Keeping wholesome food from going to waste and delivering it to our neighbors in need

FAQ

How many delivery trucks are in the Willing Hands “Fleet”? I see you everywhere!

Willing Hands has only one truck. It is on the road every day of the year, including Sundays, and excepting major holidays. We travel about 500 miles per week.

What kinds of surplus food does Willing Hands accept?

Willing Hands is committed to handling only the most nutritious food. 93% of the food that we accept is unprocessed fruit and vegetables. We frequently turn down donations of sweets, and canned, boxed or highly processed foods.

Why is there so much surplus food?

The Upper Valley region of Vermont and New Hampshire is rich with producers of top quality food.  Our local farms and bakeries provide an abundance of fruit, vegetables, dairy, meat and wholesome bread. As consumers we are very fortunate to have easy access to an astonishing variety.  Whether we buy directly from a farm stand, shop at a farmer’s market, a local cooperative food store, or dine out, we expect to find an ample supply of superb quality, fresh food.

The professionals in our local food economy are savvy business people, committed to excellence.  They recognize the importance of providing their customers with a wide variety of top quality product to choose from. However, no one can predict how many cucumbers, tomatoes or loaves of bread will sell on a given day. No one can predict that favorable weather conditions will enable a bumper crop of apples or winter squash. Cows will go on producing milk no matter whether families are here or have left town for vacation. Surplus is inevitable in a thriving local food economy.

How do I go about making a donation of food to Willing Hands?

Please contact us! We can arrange for a one-time pick up or we can arrange for a regular weekly pick-up depending on your location and the availability of your product. Email – Director@willinghands.org or call 802-698-0265.

Our farm has a bumper crop of ______ but it is not economically reasonable for us to pay our staff to harvest it. Can Willing Hands send a crew to come gather the crop?

Please contact us. Chances are that we will say “YES!”  We have an eager group of volunteers that are ready to “glean” on short notice. We send our crew out with an experienced leader to ensure that the project is handled with respect and efficiency. Very little time or supervision is required of the farmer. We provide all the necessary containers/bins as well as transport of the harvest back to our facility.

Can my organization receive deliveries from Willing Hands?

If your organization is a non-profit 501(c)3  serving “at-risk” and low income individuals and families, and located within a thirty-mile radius of Norwich, VT then please contact us!  We will talk about scheduling and will send you a “Recipient Organization Application Form.”

When Willing Hands has more than enough produce, we make special arrangements to get this surplus to non-profits operating outside of our delivery region. Please contact us and we’ll add your organization to our list to call when we have extra to share.

Will Willing Hands deliver to my home?

Willing Hands simply does not have the resources to make deliveries directly to private homes. We encourage you to check the list of organizations currently receiving deliveries (posted on this website) – chances are, one of them is located nearby.

Are there laws which protect Food Donors?

Here are links to the liability laws covering food recovery and food safety. There are both Federal laws and state laws which protect Willing Hands and food donors regarding these concerns.

Federal Law – http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-104publ210/pdf/PLAW-104publ210.pdf

Vermont Law – http://www.leg.state.vt.us/statutes/fullchapter.cfm?Title=12&Chapter=197

How did Willing Hands get started?

During the winter of 2003-2004, as manager of the Bulk and Natural Foods section of the Hanover Co-op Foodstore, Peter Phippen noticed that a very large amount of produce was going to the dumpster every day. He approached the management and was given permission to conduct a 2 month study to determine the level of waste. He found that 400-600lbs of usable produce was ending up in the dumpster each day. He reported his findings to the Co-op in April 2004 and wrote a proposal to the Co-op Management Team to reclaim the unused yet still very viable food, and deliver it to people in need throughout the Upper Valley. The Co-op agreed that his plan made good sense. Willing Hands was born.

With community support and with the invaluable help of Tom Ketteridge and others at the Upper Valley Haven (the fiscal agent for the budding enterprise), Willing Hands began operations. Over the first 6 months 50+ tons of produce was delivered to about twenty locations. The list of food donors expanded and included many that are still active in the program today. The first Board of Directors was formed, and the application for status as a 501 c 3 corporation was initiated. The State of New Hampshire granted WH non-profit status in October, 2004. Federal status was granted during the summer of 2005.

The first two years of the program saw increasing community involvement. You could find us at many local event such as street fairs, river days, state fairs and the like, distributing literature on the program, talking with locals and raising funds. Thanks to the generous support of the Upper Valley Community, Willing Hands thrived; we served 40 locations weekly and had some 20 sources of donated food.

Peter had other projects on his goal-list which took him away from the area in June 2006. We thank him for his creative vision and for his hard work and dedication as founder of Willing Hands.