Upper Valley Haven Marks 40 Years of Service to the Region’s Most Vulnerable Residents

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Upper Valley Haven
40th Anniversary Media Release

For release: December 7, 2020

Contact: Ashley Wood
Communications & Events Manager
Upper Valley Haven
713 Hartford Avenue
White River Junction, VT 05001
(802) 478-1806



On December 8, 2020, the Upper Valley Haven, a non-profit organization that provides food, shelter, supportive housing, housing navigation, community education, children’s programs, and problem-solving services to people challenged by poverty, will begin a yearlong observance of its 40th anniversary. Founded in 1980 by five area churches, the organization began by sheltering homeless families on a temporary basis in a converted farmhouse on Hartford Avenue. Today, it has grown into a private, separately incorporated, comprehensive social service agency that operates 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, fostering independence and offering support to more than 14,500 people annually.

The Haven will commemorate its four decades of service to the region by releasing “The Haven Through 40 Years,” a serialized celebration of the people, events, ideas and services fundamental to its work and mission. The anniversary will also be an occasion to launch a lecture series on rural poverty, its causes, consequences, and solutions. Speakers will include Robert Drake, M.D., Ph.D., Vice President for Social Policy and Economics Research at Westat, Inc. and the Andrew Thompson Professor of Health Policy and Clinical Practice at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and Elizabeth Carpenter-Song, Ph.D., Research Associate Professor at Dartmouth College and The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice at the Geisel School. Other speakers for the series will be announced in 2021.

Early in 2021, the Haven will announce the formation of a new planned giving program, “The Paul and Mary Feeney Legacy Circle,” named after the long-running host couple at the Haven family shelter. Mary began working at the Haven in 1983 with her late husband and continued until her retirement in 2014. She remains a beloved friend of the Haven.

The year-long celebration will culminate in an event, hopefully safely in-person, at which members of the charter class of the Upper Valley Haven Founders Society will be announced. The Founders Society recognizes the people most important to the history and success of the Haven selected by a committee of its Board of Directors.

“It has been our great honor to serve the Upper Valley community over the past 40 years, ” said Stacey Chiocchio, President of the Haven’s Board of Directors. “It is difficult to adequately describe the stress and range of emotions surrounding homelessness and poverty. The same is true of the rewards our donors, staff and volunteers experience from helping those in need.”

According to Executive Director Michael Redmond, the Haven’s story is one of community caring and energy. “Our first 20 years were dedicated to creating and living a mission, principles and values. The decade from 1999 to 2009 was devoted to developing place: establishing the campus on Hartford Avenue to better provide services to our neighbors in need. The years since 2009 have been about developing programs and networks, both in discovering the best ways to provide services and partner with other nonprofit agencies toward a stronger community. In the years ahead, we will continue to build on the growth of that knowledge and strengthen the organization as a sustainable entity for decades to come.”

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The Upper Valley Haven is non-profit, private organization that serves people struggling with poverty by providing food, shelter, supportive housing, community education, children’s programs and problem-solving services. Since 1980, we have worked to create a community where people find hope and discover possibility. We do that by welcoming all who enter our doors as equals, respecting their dignity and accepting them without judgment; encouraging those we serve to develop their capacity for independence and self-sufficiency; seeking the support and participation of the community; and by being thrifty with our resources, generous in our hospitality and accountable to the individuals and organizations that support us. The Haven is open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year and never charges for any of its services. We serve more than 14,500 people annually.

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