Flood Response Update
Our community has shown again and again that Vermonters have what it takes to overcome our greatest challenges. The way we have seen neighbors helping neighbors in the wake of July’s catastrophic flooding is more evidence of what we can accomplish when we are united in purpose.
With help from supporters like you, United Way of Northwest Vermont has been able to raise funds and mobilize resources – alongside the other United Ways in Vermont – in a coordinated effort to ensure Vermonters get the help they need to respond, recover, and rebuild.
Here’s an update on what we’ve done so far related to flood relief and response and what our next steps will be:
Understanding the need
We reached out to our funded partners who are on the front lines every day delivering critical services in our community and asked if they needed funds or volunteers to help people affected by flooding.
We also immediately connected with leaders from the other United Ways in the state to share information and coordinate response efforts.
Common Good Vermont, which supports Vermont’s entire nonprofit sector, reached out asking nonprofits statewide to share their stories.
Connecting Vermonters to help & resources
In coordination with our programs and other United Ways we created a Vermont Flood Response Information webpage with ways to get help and give help. Our United Way has remained committed to making sure that philanthropic resources are directed to the communities, organizations, and people most impacted. Through extensive coordination with local United Ways across the state we have leveraged the power of our local network and state-wide capacity.
Early on, we heard from colleagues and partners about an urgent need for mental health resources for those impacted by the disaster. Our Mental Health Initiative quickly assembled this guide: Mental Health Resources for 2023 Vermont Flood.
Common Good Vermont has been compiling resources and information for nonprofits and advocating at the state and federal level to ensure nonprofit organizations can access critical funding.
United Way Working Bridges Resource Coordinators have been working directly with employees, students, and communities to get them connected to the resources needed immediately following the disaster and in the coming weeks and months.
United Flood Relief Fund
Thanks to generous individual donors and businesses, United Way of Northwest Vermont has raised over $75,000 for flood relief and we will begin granting out funds this week to organizations who are able to assist our fellow Vermonters most impacted by the disaster.
We are grateful to the many generous community members and corporate partners like Viatris, UVM Athletics, The EDGE and the Lake Monsters for making this funding possible!
Here are the grants we’ll be making thanks to your support:
- $10,000 to Vermont 211 to support operations and essential resource coordination. Vermont 211 has been inundated with calls, texts, and emails since flooding began and their staff has been working overtime to respond to a wide variety of critical needs. Vermont 211 plays a crucial role connecting Vermonters to resources all year long and especially during times of crisis.
- $45,000 to those communities hardest hit in Lamoille, Rutland, and Washington Counties to increase the capacity of local United Ways and partner organizations directly serving those areas. Funds will support resource coordination, outreach, and connection to rural and underserved communities.
- $10,000 to support food security. The biggest impact we’ve seen from flooding in Northwest Vermont has been devastation of some local farms and food systems. There is particular concern for food insecurity impacts on aging, diverse, low-income communities due to the effects on the summer harvest. Funds will support the efforts of three organizations who serve these communities:
»HANDS Diverse Pantry: About 100 of AALV’s New Farms for New Americans family garden sites were destroyed. The flooding means that they won’t be able to grow their own fresh, culturally familiar vegetables. HANDS’ Diverse Pantry seasonal grocery program started just a few days after the massive floods. HANDS is working to get healthy food to the older adults who have lost so much.
»Healthy Roots Collaborative (HRC): HRC is a regional food systems program supporting the growers, producers, and consumers in Franklin and Grand Isle County. HRC purchases food directly from local farmers, some of whom have been impacted by flooding, that they then distribute through Migrant Household Food Boxes, Northwest Farmacy CSA, stocking mini-fridges located at 8 NOTCH clinic sites and through regular distribution to food shelves and community centers throughout Franklin & Grand Isle Counties.
»Intervale Center: Supporting a diverse group of farms and small businesses the Intervale also plays a critical role in combating food insecurity through programs like Fair Share, a weekly CSA-style selection of free produce and gleaming programs that were impacted.
We know the disaster exacerbated existing issues like mental health crises and the loss of already limited housing availability. United Ways remain committed to working on these and other structural issues that existed before the flood.
Thanks to supporters like you, United Way is here when disaster strikes. More importantly, we are here all year round mobilizing the community to do the work no single organization can do alone. With your support, we are closing gaps and making change possible so everyone in our community has the support they need to thrive.