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Ghost of Midnight

… about neighbors, community and Front Porch Forum

A Little Humor During Hard Times

As our communities are adjusting to follow health guidelines and practice social distancing and self isolation measures, FPF members are sharing the positives. Here’s a great idea for finding the fun and the humor in our new and emerging routines:

I suggest a fun “contest” similar to the 5-words thing as an amusement during our self isolation: Unanticipated consequences of self-isolation. 

To get the ball rolling, I offer three:

  1. Skinny dogs (lots of extra walks)
  2. More people with long hair or bad haircuts (no salons/barber shops)
  3. Exponential increase in family counseling (via Zoom of course) due to long-term sharing of close-quarters.

I imagine there are many, many more.”  • Don M. in Burlington, Vt.

Have you experienced any funny or positive unanticipated consequences of social distancing? Join in the fun and share them on your Front Porch Forum today!


Going on a Bear Hunt

“This just makes me so happy. My @frontporchforum has never seen this much action.” • Whitney in Burlington

Front Porch Forum members are creating local scavenger hunts. The popular “Bear Hunt” is fun for kids. Neighbors put teddy bears (and other stuffed animals) in their own windows for children to spot when they walk or ride around their neighborhoods. 

“Would folks like to create a bear hunt? We will definitely have some bears in our windows and are curious if other neighbors would like to join in the “hunt”.  Members of a number of communities across the globe are placing teddy bears and other stuffed animals in their homes’ windows to create a scavenger hunt-esque activity for kids who are stuck at home. While taking walks or drives around the neighborhood with their parents, kids in participating communities can have some fun by keeping an eye out for any number of stuffed animals that have been put on display at other houses.”  • Judy in Burlington

Start one in your neighborhood with a post on FPF!


FPF celebrates two decades of service

Sunday, March 29, 2020, marked the 20th year of Front Porch Forum providing a means for helping neighbors connect.  It’s been our mission ever since and it’s never felt more meaningful than now.  Here’s how one of those first FPF members from Burlington’s Five Sisters neighborhood reacted:

“Look what I got in the mail today.

You opened this Front Porch Forum account 20 years ago TODAY. Happy anniversary! Thank you for being an important part of connecting neighbors and building community.

Impossible to have lived life without FPF!  I have found help with my biz… I have an annual Caroling with Carolyn on Caroline St. and people from all over the neighborhood join us each December. New wonderful friendships have developed because of FPF. We are all so lucky to have this incredible resource.”
• Carolyn in Burlington



Sharing is Caring!

Supply shortages and photos of bare shelves have been all over the news and social media platforms over the last couple of weeks. Many Front Porch Forum members have taken to their neighborhood forums to share what they can with neighbors in need of this and that. See some inspiring and generous posts below!

 

“I appreciate so much all the offers to help in our community. Please try to use the Waterbury Good Neighbor Fund and our Food Shelf as central well-connected mechanisms to help the most people. Another way to help is by buying gift certificates for businesses that are likely to have to close or slow down (though recognize that just spreads out the loss of business). I’d suggest if you are in a position to tip heavily to your local and beloved businesses as appropriate, please do. They have been there for our community, and they are entering a time of massive uncertainty. Another way to help is to donate blood. Most organized blood drives will be closed for concerns of congregating too many folks. If you are healthy (and bored), and can make your way to a donation center, that will be super helpful to our medical system as this pandemic progresses. Covid patients don’t usually need blood products but we will still see the baseline cases of trauma, etc that will need blood and with drives closed we will run out quickly. Science/math-based models suggest this virus will be hitting peak numbers in VT during May/June. We have a little time to get ready. Please settle in for the marathon ahead. I’d welcome any 1000 piece plus puzzles folks have to share! :)” • Amy O. in Waterbury, Vt.

 

Been having fun making tiny bottles of hand sanitizer. For those days when you’re out and about and can’t get easily to a sink and soap. Have placed some in a basket on my front stoop. When the weather is fair-ish. Please feel free to take one.

I’m using 90% alcohol that dilutes down a bit when mixed with aloe vera gel, but still should be super strong. Hand sanitizer kills the virus but doesn’t wash it away. Soap and water are still best for that.

If you have any small bottles, ie the travel sizes, that’s the choke point in the Sue’s Sanitizer pipeline, so it would be most kindly appreciated if you drop them into the same basket.” • Sue S. in Burlington, Vt.

 

“I too would love to offer support as its needed….I am a naturopathic physician, and one thing i can offer is herbal medicine, specifically antiviral tincture which is a boost to the immune system and proactive and protective against viral infection in these trying times. Please get in touch if you would like some to be dropped to your home, if you are in need…(Until it runs out;) Also if you are elderly or at risk and you need extra support in the form of grocery runs or anything like that i can be of service.

Much love in this time of physical distancing! I too cannot wait until the time i can hug my loved ones;)” Casey E. in Middlesex, Vt.

Do you have items, talents, or ideas you are able to share? Or are you in need of something specific? Reach out to your neighbors on FPF today! We’re all in this together.



Nourishing Our Communities

Despite competitive grocery shopping and items running out, countless establishments and community members have stepped up to ensure their communities are nourished during the COVID-19 crisis. Here are some posts from FPF members that may fill your hearts and your bellies:

“When the second Gulf War began in Iraq in the Spring of 2003 and Baghdad was under siege, one of the newspapers (I think that it was the New York Times, but I might be mistaken) published an article about the very last small businesses to stay open to serve the simple Iraqis in the midst of all the chaos, pain and hardship. It was Baghdad’s small local bakeries.

