Hospice Volunteer Services benefits from surprise donation

MIDDLEBURY — Hospice Volunteer Services has much for which to be grateful: a community that has embraced its work, a beautiful office and garden in town, community members who train to become volunteers and give many hours of compassionate companionship and a deep connection with Sweet Charity, a household goods store in Vergennes.
Last week, however, a generous and “out of the blue” gift not only boosted the HVS budget but also took community partnership into a new direction. It started with a creative idea at Edgewater Gallery when young painter TJ Cunningham, who exhibits his work at the gallery, was asked to do a painting onsite and have it raffled off to benefit a small nonprofit in the county.
It was quickly established that HVS was to be the agency of choice since both of Cunningham’s grandparents had been under hospice care and had benefitted from volunteers at the end of their lives. The raffle proceeds of the still life were gifted to HVS. Many people who bought tickets expressed their wish to support HVS. And, of course, one lucky winner, Tom Marrinan,took home the painting.
As Rachel Teachout, manager of Edgewater Gallery, explained: “Partnering together and contributing in small ways can have a large impact. It is a win-win situation. Artists who donate their work become known in the community, the gallery becomes a destination and small not-for-profitsfulfill their mission of educating the community about their work.”
For Hospice Volunteer Services this special event was reminiscent of the first fundraising efforts, about 30 years ago, when a group of local artists created original paintings on the Middlebury green and sold them onsite to benefit the organization.
HVS was grateful to the community then, and is now.
RAFFLE WINNER TOM Marrinan poses with the finished work.
Editor’s note: This story was provided by Middlebury resident Marita Schine, an HVS board member.

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