‘Such a Generous Community': On Giving Tuesday, Vt. Nonprofits Stress Need for Donors

Inflation has added urgency to fundraising efforts, several charities said

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Vermont nonprofits joining in Giving Tuesday, a movement to raise awareness and funds to support their work, say the impacts of inflation mean support from donors is more vital than ever.

"Building materials have risen [in price], land costs have risen," lamented David Mullin, the executive director of Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity.

For the first time, the Williston-based Habitat chapter that serves Vermont's Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle Counties sent out appeals on Giving Tuesday. For more than a decade, a growing list of charities has used the day to raise money and awareness of their work.

Because of Vermont's well-documented housing crisis, Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity said it plans to expand production. Six homes are in the works, with more than 40 in the pipeline, Mullin noted. A duplex now under construction in Shelburne, which will provide affordable homeownership for two families, is one of those jobs volunteer builders are now focusing on.

"We’re doing everything we can, but we can’t do it without the donors," Mullin said Tuesday in an interview with NECN & NBC10 Boston. "We have such a generous community."

The Junior League of the Champlain Valley used Giving Tuesday to announce a campaign to raise $10,000 and collect 50,000 diapers before the end of the year. The organization runs a diaper bank that provides diapers and wipes to partner agencies that support families in need. 

In a 2021 news story about the bank's 1-millionth diaper delivery, leaders with the Junior League cited estimates that one in three families struggle to afford diapers.

"If you’re questioning whether to buy food or to buy diapers for your kid, you’re most likely going to choose food," said Jessie Moore, the treasurer of the Champlain Valley's Junior League chapter, adding that Giving Tuesday provides a good opportunity for the organization to remind community members of the diaper bank's work year-round. "I think Giving Tuesday is a wonderful time of year."

Donors can make financial donations online, or bring diapers to a drive on Saturday, December 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 3060 Williston Road in South Burlington. Another diaper drive will be held Saturday, December 31 at the UVM men's hockey game, starting at 4 p.m. Diaper drop-off sites can also be found at Healthy Living Market locations in Williston and South Burlington, and at Hula in Burlington. 

Dee Physical Therapy is continuing its volunteer work to collect diapers for the bank, Moore said. The JLCV provides information on how to organize your own diaper drive to support the diaper bank's collection efforts.

At Spectrum Youth & Family Services, where housing, drop-in spaces, and meals uplift young people facing homelessness and other challenges, the nonprofit said Giving Tuesday is a chance to start closing the gap created when expenses rose while need spiked— including for mental health counseling.

"I think it’s really helped spread the word and engage people in the community," said Will Towne of Spectrum, describing the value of Giving Tuesday. "I think, with rising costs across the board, we need the community support more than ever."

Towne said the organization is currently working to close a more than $800,000 budget gap.

Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity said awareness of the region’s urgent housing challenges surely boosted responses to its first-ever Giving Tuesday, helping the nonprofit build confidence in all its projects ahead.

"For us, we’re already seeing the results of that," Mullin said of Tuesday's fundraising push.

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