MSAC and Community Services Updates

Current COVID guidelines affecting MSAC operations 

Volunteer for FEAST
As we ramp back up to serving meals inside and delivering daily hot meals, we are going to need a lot more help again. If you or someone you know is interested in helping us bring nutritious, delicious meals to seniors who need them, please let us know by calling or emailing us: 802-262-6288, feast@montpelier-vt.org. We are seeking the following:

Meals on Wheels Drivers
FEAST Curbside Picnic Volunteers
FEAST Special Events Volunteers
FEAST Farm Support

FEAST Farm Journal 

Submitted by Leila Faulstich-Hon | ECO Americorps | Trees and Watersheds Steward
City of Montpelier Parks and Trees Department 

Today, I stand at the edge of the farm and look out, wide-eyed. So much has changed in a couple of weeks. Our new farm manager Dave arrived, and now the farm is in full swing. Today, the sun is spilling across the land. The baby leaves on the cottonwood trees spurt like green foam from twig tips and a gaggle of Canada Geese squawk across the sky. All week we have been busy preparing beds. FEAST Farm is a no-till farm. This means that we try to disturb the structure of the soil as little as possible. No-till farms require a lot of weeding in the beginning to establish a good place for crops to grow. Luckily, we’ve had a lot of volunteers to help us-- kneeing, sitting, squatting, up to their elbows in dirt, high schoolers and National Life Volunteers wrestle with the roots of sod and dandelion. Last week, they also helped us plant 450 riparian trees by the water! When grown, these trees will create a riparian buffer, which helps improve water quality and provides habitat for a lot of species. In other growing news, the tomato plants are becoming robust in the greenhouse. Last-year’s garlic’s soft green shoots sway like antennas in the wind. It’s exciting and overwhelming. I feel like chanting: All are welcome at FEAST Farm! The growing season has begun!

We’re recruiting for our next Americorps member to start September 8!

It’s hard to believe that Andrew Gribbin’s 11 month term will end in August, but we’re starting recruitment for our next Aging in Place Coordinator to serve in support of our FEAST and MSAC at Home programs.  Deadline to apply is July 31, and you can find all the details here: https://vhcb.org/sites/default/files/programs/americorps/MSAC.pdf. Please spread the word to folks who might be interested in a great position with wonderful professional development benefits, a living stipend, a rental subsidy, and the chance to serve the growing MSAC community in vital ways!

MSAC Thanks Web Industries for support of Remembering Our Veterans Event May 28!

Huge thanks to local business, Web Industries (formerly known as Cadcut), for their sponsorship of our annual event in advance of Memorial Day, back from a 2020 pandemic pause!  Not only did Web Industries give MSAC a grant to generously cover all expenses for the luncheon for eighty Veterans, their families, and other older adults who attended, they also provided five employees to serve the luncheon curbside from our facility! 

Musicians at ROV 5-28-21

In addition to the delicious BBQ meal, attendees enjoyed fanfare of flags and gratitude, plus not one but TWO live bands as they drove around the senior center to pick up their curbside meals.  Out front on Barre Street, the MSAC “Swingin’ Over Sixty” band played in the courtyard. On the side near meal pick-up, guests enjoyed traditional music on banjo, guitar and fiddle, played by local musicians Kathleen Moore, Chris Hollis and Alec Ellsworth, pictured in photo here (missing: Jenny Monfore).  If Alec’s name is familiar, it’s because he’s also our Parks & Trees Director and City of Montpelier co-worker of MSAC staff! Finally, huge thanks to FEAST Manager Sarah Lipton, Americorps member Andrew Gribbin, volunteer Carole Baker, and countless others who pulled together this special event.

We are Grateful to VT Community Foundation, Hoehl Family Foundation, National Life Group Charitable Foundation & Central Vermont Council on Aging!

All of the above organizations recently awarded MSAC generous grants to support either MSAC’s general operating expenses or our FEAST Senior Nutrition Program. Thank you, community!  We are also grateful to individual donors and small businesses!

