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In a crisis, social services office steps up

SHARON —Town social services departments have their hands full in the best of times. But when there’s a pandemic, efforts to provide for the needs of residents go into overdrive.

Miriam Jones, Sharon’s social services agent, is coordinating resources to meet the needs of seniors and others.

“I try to think ahead,” Jones said, describing her connections with Fishes and Loaves food pantry in North Canaan and the Connecticut Food Bank as a start. She is also working with Stop & Shop in North Canaan, praising their generosity to all the food banks in the region.

“I’ve never lived in a town so generous and caring,” she said, speaking of the number of volunteers who have come forward to make calls to people who are unable to leave their homes, or to offer to accompany people who live alone on a walk. These activities add an important social element, she said.

During the COVID-19 crisis, “I’d like my seniors to stay put,” Jones added.

With the provisions closet in her Town Hall office overflowing, Jones said that a recent donation of a side-by-side refrigerator brought her the ability to provide fresh, perishable items.

While she is still working out the specifics, she feels that people will be able to complete an order form and then stop at Town Hall, possibly on Fridays, to have her bring their order outside to them.

While she wants to protect everyone in town, Jones said she is concerned that her volunteers not put themselves in danger. She noted that the median age in town is 60.

For information on unemployment help and a free program offering lunch and breakfast to children, as well as updates on COVID-19, go to www.sharonct.org or call 860-364-1003 for social services.

Making rental payments is expected to become a problem for residents. Average monthly rents in Sharon run between $800 and $1,500, Jones said.  Donations to help with rent can be mailed to the Sharon Community Foundation and mailed to Social Services, Sharon Town Hall, P. O. Box 385, Sharon, CT 06069.

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