In Bethel, Volunteers Take Part In Clean Up Day

10/24/11 7:04AM By Kirk Carapezza

VPR/Kirk Carapezza
A sign in Bethel thanks volunteers.
(Host) With the days before winter's first snowfall dwindling, volunteers descended on the flood zone over the weekend to help communities and individuals clean up Tropical Storm Irene damage.

From Waterbury to Wilmington, groups of volunteers participated in the first ever Vermont Clean Up Day.

VPR/Kirk Carapezza
This gazebo at Peavine Park in Bethel was still covered with more than two feet of silt two months after the storm.
In Bethel, dozens of volunteers brought shovels and wheelbarrows to Peavine Park where they dug out more than two feet of silt that was still covering the gazebo, benches and trees two months after the storm.

Residents hope that the park can return to life next spring.

Over at the Bethel Food shelf, Congressman Peter Welch joined volunteers distributing fresh fruit and vegetables to families affected by Irene.

Mary Ann Batchelor has been the director of Bethel's food shelf for the past 15 years.

She says she's never witnessed such an outpouring of support, with more volunteers than people in need.

(Batchelor) "This is the biggest effort we've had to make over the years, and we're winding down the flood relief but there are going to be needs as we move forward."

(Host) Batchelor says the food shelf's hours have returned to normal for the first time since the storm, but it'll make special appointments for anyone who needs assistance.

(Batchelor) "The flood relief victims come through sporadically and scarcely but we're here for them whenever."

(Host) Governor Peter Shumlin said the day's efforts went a long way in meeting the need left by Irene, but he said there is still a lot more to be done.

He's encouraging Vermonters to continue reaching out and offering their services.

The Bethel Select Board will meet Monday at 6 p.m.

You can read the latest meeting minutes at VPR's Public Post.

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tropical_storm_irene bethel cities
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