By Guy Page
The State of Vermont, non-profit, and religious organizations are busy in Barre feeding and housing people and helping restore to habitability many homes damaged by flooding last week.
At the forefront of the church-related efforts is Dan Molind, pastor of Enough Ministries in Barre and the New England Director of the Southen Baptist Disaster Relief. SBDR is one of the nation’s Big Three disaster relief organizations, along with the Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
Locally, Enough has operated an active food shelf and street ministry for many years. Due to the church’s “street cred” with both Barre residents and city government, Molind and his volunteers were poised to take a leadership role in recovery efforts based in the Barre Auditorium.
In addition to a small army of volunteers sourced from Washington County Churches, Molind’s on-the-ground team in Barre includes trained SBDR residential remediation workers. Yesterday, they mobilized to provide 1000 meals to people unable to cook for themselves – a serious problem in Barre given the ongoing “boil water” notice and uninhabitable homes, many closed restaurants, and difficult access to grocery stories.
Enough Ministries has two new dedicated phone numbers: Enough Donations and Volunteer Hotline: 802-661-8787, and the Enough Team Leader on Duty: 802-661-8714. Ongoing needs for flood recovery supplies and volunteers are posted on the church Facebook Page.
Samaritan’s Purse, another large faith-based relief group, is scheduled to set up shop on the grounds of the Barre Granite Museum on Rte. 302.
Other volunteers observed handing out food and water and generally lending a hand in downtown Barre this weekend were affiliated with an LGBTQ group, organized labor, and others.
Sunday afternoon in Montpelier, food and water were available to needy residents at tables set up on the State House lawn by organizers of Christian musician Sean Feucht’s 50 State Capital tour. Although the rains graciously held off during the music, worship and prayer time, access to the State House grounds were limited after police posted barriers on both sides of State Street – in an apparent attempt to limit parking and vehicular access.
On Monday morning, the city police posted on Facebook: “Please avoid the downtown area and keep the area clear of unnecessary vehicles. There is significant debris, foot traffic, and heavy equipment present, in addition to other hazards. Main Street remains closed to through traffic between Barre Street and School Street. State Street is closed to through traffic between Main Street and Bailey Avenue. Elm Street is closed to through traffic between State Street and School Street. The street closures apply only to vehicle traffic.”
The State of Vermont is running Multi-Agency Resource Centers (MARCs) in Barre and also Ludlow and Johnson to help survivors of this week’s floods navigate the recovery process. These centers are open to all residents from throughout the region and will be open from 9-5. These are the first of several sites the state will operate in the coming days in additional areas of the state. Locations:
Ludlow – Community Center 37 Main St Ludlow
Barre – BOR/Auditorium 16 Auditorium Hill, Barre
Johnson Elementary School 57 College Hill, Johnson
Additional sites will be added in Londonderry and Woodstock on Tuesday, with more opening throughout the week.
MARCs serve as one location where public and private organizations come together to help those affected by disaster. Several state and non-profit agencies involved in individual disaster recovery will be present to answer questions and guide visitors to appropriate services. MARCs provide:
• Meal and water from the Red Cross
• Cleaning kits
• Assistance finding recovery resources
• Mental health services
• Basic medical services
For future locations monitor the Vermont Emergency Management social media channels.