Get tips on how best to make use of Front Porch Forum during these unprecedented times we’re in due to COVID-19. Visit frontporchforum.com/fpf-in-times-of-crisis for regular updates.
Coronavirus is an unprecedented public health crisis. Connection among neighbors is a critical asset during crises and Front Porch Forum is here to serve. Neighbors helping neighbors, people asking questions, government agencies and nonprofits posting updates, and more. This aligns with our community-building work that has been our mission since launching in 2006.
FPF is 100% committed to our role as essential civic infrastructure for Vermont communities, and we will do whatever it takes to help Vermonters and our neighbors in upstate New York stay connected and be resilient in this time of crisis.
Please post to your local FPF and respond to others. Recent examples for inspiration:
– Setting up shopping services for neighbors who are quarantined
“My 93 year old grandmother is feeling justifiably nervous about going out and about to get groceries right now. Unfortunately, she lives in Maryland and I live in Lincoln, so I’m limited in how I can help her … but maybe I can help you! If you live in Lincoln and the thought of going out to grab groceries is making you feel vulnerable and nervous please email me or send me a text. You can give me a grocery list and I’ll head to town and pick things up for you.” – Suzanna in Lincoln
“Let’s start a list of those who might be willing to pick up/drop off groceries & prescriptions and those who might need the help. Perhaps the best place to start is to ask if there are a couple other people in our community who would be willing to brainstorm how we could set something up.” – Cassandra in Northfield
“What do you think about starting a Five Sisters shopping squad to go on grocery/drug-store runs for neighbours who are immunocompromised, older or self-quarantined?” – Zoe in Burlington
– Addressing food insecurity with school closures
“I am aware that food-insecure households in our community will be critically affected by school closures. I also believe that as a community we have the ability to face this challenge together. Perhaps we could cooperate with school officials to deliver meals prepared in the school kitchens as the necessary infrastructure & financial support for food preparation are already in place there. I’d like to reach out to school officials to offer help with delivering meals to students that need them when schools are closed.” – Forest in Shelburne
– Offering to pick up prescriptions for those who can’t
“I am still going into my office for the time being. I work above Walgreens on Main St. If anyone in Cabot needs to get prescriptions filled but doesn’t wish to venture out, I am happy to pick them up and deliver them to your home. Hopefully others who are traveling to the larger surrounding towns will join me. Remaining calm and helping our neighbors is the best way to battle this evolving situation.” – Ruby in Cabot
– Sharing supplies that others may need, i.e., toilet paper
“Before all the Covid-19 brou ha ha began we happened to pick up a large package of toilet paper on a Costco run. If any local residents are self-isolating and need a roll (because that appears to be what stores are out of most), send me an email explaining your situation and I will be happy to drop a roll on your doorstep. Be well, everyone!“ – Bill in Burlington
– Suggestions for child care and how to continue schooling at home
“With sudden school and daycare closings, many in our community need child care ASAP. First responders and front line healthcare workers especially need help. If you are a daycare provider, or perhaps a college kid at home with some time on your hands, please consider offering to help with child care. You can respond to FPF or even leave your name, phone number, and capacity at HR@CVHHH.org.” – Rebecca in Montpelier
For creative school projects while at home, see our blog on the topic.
– Reach out to those who feel isolated and tend toward depression.
” Stay in touch, let folks know they are not alone, that someone cares. And I urge anyone out there in our community who feels afraid to be isolated, let someone know that you need support. It’s OK to ask…any time, not just when there is a pandemic.” – Cynthia in Middlesex
– Many businesses use FPF to reach customers.
While health is paramount, the viability of our local economies is urgently important too. Please find ways to buy local during this time, including supporting FPF’s advertisers.
– Try taking in-person gatherings online and let others know
“No surprise here: Open Mic Night will not happen as scheduled in efforts to keep our community healthy and safe. BUT! Don’t let that stop you from sharing your talents! Let’s do Open Mic Night remotely!
If we’re going to socially distance ourselves or a while,
Let’s take every chance we can get to make each other smile!
I’m not a big rhymer, it really just isn’t my style,
But for neighbors I’m happy to weather an extra long mile
See? Poems are already happening. SO:
Send out a link on FPF to a recording of your music!
Post your favorite joke to FPF!
Publish an excerpt from your upcoming novel on FPF for us to read!” – Marie in Huntington
VTDigger spoke with co-founder of FPF, Michael Wood-Lewis, about how our members are posting with ideas on how to volunteer and help our neighbors as we face the challenges which the coronavirus brings each of us.
Vermonters, known for being civic-minded, have already started taking to Front Porch Forum and Twitter to see how they can help fellow residents prepare for the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Michael Wood-Lewis, founder of Front Porch Forum, said the online, community-based information service was seeing “dozens, probably hundreds” of posts from neighbors wanting to help out. Several ad hoc groups are organizing courier services to deliver supplies to neighbors who can’t leave their homes.
Post your offer of assistance or request for help to your local Front Porch Forum.
Read the full article here: https://vtdigger.org/2020/03/14/guide-how-you-can-help-volunteer-or-donate-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/
“Have access to every community event before it happens? You can with the click of one button! Here’s the secret: Click the box in your FPF e-newsletter that says “CALENDAR.” This link will magically bring you to our Community Calendar page, where you can find out what’s happening all over town. For instance, just next week alone, I see…
…A poetry performance by local youth
…A school board meeting about hiring the new SU superintendent
…The Empower Vermont high school music festival
A Spring Trails event
A diaper drive featuring a magician (Wait, what? Hey, I’m just telling you what’s on the calendar.)
