Relief from Covid-19

PEACHAM - The Coronavirus pandemic has caused many people financial distress throughout the United States, but a small little town in Vermont has come up with a way to help their residents stay financially stable.

The process to start the Peacham Covid Relief Fund began back in March.

The Peacham Select Board approved it in late April. The motivation to start the fund came from the need to assist people in town struggling financially because of Covid-19.

 

"The motivation was basically, my wife and I got a stimulus check that we didn't want, that we didn't need. We felt that we wanted to figure out a way to help our neighbors. So I approached the select board saying I'd like to establish a fund," said David Edwards, founder of the Peacham COVID relief fund.

Edwards contacted the Vermont Community Foundation as well as the Woodstock Community Trust to get some input about the idea, since both organizations had similar fund programs. What's interesting about the fund is that none of the money going towards the relief fund is coming from organizations around Vermont. The funding is coming entirely from residents in the area of Peacham.

"I talked to other folks, and people were very concerned about you know, their neighbors who could be losing their job, or losing support. Any kind of financial support.  So I talked to a few friends, and they thought it was a great idea. We had a lot of people contribute, we raised over $16-thousand dollars in a pretty small town," Edwards went on to say.

Everyone who donated to the fund wished to remain anonymous. People that would like to apply for the fund may find applications at the town office. The Advisory Committee will review all applications such as past due notices, unpaid bills, and invoices. The fund will then pay the landlords, hospital, utility companies, etc, directly. No cash grants will be made to any individuals, and may range from $100 dollars to $1,000 dollars.

"We didn't want to make it complex.  We didn't want to have tax forms or you know, paycheck stubs. So we basically have a one page application where we say, 'why are you applying? What do you need the funds for? Have you reached out to other state and federal, and family?'," Edwards said.

The town of Peacham is only accepting applications from residents that have lived in the area for over a year. Edwards says that the Advisory Board is relying on people's honesty when it comes to applying for the fund. Information submitted by a person will remain completely confidential. In addition to the application, documentation to support someone's claim must be submitted.

"I've talked to a number of people, a couple of single women who need help. But their response is interesting; two responses I get is 'well I'm not going to apply because somebody else needs it more than I do', or 'I'm just, it's sort of this Vermont pride. I'm too proud to ask for help,'" Edwards goes on to say.

Edwards hopes that more people reach out. He expresses that cost should not be a worry because they still have plenty of people who are willing to donate more money. No one should be ashamed to ask for help.