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!
Happy Summer 2014!
We’ve had a great year, so far. Two delightful art shows and auctions were held at Penny Cluse Café and August First Bakery this springtime as a benefit for HANDS. Many artists decorated wooden hands and donated them. In turn, we held auctions and the gorgeous hands now hang in homes all over the area. Special thanks to the artists as well as business owners Holly Cluse and Jodi Whalen!
Next up, we’ve received some funding from New England Grass Roots Environment Fund so that we can improve some raised garden beds at the Ethan Allen Residence in Burlington. We’ll provide 8 weeks of educational programming and the chance for residents and their families, staff, and hopefully some neighborhood kids to play in the dirt, spend time in the sunshine growing their own food, learning even more about healthy food choices, and nurturing friendships. HANDS is partnering with the Vermont Community Garden Network and Ethan Allen Residence. Stay tuned for photos and stories to come!
We were delighted to serve and deliver 250 meals and giftbags this year on Christmas Day, with the help of many volunteers and businesses. We sent drivers all over the county to make people’s day happier. Then, we had a community meal at Heineberg Senior Center, too, for an additional 50 folks. Thanks to so MANY people who helped to make this special day possible!
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!