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
189 Battery St, Burlington, VT
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!