An emergency flood assistance outpost opened with little fanfare in the basement of the Barton Memorial Building Thursday. It’s brief run will end Saturday afternoon, July 22.
Representatives from state agencies including the Department of Health, OSHA, Department of Labor, and Department of Public Safety Fire Safety Division pulled into town along with delegations from the American Red Cross and Salvation Army. Local volunteers from NEKO (Northeast Kingdom Organizing) joined in the work of providing people hit hard by flooding with the resources they need to get their lives back in order.Department of Health workers brought with them water test kits, so those concerned that the flooding may have affected their wells or springs and find out for sure. They also brought tick removal kits, N95 masks, and useful information.
OSHA sent written information about mold, a major concern for flooded houses. The masks, which were ubiquitous during the worst of the COVID pandemic also can protect sensitive people from mold spores.
The Department of Labor was ready to help those whose employment has been interrupted by the flood sign up for emergency unemployment benefits. Representatives also were set up to help job seekers find positions, prepare resumes, and otherwise give themselves the best chance for success.
Outside the Salvation Army had a truck full of cases of drinking water and cleaning supplies. The Red Cross offered rakes, shovels, and brooms to those who need to clean up silt or other debris carried by high water.
There were also cases of canned goods waiting for people who lost the contents of pantries or refrigerators.
The Barton site will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Then the caravan will move on to help other communities.
NEKO volunteers, though, will continue to provide flood assistance and information from the basement of the Memorial Building for the time being.