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5 Charities To Get Involved with During The Upcoming Holiday Season

Nov 01, 2019 01:11PM ● By Virginia Dean
The holiday season is just about here and, with the focus on gifts and deals, it might be easy to overlook that giving to charities can be just as rewarding as giving a good gift. There are well over two dozen such nonprofits in the Upper Valley NH and VT to reach out to those who are in need.


Upper Valley Haven

White River Junction, VT- Last year, the Upper Valley Haven provided temporary shelter for 36 families, including 65 children, in addition to 128 adults. Established in 1980, the facility offers support and fosters independence through four domains of service: food, shelter, education and problem-solving.

Food is the largest domain of work done at the Haven and is provided five days a week to any visitor through its Food Shelf. Breakfast and lunch are served five days a week in the Caruso Café, and food is provided to all shelter guests and the children in it's After School and Summer Camp programs. The Haven also delivers food in the community to such programs as Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Moms in Recovery clinic, the Ledyard Charter School, and West Newbury Food Shelf.

The Haven has three shelters that accommodate families with children, adults without children and seasonal, and emergency shelter during cold weather months for adults only.

The nonprofit also provides participants with the resources, motivation and skill to secure financial stability and permanent housing. There are two required programs for all guests: the Rental Program and the Work Practice Program, both of which stress inner growth and development, general life knowledge and skills, and concrete skills for achievement.

Service coordinators who work with community members also provide aftercare support to guests moving into permanent housing from the family and adult shelters. The Haven’s Aftercare Program offers ongoing support, advocacy, nurturing, and intervention to clients moving from the Haven into permanent housing. The coordinators also assist with short-term development of solutions and referrals to other organizations for longer-term help.

Serving over 14,500 people per year, the local charity provides temporary shelter and educational programming for homeless families and adults as well as food to anyone in need. It is led by a group of board members and serves individuals and families in the Upper Valley region of Vermont and New Hampshire.  The nonprofit is interested in hearing from individuals who are invested in helping those struggling with homelessness, hunger, and poverty.

Since 1986, the Haven has built social capital by fostering partnerships with over 20 local and regional organizations, some of which include the Hanover Conservancy, Marsh-Billings Rockefeller National Park, the Norwich Public Library, The Hopkins Center and Hartford Parks and Rec.

The mission of the Haven is to serve people struggling with poverty by providing food, shelter, education, service coordination and other support. This goes hand in hand with its vision of creating a community where people find hope and discover possibility and its values of welcoming all who enter its doors; encouraging independence and self-sufficiency; seeking community support and participation; and being thrifty with its resources.

The Haven is seeking caring, responsible staff for its Seasonal Shelter that operates from late November to late April to help people who are experiencing homelessness during the cold weather. Staff check people into the shelter and ensure smooth operations throughout their shifts. It is seeking coverage on Sundays through Thursdays for evening (5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.) and overnight (11:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.) shifts. Pay is $16.85 per hour. Holidays are paid at time and a half. Please send cover letter and resume to Renee at [email protected]

For more information, the Haven is located at 713 Hartford Avenue, White River Junction, VT 05001 or 802-295-6500 or


David's House

Lebanon, N.H. - A home-away-from-home is offered by this charity for families with children receiving treatment through the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD).

The nonprofit was established after a boy named David Cyr passed away in 1984 after a long struggle with acute lymphocytic leukemia. During that time, David’s parents became acutely aware of others who also had children at DHMC who were unable to afford any length of stay at nearby hotels and were sleeping in their cars or chairs in their child’s hospital room. So, David made it his mission to save money from spare change, allowances, and birthday money. A week after his passing, his family and friends continued the mission and by January 1986, David's House opened and has since served over 14,000 families from around the world.

Open 365 days a year, David’s House is operated by a small paid staff and volunteers. Its board of directors is a body of appointed members who together oversee and steer its direction and health. The president emeritus is David’s father, Dick Cyr.

The house has 20 bedrooms that share 11 bathrooms. Rooms must be requested (603-643-2298) and are subject to reconsideration due to the uncertainties that arise during healthcare treatment. There is no reservation system and no fees to stay. However, a $20 nightly room donation is appreciated to help offset the cost of running the house.

Guests are able to do laundry, prepare a snack or meal, use the playground, or just relax. Guests are encouraged to bring their own food although there are some pantry items, breakfast foods and snacks and meals that can be provided as well. Families can use their own vehicles or walk to the medical center. The hospital also provides a free shuttle service upon request during normal operating hours.

David’s House does not have any opportunities for employment at this time. Those who wish to volunteer must fill out the online application.

This year, there will be a holiday auction on December 12 & 13. Items available will include

For more information, David’s House is located at 461 Mt Support Road, Lebanon, NH 03766 or 603-643-2298 or


The Family Place

Norwich, VT – Parent-Child Centers were established in the mid to late 1980s by the Vermont legislature (Act 02278) across the state. Vermont continues to support the centers with state funds that are distributed among 16 centers.  Vermont also leads the country as the first state to sponsor such centers and is the only state whose legislature has made this level of commitment and maintained it over time.

