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Back in April, we spoke with Rick DeAngelis, executive director of Good Samaritan Haven, about how the COVID-19 crisis has affected this nonprofit. We caught up with Rick to get an update on how Good Samaritan Haven has been weathering during the pandemic.

KC: A lot has changed since we first spoke back in April. What has the evolution been like of how Good Samaritan Haven operates during the time between then and now?

Rick: It’s been constant. Almost every week, every day, I feel like something fundamentally changes.

In March, we were told there was a pandemic and needed to prepare and were then instructed by the state to move the vulnerable population out. On April 1, we were told to move everybody out of shelter locations. In the course of three weeks, we moved 75 people to various motel rooms.

May and June the most normal times we’ve had in the last nine months. We were very much focused on what will happen when the motel thing ends. There was no clear direction and lots of confusing signals. During this time we tried to lease a building with federal money and came within a hare’s breath of a deal with the VCFA (Vermont College of Fine Arts) that would have been magnificent, but that fell apart.

We got grants to reopen the shelter in July. It was very confusing about if people could stay in motels and who could go to a shelter. We fumbled our way through that and by mid-August were operating at a reduced but full capacity of 15 people at our shelter.

KC: What are your fears entering into the winter season?

Rick: What will happen to all those people living on the street come winter time? Some won’t go in; some have been banned; some won’t go into our shelter. For the last two to three months I was hunting around for an overflow sight and had pretty much given up on it. A bunch of churches said no and we struck out on other places to lease and out of nowhere, more or less, Christ Church said we could use the parish hall. It will be an overflow shelter for up to 10 people.

KC: How can people support Good Samaritan Haven right now? 

We’re saying no to donations of food and materials because of the pandemic. Monetary donations are great.

We have a good team here. In some ways it has reassured me about people’s humanity and compassion for each other because really, when I think about it, people are trying to help us. 

In another interview for our Coping With Covid series with Montpelier Alive, we interviewed Zutano Outlet owner, Sylvia Thompson, who purchased the store late last year. She talks to us about the challenges of running a retail businesses during a pandemic.

Back in July, we spoke with Rabble Rouser Chocolate & Craft Co. – a 100% employee owned company in Downtown Montpelier about how they are operating during the COVID-19 crisis.

Back in April, we spoke with Amy LePage of Emerge Yoga. She talked to us about how her business was handling the COVID-19 crisis. We caught up with seven months later to get an update.

KC: A lot has changed since we first spoke back in April. What has the evolution been like of how Emerge operates during the last seven months?

Amy: Emerge has continued to offer live Zoom group classes and individual sessions. There’s a chance now for folks who live outside of the Central Vermont area to participate in this new format. Emerge is again seeing private clients in person one day a week. 

KC: What precautions are you taking to keep clients, yourself and the community safe?

Amy: My group classes and some private client sessions are all online, live via Zoom. This allows folks to safely partake in class from the comfort of their own home. When I do see clients privately, I give them the choice of in person or via Zoom. If we meet in person all recommended precautions, and more, are followed: Masks, Covid symptom questionnaire and Covid contact tracing form, temperature taken, thorough – thorough – thorough cleaning and disinfecting, HEPA air filter, one practitioner in the office with their clients at a time to keep traffic flow low. 

KC: What are your fears entering into the winter season?

Amy: Well, deeper isolation is a concern I hold for folks, along with longer hours of darkness and the potential for a lot less movement opportunities – and how chronic stress, tension, anxiety impacts people’s health and wellbeing. In turn, how that impacts families and communities. 
Personally, I do hold fear around the question of if my business can sustain itself. I’m thinking creatively about how to rebuild. I’ll be launching Your Birth Journey soon which provides classes and coaching for birthers and their support person for: preparing to conceive, pregnancy and birth preparation/education, postpartum and adjusting to parenthood.  


I’ll also be offering Movement for Life coaching – with a focus on why movement matters and education that enables folks to be proactive about and take ownership of their own health and wellbeing through functional movement, understanding stress responses in the body’s nervous system and mindful movement that unwinds deeply held patterns that restrict moving, breathing and being free in one’s body. 

