The Caring Network
The Unitarian Church of Montpelier’s Caring Network is a group of volunteers who make themselves available to help Members and Friends of our UCM community with short-term assistance during times of transition, crisis, or need. Our goal is to “BE THE VILLAGE,” when our friends and neighbors need a helping hand. This includes things like rides to medical appointments; meals or companionship following surgery or the birth of a child; and help with errands or housework when life just gets to be overwhelming!
Information for Volunteers:
If you sign up to be a volunteer, you will receive emails and sometimes phone calls when the Caring Network receives a request for assistance. The signup form encourages you to specify which types of assistance you are most able and/or willing to provide, but sometimes important requests will be sent to the entire group.
The volume and frequency of requests is naturally unpredictable, but the average is about 2-3 per month. We ask that volunteers consider saying “yes” to a request that fits their abilities every month or two.
Information for Submitting Requests:
If you would like to make a request, or if you think someone you know in the church community may need assistance, please contact Erin Aguayo, Caring Network Coordinator, using this form. Don’t hesitate to reach out, even if you’re not sure whether it’s something the Caring Network can help with.
Please note that specific requests made at least two weeks in advance are most likely to receive volunteer support. That said, we COMPLETELY understand that life happens, and we are always happy to try to help with more last-minute requests!
- Caring Network works closely with UCM’s Lay Pastoral Care team to make sure that both logistical and emotional needs are being met. The UCM Care Fund is also available throughout the year, as an additional resource for those in need of specific financial assistance. You are encouraged to reach out to either, both, or all!
- The Central Vermont Council on Aging and the Vermont Center for Independent Living can provide excellent information about longer-term assistance with things like transportation, meals, and companionship for the elderly and disabled.
- UCM’s Communications Team regularly updates our Community Action & Resources page, with links to and information about community resources and aid organizations available in and around Washington County, Vermont.
**Update for Caring for One Another through Coronavirus Pandemic — March 2020**
To join a UCM Small group “Caring Cluster” for COVID-19 support, please fill out this form.
While it’s hard to tell what the next few weeks or months may look like, having a local group to support us is reassuring and grounding. Your group can decide how and how much to communicate or assist, from just a weekly text check in to someone assigned to buy and drop off groceries or prescriptions to online meetings of any combo of members where you sip coffee and chat or play games.
Groups will be approximately five households. Each group will designate a coordinator, and agree on a preferred method of communication moving forward. The coordinator should set that up, be it a group email, text, Facebook group, or other, and send the first message to have everyone check in with the group with a hello message. Anyone may initiate contact with a request or offer of assistance, but if the group is quiet, the coordinator should send at least one message a week just to check in, and if anyone doesn’t reply, perhaps check on them.
This is a first-time experiment, and we will use that flexibility to have these groups evolve with the situation.