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Keep It Local During December To Support The Upper Valley Haven

Nov 30, 2015 03:55PM ● By Kirsten Gehlbach
December 1st is day one of the 19 Days of Norwich, 1% for the Upper Valley Haven. Shop at any of the participating businesses, and 1% of all sales will be donated to the  Upper Valley Haven. This year marks the third year of this local effort to support the food shelf and homeless shelter by keeping it local during December.

Dan Fraser of Dan & Whits General Store in Norwich had a light-bulb moment in 2013. He wanted the support of the community to make sure that “no one of our neighbors goes hungry.” He brought vision and energy to the effort with new ideas that keep the light shining. In the past two years, over $100,000 has been raised with the help of a generous match in by the Byrne Foundation. This year, each dollar donated will be matched, or doubled, by the foundation up to $80,000.

The list of businesses involved in this effort is extensive and continues to grow. The 19 Days, 1% for the Haven has expanded from Norwich to Lyme, Hanover, Lebanon, White River Junction, and beyond. Dan encourages other businesses to join at any time. He also encourages people to shop at the businesses involved to show support for their willingness to give back to those in need.

Participating businesses—too many to list here—can be found at Look for the bright-yellow signs on doors and windows of participating businesses on display during December.

Dan aims to “put the Fun back into Fundraising” with community spirit-building activities. Look out for costumed snowmen and their friends, he says, wandering around town. For just $15, you can join the Snowman and Reindeer Club and get a necklace that will earn you discounts at local shops. The fun continues with events throughout the month, including a local product and food fair, a character breakfast, a farm tour and petting zoo, a pancake breakfast, a grilled-cheese and tomato-soup lunch, wine tasting, a wreath sale, and of course a visit from Santa. There’s also a raffle and an online auction to raise needed funds for the Haven.

The latest bright idea is “52 Pickup,” Upper Valley style. Dan calls this a game “a cross between Where’s Waldo and Assassin (no violence involved).” Purchase a game board at Dan & Whit’s and find the residents and businesses wearing one of the cards in the deck. Collect all 52 “signatures” to become eligible to win. While you have fun in addition to fundraising for the Haven, Dan says, “Thank you for keeping it local.”

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