It never ceases to amaze us how community members continue to find unique ways to give to the Haven. Some donate money or food. Some volunteer their time. Others respond to special drives for school supplies or warm winter clothing.
We also have volunteers who come to the Haven to share a special skill that will benefit others. We have two stylists who come to the Haven to give free haircuts to people who cannot afford it. We have a calligraphy expert who creates personalized holiday ornaments for shelter guests.
It is inspiring to see the variety of these contributions. Equally as interesting is the serendipitous ways these contributions come about. Often, someone will share an idea about how they’d like to give to the Haven and then various pieces or other related donors will fall into place. Some staff members refer to it as “Haven Magic” and we’ve written about it before.
It happened earlier this month when we received a call from someone who would like to give a donation of pork to our Food Shelf. Just for context, we give beef, poultry, pork, or other meat to each household that comes to the Food Shelf (8 ounces per person in the household). We serve 1,250 households per month or about 3,500 people, meaning that we need to have 1,750 pounds of meat available per month. This is a conservative estimate that doesn’t include what we give to other agencies and food shelves on a regular basis, nor what we need for Haven programs.
Given this level of need in our Food Shelf, we were pleased to receive the generous offer from a community member for a large donation of pork. The only catch was that it needed to be prepared by a butcher and would cost around $600. As this was unfolding at the Haven, a volunteer happened to overhear part of the discussion and offered to help by covering the $600 to $700 cost herself. Later, we learned that a second donor had heard about this meat donation to the Haven from the butcher and volunteered to donate two more pigs himself, doubling the original donation. And then, a third farmer heard about the first two, and donated two more pigs …and the butcher decided to prepare all six animals at his cost, keeping the total price to the original quote.
Not always, but often at the Haven, when needs arise, community members will step in to fill the gap or help solve the issue. It is an honor to work among this generous network of Upper Valley people looking out for each other.