A holiday food drive for the local organization Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects (HOPE) is ongoing at The Residence at Otter Creek, a senior living community on Lodge Road Middlebury. The charity drive began on Oct. 23 and will continue through Dec. 31.
The food drive is one of the living community’s frequent charitable events. The community has charitable drives every fiscal quarter, according to Tracy Van Hoven, the facility’s sales and marketing director.
The last charitable drive hosted by the living community was a school supply drive for the Mary Hogan Elementary School. The charity events enable the facility and its members to connect with the local community, as they can donate items or checks to support the drive or set up a fund for donations.
Middlebury residents can also stop in at the living community to drop off supplies, in addition to the efforts of staff working there to support the charity drives.
According to Van Hoven, many staff and residents in the senior living community grew up in the area, and some people are connected to Addison County through their own time at Middlebury College.
“We’ve got over 140 residents here who are connected with the region in some way,” she said. “It’s always been an important part of our mission to give back to the community. Not only to focus on our residents pulling together, but also to pull in the larger community.”
In addition to food drives, other charity drives at the living community have included holiday gifts and items of clothing. The facility hosted a coat drive around this time last year, which enabled them to donate many coats in their possession that were not being worn.
The living community has been connected to HOPE since 2008, a long standing relationship that Van Hoven credits to Courtney Allenson, senior reflections & engagement director at the facility and a native to the area. Allenson has helped the relationship between the senior living community and HOPE grow and is also responsible for many other fitness and outdoor recreation programs at the facility, Van Hoven said.
HOPE is one of the largest food shelves in the region, serving over 3000 people per year. According to the organization’s website, they stock non-perishable foods as well as meat, milk, bread and eggs from local bakers and farmers.
HOPE also operates one of the largest resale stores in Vermont, offering a range of new and used furniture, household goods, clothing, collectibles, books, vinyl records and more. All profits from the store support HOPE’s work in poverty relief. The resale store is located at Marion’s place, at 334 Boardman street.
“HOPE’s mission is to improve the lives of low income people… by working with individuals to identify and secure the resources needed to meet their own basic needs,” according to the organization’s web page.
HOPE aims to ask people for what they need and provides those who need it with fresh food and much more. HOPE offers financial and job assistance, as well as “assistance to persons experiencing homelessness including camping gear, emergency hotel rooms, laundry vouchers, referrals and service coordination,” the website states.
The living community’s current food drive will last until the end of the year. New and sealed non-perishable food item donations are welcome and can be made in the facility's lobby, located at 350 Lodge Road in Middlebury.
Julia Pepper '24 (she/her) is the Senior Local Editor.
She previously served as a Local Editor. She is a Psychology major and French minor. This past spring she studied in Paris. She spent the summer interning at home in New York City, putting her journalistic cold calling skills to use at her internship doing outreach with senior citizens. In her free time she enjoys reading and petting cats.