Internet Savvy

ST. ALBANS – A Franklin County resident has responded to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic by creating a forum for residents looking for opportunities to connect with neighbors and resources in the area, one of several such resources to appear during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Kristina Barber, a child care provider in St. Albans, said she created “Franklin county resources in response to COVID-19,” currently at nearly 250 members, as a way to connect residents in Franklin County during the outbreak.

“I understand emotions are high due to the quick outbreak of COVID-19,” Barber said in an email to the Messenger. “To alleviate some anxiety this page was formed to allow Franklin County residents the opportunity to find resources, volunteer and get involved.”

As of Tuesday, the page, only a week old, has had more than five dozen posts from administrators and members of the community, including updates from local businesses, municipalities and schools and calls for donations for local service groups like food shelves.

“My hope is to keep this page as positive and helpful as possible,” Barber said.

“Franklin county resources in response to COVID-19” is one of several community groups where community members have been sharing volunteer information and connecting.

Established Facebook groups like the St. Albans Community Forum, 05478 and St. Albans Vermont in St. Albans and Fairfax, Vermont Folks in Fairfax have already seen exchanges about updates and requests from local businesses, service organizations and residents made in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Another group in Bakersfield has organized the site Bakersfield Community Strong to provide announcements and updates as the small eastern Franklin County community wrestles with the side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The site provides information on everything from the town’s H. F. Brigham Free Library – which is still loaning books and movies while closed – to updates the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and phone numbers to dial locally for urgent, unmet needs in the Bakersfield area.

“We are in this together,” one of the site’s organizers, Sarah Jo Marcotte, said in a video introducing the website. “We’re small, but we are strong, and we look out for one another.”

For “Franklin county resources in response to COVID-19,” the admittedly “not Facebook savvy” Barber has received help from two other local women who volunteered to administer the site and help “get the page up and running.”

“That is the beauty about our community,” Barber said. “You don’t need to know someone personally to offer and receive help.

“We are in this together.”

“Franklin county resources in response to COVID-19” is an open group and can be found at https://bit.ly/2WF9TrT.

Bakersfield Community Strong can be found at https://www.bakersfieldstrong.org/.

Information on the spread of COVID-19 and the novel coronavirus responsible for the disease is available online from the CDC and from the Vermont Dept. of Health at healthvermont.gov/covid-19.

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