“HANDS in the Kitchen” Cooking

Chef Robin Teaching a Cooking ClassWe’re thrilled that Chef Robin was able to offer more “HANDS in the Kitchen” workshops. As always, she offered cooking suggestions and lots of education about all of the great fresh produce that abounds in the summertime and how to eat healthy foods during the winter. And it’s always lovely to share a meal together at the end of each class. Workshops are FREE to anyone 50 years or older, thanks to funding from HANDS, Vermont Community Garden Network, Thayer House Resident Fund, and others.

HANDS provided an 8-week cooking and nutrition series in collaboration with Chef Robin Burnett, Thayer House, and Vermont Community Garden Network. During March and April, Chef Robin shared cooking hints, nutrition tips, and taste-testing at Thayer House, 1197 North Avenue in Burlington. There was a different theme each week and the entire series was FREE for anyone 50 years or older.

“HANDS in the Dirt” Gardening Program

This summer, we had garden sites at Canal Street Veterans Housing in Winooski, Ethan Allen Residence in the New North End of Burlington, St. John’s Hall in Burlington, St. Michael’s College in Colchester (for veterans gardens), and Thayer House in Burlington. We also offered some support to programs at the Champlain Senior Center in Burlington, Heineberg Senior Housing in the New North End in Burlington, and Wright House in Shelburne. We’re very happy to partner with Burlington Veterans Administration, Camp Johnson, Committee on Temporary Shelter, Charlie Nardozzi, St. Michael’s College, and most especially Vermont Community Garden Network to bring programming to each of these locations. Very special thanks to Red Wagon Plants for all of the gorgeous plants. If additional funding comes our way, we can grow to even more sites next spring!

Please check out this video in which Todd Bowling is the star. This is at the St. Michael’s College veterans garden site in 2016.

Holiday Dinner

For the 12th year, we helped to provide a non-denominational meal delivery as well as a shared sitdown dinner on Christmas Day throughout Chittenden County. We partnered with Age Well (formerly Champlain Valley Agency on Aging), Burlington School Food Project, Elks Club, and Temple Sinai among hundreds of volunteers and businesses.

Some years ago, Age Well (formerly Champlain Valley Agency on Aging) requested that we take over their Christmas Day meal delivery program as well. This year, we prepared and delivered about 400 meals to older Vermonters. In addition, we collaborated with the Elks Club to help provide a delightful sit-down dinner for 100 seniors and their families. Each person received a wrapped giftbag which, in many cases, was the only gift that a senior received during the holiday season.

We depend on volunteers and businesses to provide donations for the meals and giftbags, wrap gifts, make the meals, staff the sit-down dinner, donate money, and deliver meals. On behalf of older Vermonters, 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 lending a hand!

We’ll be offering meals again on Christmas Day this year.


HANDS was fortunate enough to be contacted by NPR’s StoryCorps in the summer of 2016. Megan Humphrey interviewed Charlie Auer, of “Charlie’s Boathouse” fame, about food long ago in Burlington. Please sit back, relax, and listen to Charlie’s delightful stories.