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Why Your Donation Matters

A woman in a wheelchair with a young man helping her

To found the VNA in 1906, a small group of philanthropic Burlington women turned to their neighbors to support home health care for individuals and families. They collected donations to help, in the words of Co-Founder Julia Smith Wheeler, “all who turn to us in their time of need.”

More than 100 years later, your VNA is still dependent on contributions of all sizes from individuals and families, organizations and companies, foundations and the United Way, and from every town and city in our two-county area. No gift is too small. No gift is too large.

With your support, we are able to provide care for 6000 people and their families each year, regardless of their ability to pay. With your support, we are able to pioneer new programs to meet the changing needs of our community. And, with your support, we are able to ensure the availability of VNA services for generations to come.

Does your donation matter? We think this VNA Choices for Care story says it best.

"Milton resident Gerard Gaboriau is a true gentleman, quick to produce his handsome smile and equally quick to tear up over a sentimental story. He is reminiscent of a young Kirk Douglas, but with a charming French Canadian accent.


Gerard is diabetic and has had several surgeries due to cancer which have made mobility difficult. And, he is virtually blind. None of that defines him, though.

Gerard lives in his own home, surrounded by displays of religious statues and family photos that bring him strength and comfort, as does his vast collection of old movies. He has a particular fondness for Shirley Temple films. Gerard keeps his strong physique by riding every day on an exercise bike set up in his basement.

No longer able to work at IBM after macular degeneration impaired his ability to perform his job, and a widower with little family nearby, Gerard is able to stay at home amongst familiar and beloved surroundings because of the VNA and his caregiver of ten years, Edith Wells.

Edith was a French war bride who moved to Vermont after the war with her G.I. husband. Her rich life is represented in photos which also decorate Gerard's home. There is Edith as a young ballerina and many photos of her life with her husband, her daughter, and other friends and family.

Edith and Gerard share a home, their deep religious faith and a caring friendship. Both are quick to point out that they are not a couple. Rather, Edith is his caregiver through the Medicaid Choices for Care program of the VNA.


Without Edith and the VNA, Gerard would have to give up the things he treasures most...his home and his independence. He would likely be placed in a nursing home where care would not be so personalized and the surroundings would be unfamiliar and impersonal.

They are quite the team. Luckily for Gerard, Edith's husband also had a colostomy bag prior to his death. The expertise gained while caring for him makes Edith the perfect caregiver for Gerard.

She makes a home for him and he provides a home for her. While both speak French, they communicate in English. She can't understand his Quebec accent and he can't understand her Parisian French. There is much laughter and light-hearted banter and a comfortable friendship between the two.

Simply put, Gerard enjoys a high quality of life thanks to the care and companionship he receives from his skilled and dedicated VNA caregiver. And, Edith receives the support, supervision and training she needs from her Choices for Care supervisor.


The Choices for Care program is critical in keeping people independent and at home where they most want to be. And, care at home costs significantly less than care in an institution. Last year, the VNA helped 182 people remain at home through the Choices for Care program providing 119,000 hours of care. Medicaid reimbursement does not fully cover the cost of care and without rate increases to keep up with the cost of services, the VNA losses were nearly $200,000 in this program in 2014. Overall, the VNA provided $1.87 million in unreimbursed care to our community.

Generous support from you and your neighbors helps the VNA provide services for people like Gerard who need and deserve quality care. Your Annual Fund gift also helps your VNA care for over 5,000 individuals and families throughout Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties with support for young families, nursing care, rehabilitation services, adult day programs and hospice care enabling people to live life to the fullest in their final days."

Mom and baby hands

This is why your donation matters.

Please consider a generous gift to the VNA Annual Fund today.

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Earlier Stories

For other stories about how your donation makes a difference in our community, please click a link below:

If you'd like more information about the charitable care mission of your VNA, please contact Ellen Kane at (802) 860-4475 or kanee@vnacares.org or write to us at:
Ellen Kane
Vice President of Development and Community Relations
Visiting Nurse Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties
1110 Prim Road
Colchester, Vermont 05446

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