Brattleboro, VT — United Way of Windham County has released funds in the amount of $90,322, via a Vermont Department of Health Grant, to 11 area organizations in support of the Collaborative Care Package Project. The participating organizations are: The AIDS Project of Southern Vermont, The Brattleboro Community Justice Center, Brooks Memorial Library, Community Asylum Seekers Project, Deerfield Valley Community Partnership, Elnu Abenaki, Greater Falls Connections, Out in the Open, The Root Social Justice Center, The Susu Healing Collective, United Way of Windham County, and West River Valley Thrives.
HB Lozito, Executive Director of Out in the Open says of the project: “we want to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19, both those that are direct and indirect, on our most impacted community members—those who are rural, BIPOC, and/or LGBTQ+ by offering care packages that are supportive of people’s whole selves and families. Our goal is to source as many of these items from locally-owned, BIPOC-owned, LGBTQ+-owned businesses as possible. We are happy to live in an area so abundant with local producers!”
Rich Holschuh shares, “Elnu Abenaki are happy to join in this supportive local opportunity, recognizing that we share common challenges with other area advocacy groups. This program will enable Elnu to better support both the well-being of our own People and that of the larger community of which we are a part. Kchi wliwni – with great thanks!”
The items and experiences included in the care packages fall into two categories aimed at improving and maintaining both physical and mental health and wellness: direct COVID prevention and connection to self and community.
Meg Gonzalez, director of West River Valley Thrives, says, “ [we are] thrilled to be a part of this County-wide effort to get much-needed supplies into the hands of our most vulnerable populations. Thanks to the support of Windham County United Way, Thrives will be able to provide 50 families in our service area with basics many of us take for granted such asthermometers and masks, while reminding them that we are here and we care. ”
Packages will go out to over 1300 individuals, including all currently incarcerated people at the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, Vermont.
Approximately two-thirds of the released funds are staying in Windham County. First, by supporting the labor of BIPOC individuals at the organizations working on this project. Secondly, by purchasing items for the packages from Vermont- and Windham County-based businesses including: Antidote Books, Darn Tough, Everyone’s Books, Megan Ray Baehr, Shapeshifters, The Susu CommUNITY Farm, Tiny Pony Apothecary, Warp | Weft, and others.
The SUSU CommUNITY Farm says of the project: “[we are] honored to have the opportunity to express our collective care for our rural BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ community with the support of United Way of Windham County, in collaboration with local Windham County organizations and businesses. We are lovingly crafting care boxes for our beloved community members. We hope our offerings connect folx to their innate beauty and worthiness and reduce the isolating and harmful impacts of systemic oppression and COVID.”
Out in the Open connects rural LGBTQ people to build community, visibility, knowledge and power. Learn more about Out in the Open at weareoutintheopen.org .
Since 1958, United Way of Windham County has improved lives and built stronger communities by focusing on Health, Opportunity, Prosperity, and Education – HOPE. We unite individuals, businesses, and organizations to create long-lasting, measurable change. More about United Way of Windham County at unitedwaywindham.org.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
December 21, 2020
HB Lozito Out in the Open
Ruben Garza United Way of Windham County