Below are two letters written in regards to the wildly successful fund raiser for The Haven started by Dan Fraser of Norwich's Dan and Whit's fame. I thought them worthy of sharing with the community.
I wanted to comment on Liz's letter (see below if you missed it). Thank you Liz for the kind words. I appreciate the acknowledgment, but I also want to give credit where credit is truly due.
I am thrilled with the success of The 19 Days of Norwich, 1% for the Haven, for several reason. It creates awareness of issues right here in our community, and before we solve global issues we need to start by solving the issues on the local level first. Additionally, it has been a wonderful opportunity for Norwich to work together as a community- just look around and you will see how every single group, organization, resident, business, club and resident is participating. The key to the success is that whether you can give time, materials, money or any combination: it all matters. No ones role is insignificant. I think it is wonderful to travel through town and see so many yellow signs, an impressive dose of community unity supported by everyone. Norwich is finding the spotlight as a town full of generosity and givers, which is much nicer than any other type of press, the true colors are shining through very strongly. I have learned that there is so much willingness, but people just are looking for the direction for their support to have an biggest impact. Matching those that can help in a way that feels comfortable to the success of The 19 Days of Norwich, 1% for the Haven has been why we have thrived. Finally, this has been a win/win for local businesses as residents in Norwich and beyond have returned to shopping all year long with local establishments. The commitment has been felt and will help to secure a strong foundation for keeping this little village strong and vibrant. As so many towns lose their small stores, shops and local restaurants to chain stores, Norwich has put their money behind valuing all this. Once these things are lost rarely can they ever be recovered and we would end up like so many other towns with no community center and only vacant storefronts.
As is pointed out, there are many activities to participate in, but even after the holiday season of giving is over, please remember to continue your support- a gallon of milk, a dozen eggs, donations of food on a specific day. These are all essential to meet the needs of The Haven. You all already do this, my point being that it is noticed and essential, thank you for the continued support so that forward progress can be made.
There are few other places that are as safe and friendly as Norwich, where you know or recognize just about every single person you encounter. And as I look around at all these events and activities, I am seeing all of your faces there too. It is not me that is doing this, but each and everyone of you who is there to support the efforts, for this I am thanking you. All of you has made this happen. I alone am not the one who has donated the money, contributed all the food, but rather it is a community effort. The thanks and praise from Liz is being passed on to each and everyone of you where it truly needs and belongs, because without you this would not be a success at any level.
There are no other words to express OUR success and gratitude.
I will simple say,
On Giving Tuesday I would like to give a heartfelt thank you to the entire Norwich community for embracing the Haven and those we serve this December (and the whole year through).
This effort that Dan Fraser started last year is truly AWESOME. And such a GIFT. It is an enormous undertaking; something the Haven, and I - as the Development & Communications Director - could never fathom doing alone this time of year, or EVER! Things are so incredibly busy on our campus. Last month we hit 1,400 households coming to us for food in just one month. That's over 4,000 people receiving a week's worth of food. We have full shelters with approximately 50 homeless adults and children facing the holidays and all the angst and stresses it entails for those who have so little. And, 40 children rely on the comfort and safety, and the relationships and knowledge they build in our After School Program. Our case managers helped 425 people not staying with us in November, to keep them on their feet and from becoming homeless; and our warming shelter which opened just two-plus weeks ago is busier than last year with an average of seven individuals coming to us for a warm night's rest. This time of year the development and communications team of two uses every minute we have to make sure our 6,000-plus donors are reached and stewarded, and that we stay on task to reaching our $2.2 million operating budget goal by the end of March 2015. Our Food Shelf team is working around the clock to ensure that as food goes out it also comes in, and that they are keeping up with the efforts Upper Valley wide to stock the shelves and more. The Norwich community has given us the BIGGEST gift of all. A gift of time, talent, inspiration, hope, humility, funds... While the town of Norwich is busy building community and working miracles and magic to support us, our staff of 31, and volunteers (of which we have close to 600) back on campus can focus on caring for those who look to us for help every day.
We hope to see everyone out and about at many of the 19 Days of Norwich events Dan has on his ever-growing and inspiring calendar. If you don't see a Haven face it's only because our duty to those we serve, and our many supporters, has taken the few of us who ever have the ability to leave the day to day operations of our programs, somewhere else during that time. We are there with you every step of the way, however. Thank you so much for making the Haven's work possible. It is an honor to be supported by such a community of givers; a group of people that understands a community is only as strong as its most fragile link.
And, what about that Dan Fraser guy? What a gem. Non-stop energy. Thank you, Dan. (I need to know what vitamins you take!) And, thank you Fraser family one and all!
We are having an open house this Sunday from 2:30 - 5 P.M. (there are more details on our website). We urge Norwich residents to come see the Haven up close and personal; to see what we can do thanks to YOUR leadership support! Kids welcome.
Humbly, and gratefully,
Development & Communications Director
Here are the activities and events for Friday, Dec. 5, 2014:
1). Wreath sales on the Norwich Green from 8am-5pm ** Be sure to purchase
from Cube Mountain.
2). Jungles of VT sale 10-3 at Kendall in Hanover
3). Upper Loveland Puppets 3:30 at The Norwich Grange
4). Sonja Hakala book signing 4-5pm at Dan & Whit's.
5). Santa at Norwich Inn from 4-5pm
6). Santa at Mascoma Bank in HANOVER from 5:30-6:30pm