Tuesday 09/13/2011 by ericwyman


It goes without saying that with Phish's benefit concert coming up on Wednesday in Essex Junction, all eyes in the Phish community will be squarely on the flood ravaged state. If you purchased a ticket to the show, pre-ordered the webcast or made a donation to The Waterwheel Foundation, take pride in the fact that you have indeed already helped the people affected by Hurricane Irene in Vermont. Only a mere two and a half weeks since Irene ran its path through central New England most Vermonters are still busy cleaning up. The funds raised by Phish will be massive and go a long way over the long haul finding its way into the hands of various Vermont organizations helping in relief efforts. Recovery from this storm will take months, not weeks. That being said the state is already showing signs of rebuilding with business and community resources coming together and getting people and places back on their feet.

If you're heading up to Vermont on Wednesday and are interested in taking the extra step and helping just a little bit more, there are ways through very small commitments of money and time that you CAN make an additional difference.

I spoke directly last night with Matt Sisto of the grassroots organization #VTresponse. He explained how relief and clean up efforts are still very much "day-to-day", focusing on the areas and sites that need the most attention as they come. He and his crew of volunteers are hard at work utilizing the generous resources from people in Vermont and beyond. So while you might not be able to get organized into helping clean up waterlogged areas (if you wanted to stay the rest of the week, I bet they'd find a spot for you though) there are small things that can go a long way to work that is being done RIGHT NOW.

There was a fantastic blog post on #VTresponse just yesterday about ways you can help with just $15 and 15 minutes. Matt explained how the everyday supplies that are needed for cleaning up are so valuable to have and distribute when new folks show up to aid in the effort. Especially useful items include N95 dust masks or even something as simple as a bunch of work gloves would be put to use immediately and save volunteers time spent shopping for supplies.

If there's one thing I've learned at all of the Phish shows I've attended, it's that underneath the party there's a group of really, really good hearted people who care about the people and places they visit. It may not be the story that runs every time the band comes to town, but I know that it's there.

If you'd like to donate the mentioned items there are easy drop locations directly in Burlington and in White River Junction if you are traveling up from the south.

Upper Valley Haven
713 Hartford Ave, White River Junction, VT
8:30 am to 4pm

http://g.co/maps/b8cjg (map)

Indigo Salon
189 Battery St, Burlington, VT

http://g.co/maps/cmfq9 (map)

But let's not forget about all the other areas affected by recent storms, including PA, NY, NJ, CT and wildfires burning in the western part of the country. Be proactive and do your part no matter where you live or if there's a concert going on. Any day in any city you can contact your local American Red Cross where you can donate time, supplies or even with blood donations to help make this world a better place.

Have fun in Vermont! Be sure to say hi!

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, comment by tmwsiy
tmwsiy Great suggestions. I will head to Home Depot today and get masks & gloves prior to heading North. There were a bunch of great suggestions on the #VTResponse site. I hadn't even though about bundling up old clothes and bringing for Goodwill/Salvation Army. Everyone should be able to do that.

Here's the rest:

*Buy N95 masks to donate to one of our donation locations
*Buy non-perishable foodstuffs to donate to Vermont foodbanks
*Text FOODNOW to 52000 to donate $10 to the Vermont Foodbank.
*Donate to VT Irene Fund or to one of the affected communities
*Support your local businesses!
*Donate clothes to the Salvation Army and Goodwill
*Buy a saw, a crowbar, a pair of gloves and bring them to a drop location

, comment by barefootbob
barefootbob Thank you for the research and information. Aside from the webcast, I will look into Matt's volunteer team to give a bit more. And you are right, we do care about the communities, before and after the Phish are gone.

Thanks again for the info
, comment by drshaws
drshaws Awesome to hear. I'll definitely allow some extra time to drop off some goods, and perhaps have enough time to really volunteer, on the drive up from MA.
, comment by sanitynevercame
, comment by freeword
freeword Great post! I have heard that the sites are overloaded with clothing donations - and really need the cleaning supplies. I am sure you can imagine what it might take to clean up after water filled your house. Bleach and buckets and gloves and masks.
, comment by smoothatonalsnd
smoothatonalsnd This is a great blog post, and is so much more positive than that trash that was written on the Seven Days blog. I'm personally honored to be part of a fanbase who, for no reason other than that our favorite band is from Vermont, have donated so much to helping the state when they need it most.
, comment by forbin1
forbin1 this is a great post...as I am unable to make it to the benefit show...I have some clothes that I can certainly donate to the salvation army...
, comment by RunawayJim
RunawayJim Instead of booking a room in a chain hotel, I'm staying in a small local motel, keeping all the money I spend on my room in state. I plan on stopping by a few breweries along the way and picking up a couple growlers. I plan on eating in local restaurants. These are all things I do when I travel. It supports the local economy in places that generally have a poor economy to begin with and depend on tourist dollars.

So for those of you making the trek up to Essex... skip the chain restaurants and hotels. You'll probably find better service and a more unique experience in the locally owned places.

I don't know if I'll have time to stop by a Home Depot or not, but if I do, I will.
, comment by vt2lachris
vt2lachris I live in southern Vermont and my jobs keep me on the roads here a lot! I have seen so much of the devistation in communities large and small, from Brattleboro and Killington to Londonderry, Jamaica, Townshend, and Saxtons River (to name a few). People have lost homes, farms, land, roads, bridges and driveways, and in some cases lives. Donations of all types are AWESOME, but what a lot of people really need right now is money. Single farms lost $100,000 in crops and had land and soil washed away so that future planting may not be an option. Over 300 Vermont homes were destroyed or severely damaged. Families are paying mortgages on non-existing homes, renting places until they have a place to live, preparing for winter a few short months away. It's difficult to know where to donate as individuals and how. Foodbanks are important, clothes and supplies too, but nothing works like the almighty dollar. I just thank everyone and every event that can and are helping. Keep up the good fight! I am VT strong!
If anyone is sticking around for the weekend The Running Bear Camping Area in Ascutney, Vermont has a great local festival - $5 gets you in.
http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=118077128293379 /> "On Saturday, Sept 17, 2011 there will be an all day FAMILY FRIENDLY event at RBCA. All proceeds for the event will be given to theAmerican Red Cross Vermont & The New Hampshire Valley. Locals bands will be playing through out the day, Second Wind, Generations Collide, Shana Stack Band, Wise Guys, 5X Wicked, RoadHouse, Please Don't Tell, Pulse, Spectris and No Smoking. There will be food sales, a chinese auction, raffles, horseshoe tournament, t-shirt sales, childrens activities, etc. $5.00 entry fee for adults children under 12 FREE."
, comment by ericwyman
ericwyman @vt2lachris said:

If anyone is sticking around for the weekend The Running Bear Camping Area in Ascutney, Vermont has a great local festival - $5 gets you in.
http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=118077128293379[/quote] />
We have a house off Weathersfield Center Road and will be over there this weekend. Hope to stop by this event. Thanks for the info!
, comment by robertchampion
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