This winter season, Staff Council will be unable to hold our annual food drive. In light of this, and in acknowledgement of the extraordinary year that's caused so many of our neighbors to struggle to make ends meet, the Staff Council Office, the Social Committee, and the Community Engagement Committee have put their heads together to bring you this list as a place to start when looking for ways to help your community through these cold months. Make sure you check out the many other awesome local organizations near you who may be in need of assistance.
Food and Meals
Food banks are distribution hubs that supply food to soup kitchens, food pantries, and shelters. Find your local food banks and food shelves with this handy search function and contact them to ask how you can help - with donations of food, money, or volunteer hours.
You can also reach out to your local soup kitchens to see how you can help. This search directory provides some soup kitchen locations by zip code or town/city. Not everything is listed there so ask around your local community for smaller and/or newer operations.
A few prominent organizations who serve up free hot meals to the community include:
Support Black-Owned Businesses
Do your holiday shopping and dining and hire and support local Vermont Black-owned businesses, restaurants, crafts, and services using this great spreadsheet. Be sure to navigate through the tabs along the bottom to see all the different lists.
Toys for Kids of Vermont
United Way of Northwest Vermont
Operation Happiness, run by United Way of Northwest Vermont, provides food and toys for nearly 1,000 families and their children (16 and under) in Franklin and Grand Isle counties during the holiday season. Drop off toys at any of the Toys for Kids of VT barrels in these counties, or at the St Albans Free Library. To volunteer your time, contact Gwen at 802-309-0960.
Send monetary donations to:
412 Farrell St, Suite 200
South Burlington, VT 05403
Please make checks payable to UWNWVT and write “Operation Happiness” in the memo line of the check.
Black Lives Matter of Greater Burlington
Due to structural racism intersecting with public health, the pandemic has disproportionately harmed Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC). Donate to Black Lives Matter of Greater Burlington and help with their mission "to see the greater Burlington area transformed into a place where all Black people thrive bodily, socially, and economically."
Steps to End Domestic Violence
Steps to End Domestic Violence invites you to sponsor a child affected by domestic violence by fulfilling a holiday wish list. Volunteers will be provided with the age and gender of the child and the option to buy up to two gifts not to exceed $50.
Volunteers are also needed to accept presents and help sort them so that every child participating receives the items on their holiday list. Contact Bessie McManus at 658-3131, Ext. 1068 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can help this organization by purchasing an item on their Amazon Wishlist.
HANDS: Helping and Nurturing Diverse Seniors
H.A.N.D.S. (Helping and Nurturing Diverse Seniors) is putting together gift bags for seniors and is seeking financial contributions in any amount, and/or donations of canned goods & food items, and gifts, such as hats & gloves for both men and women, toiletries, art supplies, crossword puzzle books, $20 Hannaford cards, and several other items. They have a handy chart showing what has already been donated and what they still need.
Use this form to let them know what you'll donate and to arrange pick-up or drop-off.
Learn more here.
Contact Jess at email@example.com with any questions.
The Howard Center seeks gifts to support clients to buy food & essential items and enable them to participate in holiday observances. Give online with a credit card, or mail gift cards or a check to:
Howard Center, ATTN: Client Needs/Holiday Giving Fund
208 Flynn Avenue, Suite 3J
Burlington, VT 05401
Lamoille Family Center
The Lamoille Family Center organizes two projects every year to make the holidays a bit brighter for area families: the Holiday Project and the Adopt A Family Project. Learn more about both.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army runs an Adopt-A-Family Program in Burlington. Contact Elizabeth Nicoll at firstname.lastname@example.org to participate - simply let her know how many children you would like to adopt and she will respond with the information you need. Last year they served over 362 families and this year will serve well over this number.