By Linda Gilbert
The Charlotte News
January 10, 2008

CHARLOTE – January 19 through February 9, many of your neighbors will not be shoveling snow, skiing or wearing scarves to keep them warm. They will, however, be doing another type of work that will keep them very warm: shoveling sand, carrying cement blocks, providing physical and occupational therapy to children, providing medical clinics, conducting fire and rescue training, constructing playgrounds, building school classrooms, painting schools and starting a “Soccer for Tela Kids Program”.

Volunteers also will sort and distribute medical equipment and school supplies from the 40 foot container being shipped from Vermont. Supplies include wheelchairs, a complete playground, soccer equipment, tools, clothing, toys and another example: The Baby Jogger Project was started when the Vermont physical therapists witnessed that many of the Honduran families have to carry their children for miles to get treatment at the Rehab Therapies Center, built in 2006 and 2007 by the program. Many families are poor and have no transportation. Throughout 2007, Vermont- Hands to Honduras-Tela volunteers sent a plea to their local communities requesting used baby joggers – and collected more than 35! The baby joggers will travel via the container. A baby jogger is a god send for the special needs children and their families. The joggers have a wide base, three big wheels that make it easy to maneuver on dirt roads, and they have cushioning that supports children quite well.

The volunteer team of 70 will spend one, two or three weeks in Tela, Honduras with the Vermont-Hands to Honduras-Tela program. Volunteers include 15 from Charlotte, 14 from Shelburne, 4 from Hinesburg. The remainder are from Vergennes, Williston, Essex, Middlebury, Burlington, Barre, Bristol, Montpelier, Lincoln and Underhill Center. Out of state volunteers are from Maine, Maryland and Alabama.

Your Charlotte neighbors who are participating in this humanitarian service trip: Liz Foster, Sarah Sprayregen, Louisa Schibli, Scott Schibli, Jeanne Greenblatt, Zak Adams, John Moses, Tyler Hawkins, Meredidth Moses, Peter Moses, Dorrice Hammer, John Hammer, Al Gilbert, Linda Gilbert and Cher Feitelberg (S. Burlington) from the Charlotte Central School.

Thank you to the Charlotte community for generously donating both financially and with in kind supplies and equipment. You are helping the Honduran children have a better life.