  • $5,000 from the VT COVID-19 Response Fund of the VT Community Foundation (FEAST)
  • $5,000 from COVID-19 Relief Funds from Central Vermont Council on Aging (FEAST)
  • $15,000 from National Life Group Charitable Foundation (GOE)
  • $60,000 from Hoehl Family Foundation, paid in $20,000 installments annually for three years (GOE)

Montpelier Senior Activity Center soft re-opening in June, additional programs in-person starting in July, and many programs continuing online and outdoors all summer

MSAC and FEAST staff and volunteers are working hard on preparation for the next phase of our gradual and safe re-opening. State and City COVID guidelines will continue to be followed regarding masking, etc, and we are transitioning to in-person gathering and self-screening for COVID symptoms and temperatures. 

On June 14, MSAC starts registration (online, by mail and drop-off) for 34 weekly Summer class series (July-September) offered online, in-person at 58 Barre Street, and outdoors at a variety of locations including Hubbard Park, Green Mount Cemetery and others. Look for the Registration form and Program Guide coming out later this week! Registration runs June 14 to July 2 and beyond – lotteries June 28 for over-enrolled classes. 

Starting June 15 and 21, MSAC will host selected returning drop-in groups (Elders Together and games) and the Annual Membership Meeting indoors (and via Zoom video/phone), while other groups remain outdoors. During the week of July 5-9, Summer classes start, as will FEAST Curbside Picnic Inside-Outside options on Tuesdays and Fridays. We are looking at the possibility of a few senior van trips starting in August or September, with no decisions made yet. 

To stay updated, subscribe for free to our weekly e-letter by emailing msac@montpelier-vt.org. Visit our website at www.montpelier-vt.org/msac or call 223-2518 for more information!

New offerings from MSAC at Home: Home evaluations for preventing falls & Limited indoor assistance!

MSAC at Home is thrilled to announce a partnership with local occupational therapist Nina Otter (OTR/L) for essential aging in place services! Nina has generously offered to donate her time to perform home evaluations for fall risk prevention, and has the ability to make recommendations for you and your home for safer mobility and function. After your home evaluation, Nina will provide you with a written report of those recommendations. If part of those recommendations involve obtaining mobility assistance devices (walkers, canes, etc.), MSAC will work to connect you to Wayward Wheels in Montpelier, an organization that lends such equipment for free to people who cannot afford to pay for it. Given Nina’s fulltime workload and newly arrived son, space and towns served will be limited in this new program and filled on a first come, first served basis (eligible towns are Berlin, Middlesex, Moretown, and Montpelier). If you are interested in learning more about this program or requesting a home evaluation, please contact MSAC’s Aging in Place Coordinator Andrew Gribbin at 802-262-6287 or via email at msac-americorps@montpelier-vt.org. Nina is a longtime resident of central Vermont and has worked as an occupational therapist at Woodridge Rehabilitation and Nursing in Berlin for a number of years. 

Additionally, MSAC at Home is now expanding its offerings to include limited indoor assistance. To start with, this will include installing AC units, changing screen/storm windows, changing smoke alarm batteries and light bulbs, lifting or moving heavy items (within the same household), and taking out the trash and recycling. To ensure the safety of everyone involved, all local and state COVID protocols will be followed at all times. Contact Andrew Gribbin at 802-262-6287 or msac-americorps@montpelier-vt.org to learn more or to sign up for any of these services. As a reminder, all MSAC at Home services are provided by donation at this time. 

The Montpelier City Pool will be operating slightly differently this year- but we plan to be open! The most important updates are:

  1. Pool Hours are approximate and will be dependent on available and trained lifeguard staff and may change as needed
  2. The Pool House, one of the rafts, and ¼ of the pool’s swimming area are reserved for the City’s Summer Camp program- to keep our Summer Camp youth separated to align with our licensure requirements for the program, and to keep vulnerable unvaccinated youth physically distanced from others
  3. In deference to the Summer Camp program, and to keep unvaccinated youth safe, the City is requesting visitors wear masks when not actively swimming
  4. Daily Pool pass prices have changed slightly- see the chart in the FAQ
  5. Other information can be found in our Pool FAQ, or by reaching out to the Recreation Department at 802-225-8699

Montpelier Recreation is still hiring for Lifeguards, Pool Staff and Seasonal Maintenance!

Click here for more information, and spread the word – great summer jobs and training available!    If you have questions, please call the office at 225-8699. 