I was so impressed by that, and I clipped the article and stashed it away (I’m sure I still have it somewhere) and this being long before I became a baker myself. The selflessness of the invisible men and women (bakers are mostly night workers) manning those hot ovens in the middle of all that chaos to provide nourishment to the community was more awesome to me than the violence of any airstrikes or advancing coalition armies.

Today, during these uncertain days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we remain determined to serve you, the common men and women who make up the townships of Central Vermont. With our obligation to provide nourishment and with your support of Rise Up Bakery and the other local small businesses, we are together guiding the community through this uninvited wilderness that surrounds us. This in turn will help us to be there to help other local businesses when they can again open their doors.

Our oven remains fired tonight. And we are ever grateful to you, our friends and neighbors of the local community.” • Jim H. in Calais, Vt.

“Hello Waterbury. Nicole and I hope to provide 400 16” Pizzas to the HUUSD and Williston schools. They’ll be passed out to families in need through the school lunch pickup sites. These are Take & Bake style pizzas, like in local grocery stores.

We are hoping to raise $2000 to cover the cost of cheese, etc. If you’re in a position to donate, please consider doing so.

We hope to make the pizzas available as early as 3/27. If your need is more urgent, call or email us and we’ll get you pizza sooner. #NoHungryKids #VermontStrong” • Dan R. in Waterbury, Vt.

 

“Need help with food? Here are some sources of help:

Resources complied by Hunger Free Vermont about WIC, 3SquaresVT (known nationally as SNAP), senior meals and more: https://www.hungerfreevt.org/news/coronavirus

Hinesburg Community Resource Center Food Shelf information: www.hinesburgresource.org/food-shelf.html

Champlain Valley School District free/reduced school meals (families can apply at any time): https://www.cvsdvt.org/cms/lib/VA02000902/Centricity/Domain/35/LettertoParents_FY20_F_R.pdf” • Rachel K. in Hinesburg, Vt.

 

Countless more businesses, organizations and individuals are using Front Porch Forum to unite with their neighbors and fulfill the needs of their communities. Get involved and find the latest information on your area’s take-out, delivery, grocery, and prepped meal options by joining today.


Creative School Projects at Home

Every day we are hearing more and more serious news about COVID-19. Front Porch Forum members are busy networking to help each other with child care and grocery shopping, sharing news and ideas, and creative learning projects kids can do while school is closed. Below, read about two kids who are preparing to put their academic skills to use in a creative home project.

“Hey Stowe neighbors,

We are in 4th and 2nd grade at Stowe Elementary. We can’t go to school now so we would like to work on a fun and creative outdoor project. The project we chose is to build an Adirondack lean-to like the ones the Civilian Conservation Corps built in the 1930’s. We researched online and found plans. We want to build our lean-to so we can camp out in it. In this project we will use math skills, reading skills, measuring and how to use tools.

The reason we are reaching out to you is because we would like to know is anyone has any left over building materials that we could come pick up to use for our project. We will modify the plans for the lean-to to be built with the materials we can find.

We are seeking:
roofing materials
plywood for decking
wood that could be used for walls

During this time of social separation, it is nice to have Front Porch Forum.” • 4th & 2nd Graders in Stowe, Vt.

Share your creative ideas or network with neighbors in your community on FPF today. We are all in this together!



FPF Members Prepare for COVID-19

Vermonters and Upstate New Yorkers are turning to their local FPF to share information and mobilize efforts to help their neighbors prepare for COVID-19. Keep an eye out for new information from your local public officials, updates on area events and business practices, and keep in touch with your neighbors to see how you can help each other to be resilient during this time.

Here are how some neighbors are reaching out in light of COVID-19:

 

“Hi Neighbors,

We don’t know how much coronavirus is already in our community, but its time to be prepared.

Two of the most important things you can do are:

  • -WASH YOUR HANDS frequently and well
  • -If you feel at all unwell- STAY HOME.

The 2nd point, self-isolation, can be a really big sacrifice.

I think I speak for our community when I say “thank you” in advance for doing this, and that we want to support you in doing the right thing.

So please, if you need to self-isolate, reach out to your neighbors, through tools like FPF. Some things we might be able to provide for each other might include:

  • -Grocery Delivery
  • -Netflix Passwords
  • -FaceTime Check-ins / playing online games.

If you need to stay isolated @ home and there’s anything at all that might make it easier for you to do that, please don’t hesitate to ask your neighbors.” • Ben in Burlington, Vt.

 

Hi, Richmond! Still very much hoping that this does not affect our town. However, if you or someone you know is self-quarantining due to concerns about coronavirus, your community is available to help—several people have expressed interest in assisting with deliveries of groceries and other essentials.

In that case, please feel free to get in touch. If you know someone who needs assistance and doesn’t use email, they can reach me by phone.” • Jen in Richmond, Vt.

 

Hey neighbors, let’s start using this group as a way to support each other during the coronavirus pandemic. Those of us who are able to provide assistance can let that be known (I can!). And, as voluntary and mandatory social distancing increases, folks who should stay home (anyone over 65, anyone with a compromised immune system, anyone showing signs of illness) can post here with questions or requests for assistance. Why not run a few errands for our neighbors, right? Let’s all take good care of each other.” Kristen in Burlington, Vt.

 

Looking for information and resources to help prepare for COVID-19? See this informational video approved by the Vermont Department of Health:

Coronavirus PSA – open captions

Other resources on COVID-19:

Front Porch Forum is a free, local resource that can help neighbors to stay informed and band together. Don’t forget to check in to see how your community is working together to get ahead of COVID-19.