Here’s how you can volunteer, donate to help COVID-19 relief in Vermont

People across Vermont are stepping up to support one another, from bakeries donating bread for seniors to tailors crafting face masks for health care workers

While Vermonters are being advised to practice social distancing and observe the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order, there are still opportunities for people to get involved.

If you are looking for ways to to help out in some way but are unsure where to begin, you can start with these relief funds and efforts organized by Vermont nonprofit organizations.

Volunteering with Meals on Wheels

Age Well, one of five state agencies dedicated to supporting aging Vermonters, is seeking volunteers to deliver meals through the Meals on Wheelsprogram, as well as to shop for groceries and other essentials seniors may need. 

Within its coverage area of northwest Vermont, areas with the greatest need for Meals on Wheels volunteers include Burlington, St. Albans and northern Franklin County, and Grand Isle County. 

Those interested can contact Erica Marks, director of Volunteer Services at Age Well, at (802) 662-5249 or emarks@agewellvt.org.

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What to donate to help against COVID-19

State government is seeking donations of medical supplies and facility space toward the State of Vermont COVID-19 response.

An online form allows Vermont companies and organizations to provide those critical resources. Other donations can be referred to local town officials or the nearest Vermont State Police barracks.

The Committee on Temporary Shelter has partnered with Vermont Coffee Company as they seek food, shelter and sanitation supplies for their emergency shelters. The coffee company will match all donations up to $25,000.

While volunteering has been suspended for the time being, the shelter is seeking donations to help purchase cleaning supplies, cover rent payments and transportation, or provide a hot meal to a guest at their drop-in shelter. 

ANEW Place has set up campers at North Beach Campground for people experiencing homelessness during the pandemic. The non-profit is accepting pre-packaged meals from local residents and restaurants to be dropped off at the campground.

Blood centers across the nation have seen a drop in blood donations since the COVID-19 pandemic, with many drives canceled in the last several weeks. 

The American Red Cross is hoping healthy residents will still consider giving blood if they are able to. 

Local blood donation centers can be found via the Red Cross website

The Vermont Food Bank has started a COVID-19 Hunger Relief Fund to support food assistance and meal distribution services across the state.

“Not everyone has the financial stability to stock up on the two weeks of food needed for quarantine,” reads a statement on the donation page. 

Of the 215 food shelves partnered with the Food Bank, many have shifted toward providing pre-packaged groceries and meals for customers. 

Donations can also be made directly to local food shelves such as Feeding Chittenden or the South Burlington Food Shelf

Dairy farmers who become sick with COVID-19 and are unable to work will benefit from the COVID-19 Response Fund from the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont. 

In addition, funding will go toward paying for farm shares for low-income Vermonters seeking access to subsidized CSAs. 

This story will be updated.

Contact Ethan Bakuli at (802) 556-1804 or ebakuli@freepressmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @BakuliEthan.

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