Even though it snowed this morning, we’ll be meeting later this week at one of our new garden sites. That always seems so hopeful!
We’re waiting to hear back about some potential funding, but we’ll at least be gardening with seniors (and kids, too, at a couple of the locations) at 4 different sites around Chittenden County. We’re continuing our delightful collaboration with Vermont Community Garden Network and gardening expert Charlie Nardozzi. For the third year, we’ll have a gardening program at Ethan Allen Residence, a long-term nursing center. Our new locations include the COTS Canal Street Veterans Housing in Winooski; a partnership with St. Michael’s College, Camp Johnson, and the Veterans Administration; and the Archibald Street Community Garden where we’ll be gardening with seniors and a local childcare center. We’re paying special attention to older veterans and older New Americans.
It will be so nice to see lots of green again, be outside in the sunshine, and have more folks engaging with gardening.
Here are some of the kids who will be joining us at the Archibald Street gardens.
It’s snowing at the moment…I never seem quite ready for winter, but it comes along anyways.
With Thanksgiving next week, I just wanted to pause to count my blessings. Everything I do has even greater reach because of so many others, those in organizations, businesses, and as individuals. Thank you to each and every one of you who volunteer time, money, and goods to help have HANDS reach our goal of filling some gaps in getting food to older Vermonters.
May you be surrounded by family and friends as you celebrate the holiday season.
After a glorious autumn, we’re gearing up for the holiday season. As part of a huge community effort, we’ll be providing the 10th Annual Holiday Dinner for Seniors—both a delivered meal and sitdown dinner, complete with giftbags, on Christmas Day throughout Chittenden County. The Burlington School Food Project, Champlain Valley Agency on Aging, Elks Lodge, Temple Sinai, and many others come together to make the holiday season sweeter for almost 300 older Vermonters.
This summer, we were happy to partner with the Vermont Community Garden Network and the New England Grassroots Environment Fund to provide new gardens and an 8-week educational program at Ethan Allen Residence, a nursing center. It was very satisfying as Maggie Callahan enticed folks to come on out into the sunshine, play in the dirt, have healthy snacks, and chat with each other.
If we can raise enough money, we’ll be able to fund a couple of senior centers as they try to continue providing meals for older Vermonters. That would be great!
Looking ahead to March, Penny Cluse Café will host our annual “Show of HANDS”, decorated wooden hands that adorn the walls there and are then purchased through a silent auction. Holly Cluse, Charles Reeves, and the staff there are so generous and enthusiastic.
So, there’s lots going on as we launch our annual fundraising efforts, plan the holiday season, and begin to pass out the wooden hands for artistic inspiration. Thanks to everyone who will help along the way!
We had a WONDERFUL time on Christmas Day! With the help of many elves, we packed up almost 200 lasagna dinners and giftbags at Burlington High School and then sent volunteer drivers out to deliver them all around Chittenden County.
We then moved the rest of the dinner and giftbags over to Heineberg Senior Center. With a bit of a scramble, we quickly set up appetizers, place settings, and all of the other aspects of the sitdown dinner. The room filled with people happy to just gather to share a meal and friendship. Santa showed up (who knew that he’d still have so much energy left?!) to dole out more gifts. Smiles and laughter filled the room as piano music floated by.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to every person or business who pitched in to make this sweet day happen! I cannot imagine that anywhere else in the country could possibly have as many generous people as the ones who live right here. I have already heard from seniors in the area who were thrilled to either receive a hot meal and giftbag at home or join us at Heineberg.
We’ll be turning our attention shortly to some new endeavors such as fundraising for some more year-round meals programs in the area and an intergenerational gardening project with Friends of Burlington Gardens so that some older Vermonters will be able to grow some of their own food. The biggest key to our continued success is our ability to bring in funding. If you’d like to be an angel, please consider donating to HANDS. Thank you so much.
Happy New Year to one and all!