Chittenden Food Drive Supports Pittsfield, Stockbridge

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(Host)  Volunteers in Chittenden worked over the weekend to gather food, and other emergency supplies for people still trapped along route 100 in Pittsfield and Stockbridge.     

VPR’s Nina Keck has the story.

(Cheering and trucks leaving.)

(Keck) Jan Sotirakis was one of about 30 volunteers cheering as a convoy of 10 trucks left the Chitttenden fire station. The trucks were escorted up the one remaining emergency lane on route four toward Stockbridge.  

(Sotirakis) "We thought we would just get a few boxes of food over there in three days – we have now taken 37 truck loads of food supplies, personal care items, generators, propane tanks – the list is too numerous to include everything."

(Keck) Sotirakis is a member of Chittenden’s Volunteer Fire Department. She says she heard about efforts to send relief supplies by a group called Restoring Rutland.

(Sotirakis) "And I said wait a second, we should be doing something right up here – since we can get through."

(Lisa Tracy) "Empty boxes all go over there."

(Keck) Lisa Tracy directs people on where to put food while others tape boxes. Tracy is president of the local PTO. So, when the fire department asked her to help spread the word, she sent out an email to families within the local school.

(Tracy) "The response has been overwhelming – some people had posted our email to social networking sight so we’re getting calls from as far away a Burlington asking if they can drive down and help."

(Keck) Rachel Fredette says her neighbors will appreciate it. Fredette lives in Pittsfield and was air lifted out Thursday by the National Guard.  

(Fredette) "Chittenden is who is getting Pittsfield what they need. There is so much to be said for the morale boost of having grocery items instead of the MREs (meals ready to eat) MREs are fantastic and they’re lucky to have them, but there’s nothing like a can of Campbell‘s soup, you know?"   

(Keck) Fredette says she and her boyfriend were lucky. Their apartment narrowly avoided flood waters. But she says they watched their neighbor’s house fall into the river and she says other destruction they saw was awful. She says she’s been amazed at how the community has come together – holding BBQs on the town green and reaching out to one another.

(Fredette) "They’ve created this – just this fantastic society – very organized very positive. There’s a sense that we’re okay, we’re going to help Rochester, We’re okay, we’re gong to help Stockbridge."

(Keck) Knowing Chittenden and other towns are helping them she says, is a good reminder to folks in Pittsfield that they’re not completely cut off.   

For VPR News, I’m Nina Keck in Chittenden.

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