Shelburne church receives grant to help with Irene recovery

Waitsfield’s Simplicity Farm chosen as beneficiary

Just 13 months after Tropical Storm Irene’s torrential rains devastated many areas of the Green Mountain State, Shelburne’s Trinity Episcopal Church was awarded a $5,000 grant by the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont’s Steering Committee for Post-Tropical Storm Relief and Recovery. Once the grant was awarded, parishioner Jackie Arbuckle began the task of finding a recipient. “We [the church] wanted to partner with a farm that we could truly help. Simplicity Farm, an organic dairy farm in Waitsfield owned by Doug Turner, was suggested by a friend that had connections in the area,” Arbuckle continued. “Simplicity Farm met the criteria. Badly flooded, the farm had many needs but Doug felt its biggest need was to finish rebuilding the riverbank.”

Unfortunately the grant represents a small portion of the resources needed to rebuild Simplicity Farm’s riverbank that was washed away in August 2011. Trinity Episcopal Church clergy and parishioners have begun contacting other churches in the Shelburne, Mad River Valley, and greater Burlington areas to help raise more funds. The total needed to complete the restoration of Simplicity Farm’s 2,600 feet of riverbank is between $50,000 and $60,000.

Turner said, “My life has not been simple since the Mad River flooded my Simplicity Farm. Its floodwaters wiped out my farm’s hay and organic corn acreage, carried away the rocks, boulders, and trees stabilizing my farm’s riverbank, and washed out the riverbank. My biggest concern now is how I can afford to finish the extensive restoration of the riverbank before any high waters return. I’ll lose 30 acres of my family’s land if the riverbank restoration is not completed before then. I am very happy to hear about Trinity Episcopal Church’s receipt of its Tropical Storm Irene Recovery grant and ask that other churches and individuals partner with Trinity to raise the funds to secure my farm and livelihood.”

Arbuckle outlined four ways to help rebuild the riverbank at Simplicity Farms.

• Buy a boulder for $5. Simplicity Farms needs boulders of all sizes.

• Raise the Rip Rap for $10. Rip Rap is a foundation or sustaining wall of stones or chunks of concrete thrown together on an embankment slope to prevent erosion. Once located, these rocks also need to be trucked to the site, dumped, and distributed so large boulders are on the bottom and smaller rocks are on top.

• Save the shore for $25. In addition to the rip rap, veins that extend about 30 feet into the river need to be constructed of more stone.

• Fund a foot for $50. Each $50 donation will fully repair a linear foot of riverbank.

“Right now, St. James Church in Essex Junction has committed to partner with us in this endeavor,” Arbuckle shared. “We are looking to recruit other churches.”

Tax deductible donations should be sent to Trinity Episcopal Church, Attn: Irene Recovery, 5171 Shelburne Road, Shelburne, VT 05482. Checks should be made payable to Trinity Episcopal Church and earmarked for Tropical Storm Irene.

For more information, contact Jackie Arbuckle at 482-5367 or jackieinvt@gmail.com.

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