New normal — two words that hold a whole world of change, adjustment, uncertainty and hope between them. If someone would have told me I would be writing to you from my office overlooking an empty Broad Street because Gov. Evers has told us that we are #safer at home, I would have laughed because that kind of stuff only happens in a blockbuster movie with Tom Cruise, not in Bayfield. Except when it does. And when it does, our community does what it does best — we come together and figure it out.
For over 13 years, CORE's programs and services have been firmly grounded in one concept — person-to-person connection. Coronavirus has turned that concept on its head and we've spent the past couple of weeks figuring out how to continue our good work while recognizing that we must all keep our distance to protect our most vulnerable community members. It's been a good exercise in innovative thinking, reacquainting ourselves with the intention behind our work, and seeking collaboration with our partners who are grappling with a similar set of issues.
We’ve partnered with the Chequamegon Bay Community Care Network, a group that formed in response to the Coronavirus pandemic to provide mutual aid to people in our community. The CBCC network is coordinating volunteers and support requests in Ashland, Marengo, Mellen and on the Bad River Reservation. CORE is coordinating volunteers and support requests from Washburn to the South Shore communities, including the Red Cliff Reservation.
CORE is also working with the Bayfield Food Pantry to expand its service area to include the Red Cliff Reservation and to expand its hours to Wednesdays and Thursdays 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Food selection is temporarily suspended and community members will receive a pre-packed allotment of groceries based on household size (no exchanges or substitutions) once a month. The Food Pantry is located in the Bates Art Barn at 14 S. Broad St.
CBCC and CORE have more than 100 volunteers now offering:
• Pick-up and delivery of groceries, medications, mail, etc.
• Pet-sitting and dog-walking
• Social support (friendly phone conversations)
• Scheduling assistance (calling doctors and pharmacists)
• Technology assistance
• Homework help
If you are in the Ashland area, contact CBCC at 716-262-9679 or or visit its website at cheqbaycc.org.
If you are in the Bayfield area, contact CORE at 715-779-3457 or .
We would greatly appreciate it if you could pass this information along to people you know who may need support — especially those who may not use the computer. Things are likely to change and evolve and we will send out updates with the latest developments. In the meantime, please get in touch with me if you have questions or ideas for making our new normal feel a bit more familiar.
Mary Dougherty is executive director of CORE C