Changing Seasons

The summertime was wonderful. We were able to have “HANDS in the Dirt” gardening programs at a number of different sites…everything from donated plants from Red Wagon Plants to full-on weekly programs. The harvest is continuing at some of the sites and that is so delightful. We also provided a “HANDS in the Kitchen” nutrition education 8-week workshop series. And our partnership with Feeding Chittenden’s “Good Food Truck” to get a hot meal delivered weekly to low-income seniors in Winooski continues.

Many of us feel some level of melancholy as the seasons shift from summertime to autumn. We say goodbye to swimming and boating and hiking. We feel the air getting cooler, see the leaves changing colors.

So, that means it’s time to start the planning for our annual Holiday Dinner on Christmas Day. Folks 50 years and older will be able to either have a hot meal and giftbag delivered to their home or gather together to share a meal. The whole community comes together to bring some joy to folks who might otherwise be alone. You, too, can lend a hand! We’ll need everything from giftcards to hand-knitted hats and scarves to canned goods to financial donations. Please check www.handsvt.org/wish-list to see how you can help. Thanks so much and enjoy the colorful leaves and the crispy mornings!

The old and the new…

The old year has left us and the new is underway. On Christmas Day, we helped get 700 hot meals and giftbags to seniors all over the county….our biggest effort ever! Thanks to so many of you who donated giftbag items, delivered meals, served folks, giftwrapped, donated money—every bit helped to create a remarkable community event.

Now, we’re planning garden programs for the spring and summer as well as wishing we had more of Chef Robin’s time to provide her fabulous “HANDS in the Kitchen” workshops. Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!

Thank YOU!

In this season of gratitude, I want to thank YOU for helping us to provide food to low-income seniors. Through meal deliveries, gardening programs, and nutrition education workshops, we’re filling some gaps.

From now until Christmas Day, we’ll be organizing two meal options—both a meal delivery as well as a sitdown dinner—and gathering items for 500 giftbags to be delivered all over the county on Christmas Day. Thanks for being an angel among us and part of a remarkable community!

Gearing Up

We’re gearing up for the holiday season. That will include a flurry of activity surrounding Holiday Dinner plans for both a delivered meal and sitdown dinner, giftbags, and fundraising. We can’t do it without you! We’re thrilled to announce that Jess Hyman will be helping to coordinate volunteers and manage the giftbag items and giftwrapping events. If you’d like to volunteer over the next few months or want to donate some goodies for our giftbags, please contact Jess Hyman at jessicahymanvt@gmail.com. If you’d like to reserve a meal or donate to our fundraising efforts, please contact Megan Humphrey at handsvt@gmail.com. Thank you!

Springtime News

It feels as though springtime is dragging her feet this year. There were snowflakes in the air again today! Yesterday, Michelle (Vermont Community Garden Network), Kris (St. Joseph’s Home), Theresa (our HANDS intern), and I met outside in the chill to plan this year’s “HANDS in the Dirt” garden program there—it’s a new site and we’re thrilled to get some seniors outside growing veggies and herbs.

Bibens Ace Hardware added to our excitement when they donated some garden tools for St. Joseph’s. Thank you, David!

We’re finalizing this summer’s garden programs at senior housing and long-term nursing centers and we’ll be announcing those soon. We’ll have a nice mix of locations that participated last year and some new gardens.

We had our 6th Annual “A Show of HANDS” fundraiser last week and raised $8,000. Thanks to everyone who donated artwork, made a bid, or donated…money raised will go directly toward our gardening programs.

Spring to Summer

Time flies as we shift from wintertime to planning our summer gardens. With snow on the ground, it’s fun to imagine the smell of green and the feel of sunshine-filled dirt. We’ll be deciding on where we’ll have garden sites, including as many seniors as we possibly can. Thanks to Vermont Community Garden Network, gardening expert Charlie Nardozzi, and many of you, we can dream of getting fresh veggies to low-income seniors.

Heading toward the holidays

As October winds down, with its lovely and unusually warm weather, we know that the chilly winds and snow-filled clouds are heading our way. It’s so nice to look back at our “HANDS in the Dirt” gardening programs and “HANDS in the Kitchen” workshops that we offered this year, in partnership with Vermont Community Garden Network and with the help of Vermont Community Foundation among so many others.

Now, we’re gearing up for the Holiday Dinner on Christmas Day. We’ll be delivering about 400 meals and giftbags, either through our home delivery around Chittenden County or at a sitdown dinner at the Elks Club in Burlington. Our “Events” and “Get Involved” pages have more info about how you can help. Thank you so much!

Looking forward to summertime

Between all of the raindrops this spring, we’re planning the summer “HANDS in the Dirt” gardening programs. We’ll have gardens and related programs at Canal Street Veterans Housing, Ethan Allen Residence, St. John’s Hall, St. Michael’s College (veterans garden), and Thayer House. And we’re lending support to the programs at Champlain Senior Center, Heineberg Senior Housing, and Wright House. We’re lucky enough to have the help of gardening expert Charlie Nardozzi, Red Wagon Plants, and Vermont Community Garden Network among so many others.

I’d like to clone Chef Robin! She’s such a great teacher. She’ll be back at Thayer House to teach us all about fresh produce in her summer workshop series.

And we’ll be starting a brand new pilot project to get meals delivered to some low-income seniors in Winooski. The Good Food Truck, through the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf, will be preparing and dropping off the meals. Thank you, Emmet and Ren!

New Cooking Program!

We’re thrilled to announce a new program! In collaboration with Chef Robin Burnett, Thayer House, and Vermont Community Garden Network, we’re offering an 8-week cooking and nutrition series called “HANDS in the Kitchen”. Anyone 50 years and older is welcome to join us at NO CHARGE on Tuesdays in March and April. Folks can come to one or all of the classes at 4:30 at Thayer House (1197 North Avenue in Burlington) on March 7, 14, 21, & 28 as well as April 4, 11, 18, & 25. Chef Robin will be emphasizing ways to cook less expensively and eating in a way that’s healthy. For more info, please contact us at handsvt@gmail.com.

Happy New Year!

Our Holiday Dinner on Christmas Day was so heartwarming this year, thanks to many of you. We delivered many more hot meals and giftbags all over Chittenden County than last year—310 meals this year, 225 meals last year. In addition, we provided another 170 giftbags at the Elks Club sitdown dinner. On a tough day for so many people, we were able to bring a little sunshine into their lives. Special thanks to Age Well, Burlington School Food Project, Elks Club, Temple Sinai, and hundreds of businesses and individuals who volunteered time, provided giftbag items, and donated money to help with expenses.

Up next, we’ll be offering cooking/nutrition workshops at a couple of housing sites over the winter. And this spring, we’ll gear up to provide more senior gardening programs, in partnership with Vermont Community Garden Network.

During the month of March, 100 decorated wooden hands will adorn the walls at Penny Cluse CafĂ©…with an auction on Thursday, March 30. So, we hope to see you then!