Serving as a model for community-based family support services throughout the nation, Vermont Parent-Child Centers have been recognized by well-known publications as exemplary model providers of community-based family support.

In December 2008, The Family Place purchased the Olcott building in Norwich, VT. The building was fully renovated and completed in the fall of 2009. The organization is committed to providing the best possible service to families who need extra support while their children are young. One of its goals is to help parents and families find the services they want rather than telling them what they need. It offers strong, flexible family-centered support rather than a rigid, programmatic approach.

The Family Place has a variety of strength-based programs and offers a little over a dozen positions to implement them. The Child Advocacy Center, for example, serves children ages 3 to 18 who have made a disclosure of child sexual abuse. Other services include the Child Care Center; Child Care Financial Assistance; Child Care Referral; Early Intervention; Families Learning Together; Home Visits; Information, Resources & Referrals; Nursing and Family Support; Parent Education & Support; Playgroups; and Welcome Baby Bags.

The mission of the Haven is to serve people struggling with poverty by providing food, shelter, education, service coordination, and other support. This goes hand in hand with its vision of creating a community where people find hope and discover possibility and its values of welcoming all who enter its doors; encouraging independence and self-sufficiency; seeking community support and participation; and being thrifty with its resources.

This year, the 17th Annual Gingerbread Festival will be held on December 7 at Tracy Hall in Norwich. Participants should consider making and donating a house to help make the fundraiser a success. Last year, over 1,200 visitors viewed and bid on over 90 houses donated by members of the local community. Please refer to The Family Place website for house specifications and important dates:

For more information, The Family Place is located at 319 US-5, Norwich, VT 05055 or 802-649-3268 or



Lebanon, NH – For almost 50 years, WISE has been the sole provider of crisis advocacy and support for victims of gender-based violence within 21 communities of the Upper Valley. WISE’s mission is to lead the Upper Valley to end gender-based violence through survivor-centered advocacy, prevention, education and mobilization for social change. Programs are offered that stress social justice through community education, training, and public policy. WISE provides 24-hour crisis intervention, advocacy, and support services.

Dovetailing its mission is the nonprofit’s vision of “a world of freedom, justice, equality, and dignity where all can thrive”.

The organization provides a full range of services to Upper Valley residents including a confidential and free 24-hour crisis line, peer support groups and workshops, emergency shelter, safety planning and in-person advocacy to hospitals, police stations, courthouses and other social service agencies. Educational programming is offered to students and staff in nine local school districts as well.

In the last fiscal year, WISE provided services to over 1,400 people, many of whom reached out to WISE for the first time. The Youth Violence Prevention Program provided lessons to over 5,500 students, building important skills for creating healthy, safe, and fulfilling lives.

WISE was established in 1971 as a career resource for women, offering education and employment training in addition to support and information for new mothers. As it became recognized as a safe space where women could gather, stories of domestic and sexual violence at home and in the workplace began to emerge.

Ten years later, WISE joined the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and established a 24-hour crisis line (1-866-348-WISE).

By 1994, the organization had hired an outreach coordinator, and, seven years later, rented its first apartment to serve as a confidential emergency shelter for women fleeing violence. WIE is a member of the Upper Valley Housing Consortium and sponsors women and families working to rebuild their independence.

In 2006, WISE purchased a Safe Home, and in 2015 began a partnership with Dartmouth College to provide a campus advocate and a co-location site on campus.

In 2018, WISE opened a co-location site in Windsor, VT and took on Welcoming All Nationalities Network (WANN) to provide legal assistance and support to immigrant survivors of gender-based violence.  

Over the last 10 years, WISE has supported over 10,000 victims, provided trauma support training to over 5,000 first-responder professionals, taught healthily relationship skills to more than 18,000 students and reached over 11,000 community members with customized workshops.

For more information, WISE is located at 38 Bank Street Lebanon, NH 03766 or 603-448-5922 or


NH Catholic Charities

Lebanon, NH – Grounded in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, NH Catholic Charities responds to those in need with programs that heal, comfort and empower. Along with a vision where individuals are protected and supported, family life and marriage are preserved and strengthened, the nonprofit abides by the values of integrity, respect, compassion, and collaboration. Founded in 1945 by Bishop Matthew Brady, Monsignor McGreal was named the first director. Through the years, the organization inherited small homes for the elderly, launched adoption services and began operating six orphanages, opened nursing facilities started counseling services, opened additional offices around NH, launched a pregnancy program, established a food bank, added independent retirement living purchased several nursing facilities and acquired The CareGivers, Inc. that helps homebound elderly and disabled individuals maintain their independence.

As employees, individuals receive competitive wages time-off policies, flexible working schedules, insurance plans, retirement, and eligibility for short-term disabilities.

Ways of helping include donating, volunteering, matching gifts, grants, and third party events.

75 years of the founding of Catholic Charities will be celebrated at the Ice Ball right after the holidays in Manchester, NH on February 15, 2020, from 6-9 p.m. at the Hilton Hotel.

For more information, NH Catholic Charities is located at 24 Hanover Street #8, Lebanon, NH 03766 or 603-448-5151 or

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