“HANDS in the Kitchen” Nutrition Education

Chef Robin Teaching a Cooking ClassWe’re thrilled that Chef Robin hosts our “HANDS in the Kitchen” workshops. She offers cooking suggestions and lots of education about all of the great fresh food that we can include in our own menus. And it’s always lovely to share food together at the end of each class. Workshops are FREE to anyone 50 years or older thanks to funding from HANDS and Vermont Community Garden Network among others.

The series includes cooking hints, nutrition tips, how to shop on a budget, cooking for one, and taste-testing. There’s a different theme each week so we always leave with great tips.

“HANDS in the Dirt” Gardening Program

Last summer, we had garden sites at Canal Street Veterans Housing in Winooski, Ethan Allen Residence in the New North End of Burlington, and St. Joseph’s Home in Burlington. We also offered some support to Heineberg Senior Housing in the New North End in Burlington. We’re very happy to partner with Committee on Temporary Shelter, gardening expert Charlie Nardozzi, and 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 in 2018!

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 14th year, we helped to provide a non-denominational meal delivery throughout Chittenden County as well as a shared sitdown dinner on Christmas Day. We partnered with Age Well, Burlington School Food Project, Michelle Charron, 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 300 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.