Reminder image for Mailchimp

Membership Renewal: It’s time to renew your membership for the July 1 year start, especially if you want the best rate on Summer class registration that starts next Monday, June 14 (classes begin week of July 5). See benefits summary online here. Your form should have arrived in the mail; let us know if it didn't or if you need a new one!

Annual Survey: Please fill out the MSAC 2021 Annual Survey this month if you haven’t already! We love ONLINE survey responses best, but paper surveys are also available in our side entrance or by mail! The link above also has info about the raffle drawing – deadline to enter is June 15. 

Annual Meeting: The meeting is at 12:45pm on Tuesday, June 22. You can attend in-person, online on Video, or by phone. Please RSVP by calling the office or emailing msac@montpelier-vt.org. If you need Zoom training, Andrew is ready to help with group trainings or one-on-one!

Older Announcements

MSAC will be hiring soon!
Look out in the coming week for an exciting job posting and news of current staff shifting roles. 

Remembering Jessica: Photos and Words of Remembrance Invited 
The MSAC and FEAST community’s lives are still touched by the loss of Jessica Sanderson, our long-time FEAST Program Manager who died in August 2020. Family of Jessica are planning a small, COVID-friendly memorial service for her in early summer. MSAC staff are assembling photos and words of remembrance to share with her family at that time. If you would like to contribute something, please forward it to feast@montpelier-vt.org (subject: Remembering Jessica), or mail to Montpelier Senior Activity Center, attn: Remembering Jessica, 58 Barre Street, Montpelier, VT 05602. 

Volunteer with Montpelier Parks!

Do you have a hankering to get outside and do something positive to help the community? We have a volunteer project for you! We usually host at least 1 community volunteer day every week to do something different around our parks. It might be trail work, planting trees, pulling invasive plants, working at the FEAST Farm, or something else, but you'll get to do meaningful work with our great crew and other volunteers. To sign up for our listserv email JHuettenmoser@Montpelier-vt.org.

Summer Camp registration is underway, Pool passes coming in June!

Rec summer camp and after-school childcare registration are underway! Visit the Spring Program Guide for details on these and dozens of other youth and adult opportunities with our Parks, Recreation and Senior Activity Center, and our Community Services Summer Guide will be out in early June. https://www.montpelier-vt.org/DocumentCenter/View/5506/Community-Services-Spring-2021-Program-Guide.

Farewell and Thank you to Becca Jordan!
IMG_19531Becca Jordan, Communications & Development Coordinator for Community Services (Senior Center, Parks, and Recreation) has left city employment just shy of her third anniversary with us. She will soon start an exciting new job at The Center for an Agricultural Economy, based in Hardwick-- a position related to her current one and in a field closely aligned to her educational background and passions. Becca’s three years of excellent service to Community Services included weathering a pandemic and strengthening MSAC’s outreach and fundraising strategies, among many other contributions she made to the City. In her wake, Becca is leaving some significant recent grant awards for both MSAC and Parks, and she wrote a large grant application for Recreation in her final days! Thanks, Becca; we wish you all the best! Readers, stay tuned for news of our plans to fill this vacancy as soon as is reasonably possible!

Anonymous gift to fund MSAC technology upgrades and device-lending library
We are thrilled to announce that due to the tremendous generosity of an anonymous donor this spring, we are in the process of planning significant technology upgrades to improve the experience, access, and equity of senior center services. Though details are still being worked out, the two main areas the donor’s funding will support are (1) establishing a lending library of technology devices (and training) for members and (2) purchasing, upgrading and installing audio-visual and related equipment in MSAC classrooms to enhance both on-site and remote programs. We look forward to sharing updates as we make progress!
 

MSAC at Home is Here to Help with Spring Cleanup!
With spring in the air, many of us are facing a long to-do list of outdoor chores. If you find yourself in this position and could use a hand, let MSAC know! We are happy to assist with outdoor chores such as raking, light garden work, outdoor furniture moving, and general yard cleanup of things like fallen branches and sticks. We are offering these services free of charge as part of our newly named MSAC at Home service offerings. During this initial pilot phase, these home-based offerings are limited to residents of Montpelier, but we very much hope to expand to other towns in the future. Contact AmeriCorps member Andrew Gribbin at 262- 6287 or msac-americorps@montpelier-vt.org with any questions or to learn more.