KC: How can people support Emerge right now? 

Sign up for a live Zoom class. If you have worked with me before and found it helpful – tell others through Front Porch Forum, word of mouth, social media. Gift individual sessions, either live or via Zoom, to family and friends in or outside of Vermont.  

Learn more about Emerge with Amy LePage.

Over the summer, we teamed up with Montpelier Alive to highlight Downtown Montpelier businesses and talk about the particular challenges they may be facing during the COVID-19 crisis and how they’ve been adapting. Here we highlight MobiTech – a mobile device and computer repair service.

Back in April, when we were all in the first throws of pandemic lockdown, we got the chance to speak with Jeremy Ayers of Jeremy Ayers Pottery and 18 Elm. We lost this interview in the shuffle of everything going on and are just now getting around to posting it … seven months later. We asked Jeremy to send us an update of what’s been going on since then, which you can find below the interview.

Q&A Update:

What is the status of your rental properties? Have you stuck to long-term tenants or were you able to figure out a way to do short-term rentals again?

Jeremy: We have shifted to from short-term to long-term rentals in both our apartments. We decided it was better to take 2020 off.

Are people able to visit your studio/shop in person? If so, when? Is it by appointment only? 

Jeremy: My studio and shop are open Monday – Saturday, 12-5pm. Distancing is possible in my space!

Do you have any favorite pottery pieces you’ve created lately? If so, can you provide links we can share?

Jeremy: I have a series of Urns that I have been making during Covid. Some are on display at the BCA Center in BTV through January. You can find them linked here

This holiday season I’m launching Mug Club 2021 in which customers can purchase a subscription for a one-of-a kind mug delivered monthlythe perfect holiday gift! You can join Mug Club with a 3 month, 6 month or 12 month subscription. Prices and details at jeremyayerspottery.com/mugclub.

How has the new school year been going for you and your family? 

The school year has been a challenge. I had two boys going to elementary school two days a week on separate days. For about six weeks I had one of my children in the studio with me almost every day.  It was….a lot, but we survived!  They’re in school four days now.  I’m getting much more work done 😉

FIND JEREMY AYERS POTTERY on INSTAGRAM

We got a chance to chat with North Branch Nature Center about the programs they’ve been creating during the COVID-19 crisis and how getting out in nature is one of the best things we can do for ourselves during the pandemic.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

We talk with one of our favorite female entrepreneurs – Arealles of Curly Girl Pops – about how she is pivoting her businesses away from farmers markets this year due to the COVID-19 crisis.

SHOP CURLY GIRL POPS

We get the scoop from Bear Pond Books on what it’s like to be an indie book seller during the COVID-19 crisis and what everyone is comfort reading during the pandemic.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

  • Shop Online – They offer back door pickup, local delivery for those that can’t get out of the house & will ship.
  • Buy Gift Cards – call or email them to purchase – (802) 229-0774; info@bearpondbooks.com

We speak with our real estate agent, Mike Burak, about his experience contracting COVID-19. Mike also runs The Burak Group, a real estate agency, and we spoke to him about what it’s like to buy and sell a home during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Isolation is a major tactic for abusers – isolating the person that they are abusing … Isolation is a key factor in maintaining control over a person.”


We speak with Diane Kinney, Co-Director of Circle, a nonprofit that serves victims & survivors of intimate partner violence, about how the organization is coping during the COVID-19 crisis and why the number of domestic violence cases have been rising.


“The level of violence has been going up in the last three years … because violence is okay now. With our current folks in the White House, being mean to people, calling people names, being misogynistic, being violent is really just fine. So, what we see is that abusive people who may have hid it before, don’t hide it anymore.”

IF YOU NEED HELP

  • Call Circle’s 24-Hour Confidential Hotline 1-877-543-9498 or email them: info@circlevt.org

HOW YOU CAN HELP FURTHER CIRCLE’S MISSION

“I really miss it … I really want to get out there and play for folks – see people’s faces, feel the energy from the crowd.”

We speak to soul & blues musician, Dave Keller, about how the COVID-19 crisis has affected his career.

HOW YOU CAN HELP