Our community has a knack for coming together in support and friendship during times of crisis. We saw it happen in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene, and we’re seeing it again during the current COVID-19 pandemic.
In late March, 19 volunteers joined forces to help those in greatest need in our community. They created the Woodstock Area Relief Fund: COVID-19 (WARF), a program that provides financial assistance to residents of the Windsor Central Supervisory Union who are unable to meet their basic household needs (for food, shelter, and medicine) due to the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
“This crisis is like no other in our lifetimes—everyone’s lives are affected, whether you have symptoms, have been exposed to the virus, or are simply healthy and staying at home,” WARF organizers said in a recent letter. “In a small town like Woodstock, imagine the challenges faced by a neighbor who on top of all this must worry about feeding their children or being able to afford medicine to keep them healthy.”
WARF is administered by Woodstock Community Trust, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, and is funded mainly by private contributions. Nearly one-quarter of donations are from out-of-staters who care deeply about the Woodstock community.
In just over a week, the fund has collected more than $150,000 in donations, has received 76 grant applications, and has awarded more than $35,000 to families in all seven WCSU towns to help with basic household needs. Assistance packages of up to $1,000 are available immediately for food, medical needs, and shelter.
Organizers emphasize that no gift is too small or too large. Every donation makes a difference.
“We hope this fund will allow our community to emerge from this crisis with strength and resiliency,” said State Representative Charlie Kimbell, the group’s spokesperson. Along with providing immediate financial relief, the fund anticipates aid that will be needed when other assistance programs have been exhausted.