Area community partners pool resources

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This has been the theme for the past week. So many volunteers are stepping up and being shared. From local Cares Groups to the Vermont Hunger Council - everyone wants to make sure that we as Vermonters get help to those most in need. From school bus deliveries of meals to all children 18 and under to new volunteers delivering Meals on Wheels to aging Vermonter at home, people throughout Vermont are pitching in. At Senior Solutions we have many new volunteers. We encourage our community partners to contact us if you are in need of volunteers.

Our volunteers are making curbside pick-ups and deliveries to peoples' doors. This is minimum contact and maximum service. Our shut-in visitor recipients are receiving check-in calls from the volunteer visitor team. Our case managers are busy reaching clients by phone and the internet. Even with our door closed we have been very busy working with other agencies and our community leaders to make sure our most vulnerable population has their needs met. The Vermont Food Bank and Hunger Free Vermont are partnering to advocate for increased 3Square benefits for all participants.

A continuing issue for many Vermonters is transportation. Public transportation information is available at

The revised eligibility criteria to receive Meals on Wheels (MOW) here in Vermont is:

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- Individuals 60 years of age or older,

- Be a spouse of and eligible individual,

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- Be an individual under 60 years of age, with a disability, who resides with an eligible individual.     

With the increasing demand on MOW services it is important to remember that requests must be served with a priority for those who are at greatest risk. Please contact 802-885-2669 and for information. Also see our website at

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As the Southeastern Vermont Council on Aging, Senior Solutions works very hard to provide referrals, and connect clients with homebased assistance. We provide case management oversight of benefits applications and services, nutrition and wellness program management and support. We have caregiver support through education and resources, information for assistive devices, and help applying for and receiving health insurance through Medicaid and Medicare and other social service benefits. All of this is with the goal of keeping Vermonters in the home of their choice in good health and with dignity.

We don't do this alone. The Senior Centers that are now forced to close because of the COVID-19 virus do so much work. They provide the Tai Chi exercise space, congregate and delivered lunches, special programs to keep us engaged in the community and help us enjoy the fun of being with our friends and neighbors and creatively meet the needs of their community. If you have participated or have had a family member attend a lecture or program, or just understand the importance of the centers, please sit down and send a donation to the center of your choice. The Bugbee Center, The Thompson Center, The Black River Senior Center, The Springfield Center, the Bellows Fall Senior Center and the Brattleboro Senior Center may all have their doors closed and their lights off but I assure you they are still working for you and they want to re-open when it is safe to do so. But they will need help from all of us!

Many thanks to all of the wonderful and amazing medical center workers and to all the community volunteers. They have shown us the meaning of `Vermont Strong'!    

Joann Erenhouse, Esq., is the community relations director for Senior Solutions, the federally-designated Area Agency on Aging serving Southeastern Vermont since 1973. Senior Solutions provides information and assistance and administers a variety of programs for older adults and people with disabilities. Call 802-885-2669 or visit


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