Below is the latest “From The Manager’s Desk” column from the latest Town Topics Newsletter:
WILMINGTON, MA — What a difference a year makes. As Town Topics was being prepared in December 2019 we could not have imagined the world that would be awaiting us in 2020.
The toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on so many lives, on businesses both large and small and on the ability of people to earn an income is unprecedented. Not since the Great Depression has the economic impact been so severe on so many. Our daily lives have profoundly changed over the past nine months and it appears this “new norm” will continue into the foreseeable future. Weathering the storm caused by this pandemic has posed a serious challenge for all of us.
Town departments continue to do their part in helping to lessen the burden for residents wherever possible.
The Elderly Services Department continues to offer home delivered meals and transportation to and from medical appointments. Elders who simply need to have a conversation are encouraged to contact the department from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. After hours calls will be returned the next business day. In an emergency, contact 9-1-1. For residents seeking to offer assistance, donations of gift cards to local grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants are being accepted. The department can be contacted at 978-657-7595 or via their website at https://www.wilmingtonma.gov/elderly-services.
Veterans and their families are valued members of our community. The Department of Veterans’ Services will assist veterans or spouses of veterans with determining the state or federal financial benefits to which they are entitled. Benefits might include coverage of medical care or monthly benefit payments for service related injuries. Staff are also available for phone calls to simply listen and can be reached at 978-694-2040 Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. After hours and on weekends they can be reached at 978-404-0435. Go to https://www.wilmingtonma.gov/veterans for additional information.
The Police Department continues to focus on residents struggling with mental health and substance abuse challenges. Samantha Reif, a licensed social worker, is a resource to the department and residents who need assistance. The pandemic has heightened the anxiety of many in the community and for those at risk these last nine months have been particularly challenging. Ms. Reif can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 978-694- 6024. More information is available at https://wpd.org/socialworker.
Since 1945, the Wilmington Community Fund, Inc. (WCF) has pursued their motto of “People helping People.” This non-profit organization run by residents provides food assistance via the food pantry located at 142 Chestnut Street, the former South School. Under the current circumstances the food pantry is set up as a “drive-up” arrangement to minimize person to person contact. Additionally, WCF provides emergency relief assistance with heat and utilities. For those interested in making food donations you may do so at Wilmington Market Basket or Lucci’s Market. The Community Fund also accepts monetary donations. For more information contact 978-658-7425 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to their website at http://www.commfund.org.
We’re One Wilmington (WOW) supports Wilmington families and individuals who are experiencing financial, emotional or medical emergencies. Some of their programs include providing assistance with meals, household goods, utility bills, care packages & back-to- school supplies. You may visit their website for a detailed description of their programs and applications at www.onewilmington.org. This non-profit is also fully volunteer based and is dependent upon donations. Donations can be made to P.O. Box 25, Wilmington, MA 01887. Questions should be directed email@example.com.
Local Heroes is another local non-profit operated by volunteers for the past sixteen years. This organization has sent 18,000 care packages to military personnel stationed around the world and continues to do so. In addition, Local Heroes assists troops returning home to re-enter civil society. Support has included fuel assistance, covering phone bills and payments on automobile loans. Individuals seeking assistance may call 978-694-2040. Residents seeking to support the efforts of Local Heroes may send financial donations to Local Heroes Inc. at P.O. Box 536, Wilmington, MA 01887.
The groups listed here are only some of the organizations supporting the community. One of the most enduring and endearing traits exemplified by residents and businesses in Wilmington is the willingness and eagerness to support those in need. While government has a role in assisting its citizens during challenging times, government cannot do it alone and in Wilmington the generosity of residents provides for additional “helping hands.”
Throughout this pandemic town employees in all departments have stepped up to maintain services. Over the next few months Michael Ferrara, Water Division foreman; Linda Golden, Assistant Town Clerk; Robert Mauriello, Public Buildings Foreman, and Barry Ferrara, Public Buildings Carpenter, will retire. Collectively they have provided the town with over 112 years of dedicated service. Each individual is extended best wishes for a healthy and active retirement.
In the words of Desmond Tutu “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.” As a community we must believe that this pandemic will pass. In the meantime it is our collective responsibility to make the choices that hasten its passing and where possible look out for our neighbors.
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