In a rural state like Vermont many Vermonters lack access to reliable transportation to meet even their most basic needs. And, in the Mad River Valley it’s no exception – travel can be tough.
With funding from the Mad River Valley Community Fund, the Mad River Valley Interfaith Council is partnering with Capstone Community Action to bring both resources and opportunities to area residents.
“The Community Fund believes that by making it possible for Capstone to staff an office in the Mad River Valley we can help break the cycle of need and get to the root of the emergency situations that we see month after month. Housing, nutrition and transportation are reoccurring themes,” said Jon Jamieson, the fund’s board president. “Capstone has the depth of resources and experience to give the hand up that our neighbors need.”
“We are incredibly excited about this partnership,” said Eileen Nooney, a Fayston resident and Capstone’s director of Family and Community Support Services.
“Currently, Valley residents have to travel either to our Morrisville or Barre office for services and for many folks that distance has created a real hardship,” she said.
Capstone’s new part-time outreach office at the Mad River Valley Senior Center at Evergreen Place on Main Street in Waitsfield will open for business in early 2016. Capstone will station a community resource coordinator there for 20 hours per week. The coordinator will work with Valley residents with housing, emergency fuel, food (3SquaresVT) and transportation issues. Further, using Capstone’s integrated service model, the coordinator will also connect residents with Capstone’s weatherization, financial capability, micro business enterprise development, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Head Start programs.
The coordinator will also develop local partnerships to help residents connect with other resources available within the Mad River Valley.
“It became clear that in order to make a real and lasting difference in the lives of the most vulnerable of our neighbors in the Mad River Valley we would need to bring in additional resources,” said Rev. Steve Young. “By establishing the MadCap Community Outreach Office in partnership with Capstone, the interfaith council and the community fund hope to go from the repetitive cycle of immediate crisis management to a more comprehensive strategy of intervention that would bring lasting change and hope.”
“Our new presence in The Valley represents the best of community engagement with the faith community and community members coming together with us to greatly increase access of Mad River residents and families to our comprehensive array of individual and family resources,” said Capstone executive director Dan H. Hoxworth. “We are truly excited to augment our ongoing partnership with the Mad River community and look forward to continuing to explore ways Capstone and our dedicated and talented staff can improve the lives and well-being of Mad River Valley residents.”
Capstone Community Action was founded in 1965 with the national War on Poverty and is part of a national network of community action programs to alleviate the suffering caused by poverty and to create economic opportunity for people and communities with limited resources. Capstone’s programs include food shelves, emergency fuel and utility assistance, housing counseling and homelessness prevention, transportation assistance, workforce development, community economic development, home weatherization, and Head Start and Early Head Start (www.capstonevt.org).
The Mad River Valley Community Fund was established in 1989 to provide interim and confidential assistance to those community residents who need help but whose needs are not covered by existing assistance programs. The fund is supported by generous individual donations and several annual events organized by community members (www.mrvcommunityfund.org).
The Mad River Valley Interfaith Council strives to assist people in emergency situations through limited financial grants and guidance. Those in need of assistance can contact any of the Valley churches or faith leaders for guidance as to what services and assistance can be offered in a specific situation. The council operates the Valley Food Shelf and Food Commodities program located in the basement of Evergreen Place in Waitsfield (http://waitsfieldchurch.org/missions/interfaith-council).