Letter, Opinion

Challenges highlight community’s strengths

Dear Editor,

With Covid-19 and a harsh winter as a backdrop, I’m writing to provide two bright spots that speak to the positive nature of this community. One is a blood drive fully booked more than a month in advance, the other a fundraiser for the Community Cupboard that has already inspired dozens of donations ranging from $10 to $3,500.

A national blood shortage is causing challenges for doctors, patients, and hospitals – but at least here in Rutland County, blood donations remain strong.

The family of Yvonne Daley, a stellar Rutland Herald reporter for years and a warm and caring member of the community, organized a drive next month in Yvonne’s honor. Yvonne needs regular transfusions to combat a blood disease that has afflicted her in recent years, and at least one time, enough blood was not available when she needed it, due to the national crisis.

Her daughters sought to raise awareness and donations and, working with the American Red Cross, organized a big blood drive for late February. It’s been fully booked for nearly a week —a full month in advance.

In the meantime, dozens of people, businesses, and organizations are responding to the appeal for the Community Cupboard Challenge, helping ensure no one goes hungry due to reduced work hours or tips, unexpected expenses, and medical issues during the latest wave of the pandemic. While the story sounds bleak on one hand – dozens of families seeking help for the first time ever – the community response has been heartwarming. We’re 35% of the way to our $35,000 goal, with four weeks to go!

Over the past 20 years, I’ve witnessed Rutland County residents’ willingness to step forward time and time again to help their neighbors. The need for blood and food donations is ongoing, but the amazing response to the blood drive in Yvonne’s name and the initial response to the Community Cupboard Challenge are evidence that despite all the challenges we may face, the community at large is resilient and caring whenever a need is exposed.

Readers who would like to help with either effort, the blood shortage or the needs at the Community Cupboard, should visit redcrossblood.org or rutlandcommunity cupboard.org.

Steve Costello, Rutland

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