****Update on September 26, 2020****
In partnership with Heineberg Community Senior Center, we shifted gears mid-March in response to COVID-19 and created our brand-new “Support Buddies” program. With the help of other organizations and many volunteers, we’re helping to provide food, supplies, and love through delivered groceries and phonecall check-ins in these stressful times.
With many senior centers, senior housing, and long-term nursing centers still closed to visitors and in-home health care on-hold, seniors may feel more isolated. Many of these folks, especially those living alone, face loneliness, social isolation, lack of proper nutrition and meals, insufficient health checks and medical treatments, unfilled prescriptions, and a great deal of anxiety and fear. Without Internet access for too many, loneliness can be magnified. “Support Buddies” matches these seniors, 60 years or older, with volunteers willing to help.
We are also partnering with the City of Burlington’s Resource & Recovery Center (thank you, Will Clavelle, Abby Portman, and others!) in lining up restaurants in the area who want to help—they have supplies on hand and a staff they’d like to keep employed. We’ve been receiving meals from August First, Barrio Bakery, City Market, Great Northern, Penny Cluse Café, and Sweetwaters through the summer.
In a collaboration with Heineberg Senior Community Center and the New North End Food Pantry, we’re in the process of renovating some space for greater and safer food distribution. It will have a separate entrance, increased storage space for a dry goods “grocery store”, and more freezers. It’s been another heartwarming community endeavor. Thanks to everyone who’s pitched in with the transformation.
With autumn on our doorstep, we’re still helping out. Volunteers are checking in with seniors and we’re getting meals and groceries to people who need them. Thank you to everyone who’s been “lending a hand”!
How you can help:
-Please touch base with older adults you know by calling to see if they need anything. Sometimes, they’d just love to have someone check-in.
-We don’t want seniors to go hungry! If a senior you know needs groceries or meals, we will try to help get them food. Please contact Kerry at 802-863-3982, Ext 1, Beth at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Megan at email@example.com and we will try to lend a hand.
-Please consider a financial donation to HANDS at www.handsvt.org/wish-list to help offset the costs we’re incurring. Thank you very much!
****In NO case do volunteers enter the homes of any seniors, even if invited! We ask that volunteers sanitize before and after any delivery. Our priority is to keep seniors safe. It’s the only way to stall the spread of this virus.****
Very special thanks to Beth Hammond, Executive Director, and Adele who was the Center Coordinator at Heineberg Community Senior Center. Beth and Adele have been at the core of implementing our “buddy system” and I thank them from the bottom of my heart for her help in responding to this community concern. As Adele moves on to a new adventure, Kerry will be taking her place as the “Support Buddies” Coordinator. Welcome, Kerry!
And thank you, thank you to the many volunteers who have stepped up and helped out in so many ways—from schlepping stuff to making phonecalls to delivering meals and groceries…and everything in-between.
Thanks to each and every one of you who make our community so kind, most especially in these uncertain times!
Megan J. Humphrey, Executive Director of HANDS
Beth Hammond, Executive Director of Heineberg Community Senior Center
HANDS is a small non-profit whose mission is to provide food for older adults (50 years+) in Vermont….with the generous help of hundreds of organizations, businesses, and volunteers. Specifically, we offer a meal and giftbags for about 800 folks on Christmas Day throughout Chittenden County with the help of Age Well, Burlington School Food Project, Michelle Charron and the Elks Club, Penny Cluse Café, Temple Sinai, and hundreds of volunteers and businesses; develop “HANDS in the Dirt” gardening programs in partnership with Red Wagon Plants, Vermont Community Garden Network, and gardening expert Charlie Nardozzi at senior housing, long-term care nursing centers, and community garden sites; provide “HANDS in the Kitchen” workshops with Chef Robin that cover such topics as cooking for one, shopping on a budget, eating healthy foods, & so much more; and our brand-new “Support Buddies” program during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please check our “What We Do” page for more specific info about each program.
Any level of financial support is welcome. Even $5 will help us meet this year’s fundraising goal. On behalf of older adults in Vermont, of whom 7,800 experience some form of food insecurity according to 2013 Hunger Free Vermont statistics, thank you so much for your generosity in making the life of a senior a little bit brighter!