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19 Days of Norwich: Join Upper Valley Haven & Local Businesses in Community Effort to Curb Hunger

Dec 06, 2016 09:30AM ● By Kirsten Gehlbach
19 Days of Norwich, 1% for The Haven kicks off with a 2016 goal of $386,212.

“What’s this number? It’s the fundraising goal for the 19 Days of Norwich (and beyond), 1% for the Upper Valley Haven for 2016,” says Dan Fraser of Dan & Whit’s and the mastermind for this month-long event that began in 2013 when he had a light-bulb moment. He heard a customer say that the Upper Valley Haven food shelf was nearly bare, with little food for hungry people, and the few donations coming in were taken immediately. In his “Aha!” moment, Dan figured that, in keeping with Ben & Jerry’s and Newman’s Own brands, Dan & Whits could donate 1% of sales for the first 19 days of December.

Asked “Why this number?” Dan recently explained. “In 2013, we raised $27,876—a figure impressive for our first attempt. In 2014, we raised $233,890—a figure that shocked us all. In 2015, we raised $352,022—a figure that blew our minds. How cool would it be to say we raised one million dollars in four years! We have matching funds from the extremely generous Byrne Foundation to help us reach our goal. Well, we all know that the impossible is sometimes possible!” Dan wrote recently in the Norwich listserv.

Since 2014, businesses beyond Norwich have joined in, and customers throughout the Upper Valley have shown their support of this community effort to help curb hunger. Many people have continued their “local first” shopping habit throughout the year.

The 19 Days of Norwich worked because everyone gave a little bit more. Businesses gave 1% more, and residents and customers made a commitment to shop locally at businesses that supported the Haven.

Here’s how this works. Shop with one of the participating businesses, and 1% of all sales are donated to the Upper Valley Haven. This year, 2016, marks the fourth year of this local effort to support the food shelf and homeless shelter by keeping it local during December.

There are many ways for you to lend a hand and help get the ball rolling. Here are a few.

1. Kick off the unofficial start of The 19 Days of Norwich on Thursday, November 24, with a Turkey Trot organized by the Turco Family.

2. Encourage your favorite businesses and restaurants in the Upper Valley to participate by donating 1% of their sales from December 1 through December 19.

3. Shop and dine at participating 19 Days local businesses from December 1 through 19.

4. Donate items or bid on them in the online auction. You can choose from beautiful works by local artists, a tour of the church bell tower, a ride around town with four friends in the fire truck of your choice, a Stave Puzzle, waltz lessons, and more. The list grows daily.

5. Attend the Character Breakfast on Saturday, December 3 from 8:30 to 11am at the Norwich Inn, followed by a wine tasting on Wednesday, December 7 from 5 to 7pm, and a Red Cross Blood Drive on Thursday, December 8 from noon to 6pm at the Town Clerk’s Office.

6. Visit the Artisan Fair at the Marion Cross School on Saturday, December 10 from 10am to 1pm.

7. Participate and/or vote in the animal/pet contest.

8. Eat at the grilled cheese/tomato soup lunch on Saturday, December 10 from 11:30am to 1pm at the Norwich Congregational Church, sponsored by Ledyard National Bank.

9. Attend the Cameo Arts Foundation Concert from 4 to 6pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Upper Valley.

10. Support the Battle of the Beauticians between Andrea’s Hair Studio and Diane’s Casual Cuts on Friday, December 16.

11. This is a win–win: Shop locally and support the Haven. For more information on the event calendar, go to

Attendance at some events has a cost, but it isn’t much, and all proceeds go to the Upper Valley Haven and its goal as a nonprofit, private organization to serve people struggling with poverty and food insecurity by providing food, shelter, education, clothing, and support. While having fun and raising funds for the Haven, Dan adds, “Thank you for keeping it local.”

For information about the Haven, visit

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