Our Food Shelf offers reliable, nutritious food to an average of 1,200 households a month in a welcoming environment. We rely on volunteers to operate and offer these services; without volunteers, our Food Shelf would not function. Volunteers assist customers, assemble Food Shelf orders, and sort, stock, and breakdown product. We have volunteer shifts available Monday-Thursday 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and Friday 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
Volunteers greet shoppers and check them in for our Food Shelf as they arrive at the Haven. Providing a welcoming environment, volunteers are often the first face a customer will see. Volunteers will be trained on and use a laptop to enter customer information into our online database. Two-hour shifts are available Monday-Thursday 9:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. and Friday 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.
The Upper Valley Haven is proud of its edible landscape, encompassing over 80 different fruits, vegetables, and herbs spread across our campus. As part of the UVM Master Gardener Program, we are able to offer hours for individuals needing experience for their education program. We also encourage those who have no gardening experience to join. Each gardening session is led by a Vermont Master Gardener who is happy to provide advice and direction. We provide all necessary tools and training. Our gardening shifts are on Saturday mornings.
The Haven provides 60-80 lunches a day as part of our Grab & Go Food Shelf service. Volunteers help in two ways: some support our prepared meal program on site by assembling lunches in our café kitchen, while others cook at home and drop off prepared side items or baked goods. For individuals needing flexibility, preparing food at home is a great way to help individuals experiencing food insecurity during times that work best for you. Take-out lunch assembly shifts are Monday-Thursday 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Hixon House was built in 2010 to meet the rapidly increasing need for an adult shelter in the Upper Valley region. It can accommodate up to 20 guests, although it is currently at lower capacity due to COVID-19. Hixon House Dinner Volunteers support guests living in the shelter by providing home cooked meals. This is a great way to brighten someone’s day while volunteering remotely and around your schedule. Volunteer shifts are available 7 days a week, prepare meals at home on your own schedule, and drop them off directly to the Hixon House the day you were scheduled to volunteer. The Haven is happy to provide ingredients and aluminum disposable pans.
We love groups! Many area businesses and schools have joined us, including King Arthur Baking Company, Hypertherm, Dartmouth College students and faculty, Mascoma Bank, and others, have joined us to complete projects that require more hands. Due to COVID-19 we are currently limiting the size of our groups to 8-10 people. For more information, email Matt Pickell.
More Ways to Help
- Create opportunities for a Haven staff member to speak to your class, faith group, or club. Creating awareness of the Haven in our community is of the utmost importance to the success of our organization.
- Write a letter to the editor or to your local legislator about lack of affordable housing in your community. Public awareness is a great way to affect change.
- Have a “giving party”! Choose something to celebrate and have guests bring items that can benefit those in need. We accept unexpired food items and other currently needed items that are listed on our homepage.
- Lead skill development workshops on topics of interest to our guests (interview skills, parenting, computer skills, budgeting, arts etc.)
- Organize a food drive and deliver items to the Food Shelf. If you and your friends and family would like to stock the food yourself, schedule a time after regular hours to do so.
- Collect and organize cloth bags or recycle plastic bags for use in the Food Shelf.
- Participate in a sort-a-thon for the Vermont Food Bank located in Barre. This helps the Haven in two ways. Until food is sorted and packaged, it is not available for purchase at discount to food shelves like ours. Also, volunteers who participate in a sort-a-thon can designate an organization to donate food bank money. For every hour spent, the Haven could be designated to receive $2 worth of food! ($2 can go further than you think at $0.18/lb!) For more information visit www.vtfoodbank.org.