WOODSTOCK—Anticipating a steep rise in unemployment and a potential surge in COVID-19 cases in the next few weeks, coupled with government relief that may be slow to arrive, a group of Woodstock-area citizens has formed the Woodstock Area Relief Fund: COVID-19 (WARF). The group’s mission is to provide financial assistance to Woodstock-area individuals and families who cannot meet their basic household needs due to the pandemic.
“The federal and state governments are creating relief programs, and many local programs are doing their part to alleviate the impact of this crisis, but we intend to fill the gaps,” said Charlie Kimbell, state representative for Windsor County, who lives in Woodstock and is the group’s spokesperson.
Funded by private contributions, grants, and other non-profits, the group will provide funds for food, medical needs, and shelter for residents of the Windsor Central Supervisory Union (Barnard, Bridgewater, Killington, Plymouth, Pomfret, Reading, and Woodstock). The group is managed by a team of 19 local volunteers and other dedicated helpers. The fund, which is administered by the Woodstock Community Trust, a 501(c)(3) organization, has already received over $65,000 with a goal of raising $500,000.
“The Woodstock community has a strong history of coming together and supporting one another in times of crisis,” Kimbell said. “By providing immediate assistance and anticipating the needs that may exist once other forms of aid have been exhausted, we hope this fund will allow our community to emerge from this crisis with strength and resiliency.”
The group has created a dual-purpose website that includes a way for individuals to donate funds and for those in need to apply for support. Visit woodstockarearelieffund.org. All WCSU residents are eligible for one-time funds of up to $1,000 to assist with paying for basic needs (food, medicine shelter) not covered by other local, state, or federal relief programs. Those in need of additional assistance can follow the group’s Facebook page (facebook.com/woodstockarearelieffund) and check the website to learn when other funds will become available. Questions may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“In times like these, I cannot think of any place I’d rather be than in the Greater Woodstock community, which cares so much. Thanks for what you and others are doing,” said Charlie English, longtime Woodstock resident.