If you’d like your upcoming event to appear on our local Community Calendar, just post it as an “event” on Front Porch Forum, and it will appear there automatically. Enjoy this cool resource!” • Ursula in Middlesex
“Perhaps other people already know this, but I only recently became aware of the calendar that is available on Front Porch Forum. If you click on FAQ and then “calendar,” you can see the calendar for a whole month. Anyone who is trying to schedule an event, should check this calendar first, in order to help avoid conflicts.” • Susan in Randolph
“Hurray for Valley Calendar! At last a way to see some of what is going on in the Valley – please keep showing the Mad River Valley Calendar in FPF!” • Pamela in Warren
“There really is a sense of community commitment, responsibility, and self-reliance that we’ve never seen any place else when we read FPF. It’s a wonderful on-line communication model for communities that want to effectively keep in touch, and offer something for everyone. We thoroughly enjoy the news and updates from the surrounding communities, as well as updates on the legislative meetings that are open to the public. It is not only engaging to learn about what services are available (enormously helpful!), but the social calendars are fun too. Well done!” • Rona & Richard in Arlington
Looking for a recommendation from an old, “lost” posting on Front Porch Forum? Members remind us that you can use our “Search” function with great success! (Searching past posting is available both on our website and the FPF mobile app!)
“I notice a lot of requests for past postings that people are requesting. If you were to log into your Front Porch Forum Account, Click on the “Search” button and type in a key word. This will bring up all sorts of past postings that you are looking for. I’ve done this numerous times in the past.” • Michael in Bristol
“If you are looking for old posts, you do not have to wait until you post a question and (hopefully) get an answer the next day. Just go to frontporchforum.com, sign in and hit search archives. If you just type the pertinent words in the right side of the page, it finds any posts on the subject for whatever date range you request and whichever neighborhoods you want. If you want a phrase, put quotes around the phrase or it might find anything with any of the words. It may find even some posts you did not recall seeing in the first place which could be helpful. I’ve used this more times than I can count to locate people and find recommendations.” • Donna in Calais
“It really helps to post recommendations to the Forum as opposed to emailing the author.” • Nancy in Fairfax
“If you need to search past issues of FPF, go to the login page and the third option on the top menu is “search archive.” It is a very useful function.” • Laury in Montpelier
Those new to a community often turn to Front Porch Forum to find connections. What they find are wonderful neighbors!
“I just moved to the neighborhood a few weeks ago! I am wondering if anyone is crafty or interested in crafts. I am hoping to have craft nights with others and maybe share techniques, catalogues, favorite tool, etc. Please be in touch if you would like to get together and talk crafts.” • Kelley in Essex Junction
“Hi FPF community, You all are the reason we chose to settle here and raise our family! The support you have shown after the loss of one third of my laying hens to a couple of domestic dogs, has truly been humbling. I thank you all for your kind words, your offers of help, suggestions & empathy. What a tremendous community, with wonderful neighbors, we all live in!!” • Deborah & Tim in East Hardwick
Locally owned businesses get support from their neighbors on Front Porch Forum:
“Thank you everyone on FPF who has recommended and or used SR Kiely Design-Build Inc. This has resulted in a fantastic year for our company.” • Stephen in Bristol
“At last Saturday’s Farmers Market a nurse walked by our spot and said you sure use Front Porch Forum a lot aren’t you doing very well. We are doing well because we use FPF.” • Charlie at Floating Bridge Family Farm
“We are getting a wonderful response to our pop ups. We’ve had vendors signing up through the ads from FPF. And then they spread the word to others, which is great for everyone.” • Vicki at the River Garden, Brattleboro
Neighbors ask and receive help for rides regularly on Front Porch Forum.
“I am in awe of this community I live in! I received 7 offers, and 2 more responses, to my last FPF posting requesting a ride to an upcoming medical appointment. It’s easy to ask for referrals for roofers, gardeners, etc., but- at least for me- not that easy to ask for more personal help. This was an exercise in acceptance for me, and an uplifting belief in the goodness that exists in the world, and especially in our little corner of the world. Thank you all. I am deeply touched.” • Jane in Burlington
“I am still in the midst of seeking transportation to a series of appointments. I’ve been able to find the help I need, so far. It was heartwarming to read Jane’s posting. If I need these rides again I will post on FPF. Kindness is everything. Thank-you everyone for your help.” • Judy in Burlington
“Due to the generosity of so many in this amazing community, I was emailed no less than 7 times by locals offering to run me up to the airport tomorrow. This is actually no surprise at all; this community ROCKS !! I’m all set – and I thank all of you so much for the offers of assistance…Cheers!” • George in Stowe
With winter storm Bruce hitting New England, Front Porch Forum members prepare to help
“I came across one of our elderly neighbors out shoveling by hand and having a hard go of it. I stopped to meet her and finish it up for her, and she was lamenting that none of her neighbors who she’s known for many many years offered to help, even the ones with snowblowers. I asked if she was on FPF and she reported she didn’t have a computer or internet. We had a nice talk while we worked together, about her church and spiritual understanding, and community and our collective cultural woes as we all retreat more and more behind our screens.
It was a sweet connection, and I felt well paid by the companionship and exercise. So now I’m back home behind my screen again, reaching out to my neighbors and inviting you all to come out after storms, and see what we can do together to help out our neighbors!“ • Ark in So. Burlington