Reflections in the Time of Pandemic: Sarah Stanton and the Select Board

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“I didn’t think we would still be here a year later, yet here we are,” Town Manager Sarah Stanton said, echoing a sentiment that many can understand a year following the unofficial start of Covid-19 within the Bedford community.

In her March 8 presentation to the Select Board, Stanton offered her gratitude to individuals and organizations that she credits with helping the town through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Stanton praised the Town of Bedford employees, to whom she wrote that the “staff rose to the occasion to support our community, deliver services in new ways, and continue a long-standing tradition of providing exemplary public service.”

Specifically, Stanton highlighted three departments for their commitment to the town’s Covid-19 efforts:

  • The Health and Human Services Department, under Director Heidi Porter, for its work which Stanton described as “exemplary.”
  • The Bedford Fire Department, whose “willingness to roll up their sleeves and help with the testing program” made them a valuable asset.
  • Taissir Alani’s facilities department, which cleaned and ensured programs were available for reopening public buildings, including schools.

Among the organizations highlighted was the Bedford food pantry, which has been in operation every week since March 2020. The food bank, which helped serve the influx of families from the pre-existing Bedford Community Table and Food Pantry, utilizes town staff and volunteers’ work. Food is provided from the Greater Boston Food Bank, Gaining Ground, Chip-In Farm, and other sources.

In addition to the weekly food distribution, the food bank helped struggling families provide a Thanksgiving meal. Multiple town organizations and businesses, including Millipore Sigma, Barrett Sotheby, and the Bedford Rotary Club, helped cover the food’s cost.

In addition to the community involvement in the food pantry, several other organizations donated face masks, gift bags to help seniors with isolation, and initiated Operation Feed the Soul, which provided meals for essential workers in the region.

During the holiday season, Stanton also highlighted the work done by community members to ensure that families disadvantaged by the Covid-19 pandemic had holiday gifts. Included in her thanks were Bedford Santa, which donated $5,000 in gift cards, and Beacon Santa, which similarly distributed gift cards to struggling families.

Project Ezra, which includes volunteers from Temple Isaiah in Lexington and Temple Shir Tikvah in Winchester, helped cook and deliver a warm meal on Christmas Eve.

Following Stanton’s presentation, members of the Select Board issued their appreciation for the town’s efforts.

Editor’s Note: Town Manager Stanton’s remarks were offered during the Select Board meeting on March 8; the meeting was covered by Ryan Doucette, The Citizen’s reporter.

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