [email protected] with any questions about WIC nutrition services and enrollment.

P-EBT (Pandemic EBT) is Available in VT
Many families in Vermont were notified that they would be receiving a food benefit called Pandemic EBT (or P-EBT). P-EBT is loaded on a card and can be used to purchase the groceries at many grocers and farmers markets. If you have school-aged kids, contact your school district to apply for free school meals. If approved, you'll automatically receive P-EBT. 
If you’ve already received P-EBT and also participate in WIC, use your WIC benefits first, as WIC benefits do not rollover month-to-month. dcf.vermont.gov/press-releases/P-EBT

 

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Business Grants Available

SEVCA Microbusiness Grants Available
Grants are available for microbusinesses impacted by COVID19. Eligible business owners may apply for grant up to $5000 through the EMBRACE micro business direct grant program. More information is available at  https://sevca.org/economic-development/micro-business-development, or you may contact Denise Mason, Director of Economic Development, [email protected] or 800-464-9951.

 

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ADDITIONAL COVID 19 RESOURCES CAN BE FOUND AT THEIR PERMANENT HOME ON OUR WEBSITE, HERE: https://www.wecantogether.net/covid19_resources

 

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RESOURCE FOR WeCAN

Rapid Response Text Alert System

When WeCAN began, Song & Solidarity set up a Rapid Response Text Alert System for WeCAN Groups. Directions for signing up are on WeCAN's website, here: https://www.wecantogether.net/rapid_response. We are grateful to Song and Solidarity for providing this service.

  

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ONGOING EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMMING 

Indigo Radio
Sundays at 12pm on Brattleboro Community Radio 107.7FM. To stream live, visit: www.wvew.org 
Indigo Radio, deepening understanding and making connections! IndigoRadio is a group of area educators seeking to learn through engaging with others in our community and throughout the world. We will be talking about educational and social issues both globally and locally and connecting them to our lives and Brattleboro community. Find us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/indigoradiowvew/. For archive recordings of past shows: https://soundcloud.com/user-654648353

 

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     We would like to take this moment to wish all that celebrate a very Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays! Stay warm, stay safe, and stay involved, Friends. Until next week...

Your Friendly WeCAN Admins,

Joanna and Sam