“WARF has been a life raft for our small family. The financial assistance kept my family afloat all those months.” – WARF Recipient
In 2020, Woodstock Community Trust became the fiscal sponsor for WARF (Woodstock Area Relief Fund): COVID-19. WARF raised and distributed $916,000 in aid to 855 individuals who were struggling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteers and donations from individuals and foundations made this community effort possible.
During COVID-19, hundreds of people in the community lost their jobs or had their businesses shuttered or restricted and were forced to live on savings or credit. With schools closed, many of those still able to work were faced with unexpected childcare needs and food expenses. State and federal relief was often delayed, unavailable, or insufficient to meet immediate household needs.
WARF provided financial assistance to individuals and families of the greater Woodstock area who were unable to meet their basic household needs due to the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. While federal, state, and local government assistance programs played an important role in alleviating the crisis, WARF filled the gaps. It provided immediate and timely assistance to individuals and families residing in the educational district of the Windsor Central Supervisory Union (Barnard, Bridgewater, Killington, Plymouth, Pomfret, Reading, and Woodstock) to help them pay for food, medicine, shelter, and childcare.
WARF was fueled by a group of 46 passionate community volunteers who mobilized resources to provide assistance to individuals and families as quickly as possible. WARF received 640 donations totaling $916,000 from community members, non-profits, and local foundations who were concerned about the well-being of their neighbors and wanted to help.
From its inception in March 2020 through the end of March 2022, the funds WARF raised and distributed helped 321 households, including 140 with children. Funds were used to pay rent and mortgages, utility bills, car payments and repairs, groceries, and childcare.
The lessons learned from WARF's emegency response experience led to the formation of The HUB, an on-going system designed to organize service providers and local relief organizations to make them more accessible to area residents. The HUB will make it easier for individuals to get help with personal and life crises (such as job loss, homelessness, food insecurity, or divorce) and for the whole community to be supported when it is faced with a crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.