Friday, September 2, 2011

After Irene: Pulling Together, Pushing Ahead

Drove to a village south of here this bright morning with bags of clothing and bedding for a flood relief effort that a young woman organized, with the help of Facebook, seemingly overnight. Along the sides of the two-lane highway the yards and meadows close to the  Battenkill river were covered in a gray coat of mud.  Up in the trees, however, untouched by Irene, the autumnal Vermont extravaganza was getting underway.

When we arrived, big tents had been set up in front of one of the churches in the center of town, and an army of women were taking in and sorting through boxes and bags and crates of donated stuff--shoes and sheets, freshly-picked chard, plastic bottles full of some kind of bright-red juice, winter coats.  They wore t-shirts with "Volunteer" printed in big red letters (where did they get those so fast?), and they looked like they knew exactly what they were doing.  At a certain point during the day they would stop accepting donations and then the "customers" would arrive.  I hope everybody finds at least something they can use.

In the village of Pawlet, the annual Art on the Green fair is taking place tomorrow.  Taking advantage of the event, our business-savvy Lampshade Lady (click here to see her website) has organized a silent auction to benefit local families in need. When I stopped by with my contribution, her tiny shop was filling with donations.

Micro-events such as these are taking place all over the state, and I wish I could contribute something to each of them.  I also wish that Irene had been fairer and distributed her damage more evenly.  I would gladly have put up with a couple of days without power in exchange for sparing some farmer's pumpkin crop.  Instead, we didn't suffer so much as a fallen tree branch, whereas others lost everything.

Wherever you are, if you would like to ease the plight of a hard-hit Vermonter, you can make a donation by clicking on www.redcross.org/Hurricane_Irene  Thanks!

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