Giving Meaning


Donors reflect on why they choose to support the Haven

The Upper Valley Haven is powered by generosity. Every year, about 70% of the $3 million contributed to the Haven that allows us to operate the shelters, food shelf and our other services comes directly from people making individual gifts. Each of our 5,000 donors has different motivations for giving, with as many reasons as there are people.

Here are a few of their stories:

Jun Chewning, a 13-year-old from West Lebanon, N.H., was inspired by a classmate in elementary school. “She told him she lived at the Haven,” says Jun’s mom, Kim. “He always remembered that and realized how important the Haven is because of that friend.” Last December, Jun, who is skilled at making origami, sold his beautiful folded-paper creations with all proceeds benefitting the Haven. He raised an incredible $909!

Tim Keane and his wife, Blythe, give because 32 years ago, Tim was one of those kids that lived at the Haven. “In 1989, my dad had been working in St. Croix. Our family—five kids plus my parents—lost everything when Hurricane Hugo hit the island,” explains Tim, who now lives in Thetford Center, Vt. “We ended up in Vermont because my dad had previously bought land in Orange. We lived at the Haven until we could homestead on the property.”

“I remember that the Haven gave me a warm, secure, nurturing feeling after so much uncertainty,” he continues. “We were able to get food and clothing, and I went to the elementary school down the hill. I have a really good understanding of the work the Haven does,” says Tim, who also volunteers at the Food Shelf. “I give and I volunteer because I want to be part of the good that the Haven does for another family.”

Jane Darrach gives because she sees the Upper Valley real estate market and the need for housing firsthand. “I’ve worked in real estate in Hanover, N.H., for 26 years,” she says. “To me, supporting the Haven is a way of leveling the scales a bit.” Jane eventually deepened her involvement with the Haven by serving on the Board of Directors. “From that experience, I can tell you how incredibly frugal the Haven is. They manage every dollar so carefully. People can feel good about giving to the Haven,” Jane concludes. “Every gift makes a difference, and helps the Haven make a difference in people’s lives.”

Five thousand donors, each with their own reasons for supporting the Haven. We are so grateful that each and every one wants to join us in making a difference in the lives of the thousands of people who have turned to the Haven for help over our first 40 years.

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