Little Known Local Resource for Patients & Families is Doing Amazing Things
Somehow, out of the blue, I recently received an email telling me Maynard House is about to turn 40 years old and to save the date for a celebration, it announced, on 5.19.19. I wasn't sure what this was all about, but I knew the sender so I gave him a call and inquired of Nate Hill, now the Executive Director of Maynard House. I'd known Nate when he was director of the Lyme branch of Mascoma Bank. "What," I asked, "was up?" He invited me to visit.
Between St. Denis Church and the Howe Library in Hanover, NH sits an unassuming white building known as Maynard House—doing remarkable things for people in need.
I quickly realized I'd passed by this place hundreds of times, shuttling my kids from Hanover High School to the Howe Library. But, back then, the sign had said Upper Valley Hostel. I was confused. Today, it proclaims Maynard House as its name. I had long assumed this was a place for thru-hikers to rest their weary bones while stopping by Hanover from long days on the Appalachian Trail. Not so, Nate let me know. For the past 39 years or so, this building has helped patients and their families find food and shelter when medical care in the Upper Valley is their dire need.
The Upper Valley Hostel was renamed Maynard House in 2016 in honor of Mary Maynard Hitchcock, wife of Hiram Hitchcock the wealthy hotelier who founded and funded the construction of Mary Hitchcock Hospital in his wife's memory. Maynard House continues to serve its original mission to provide home-like accommodations for adults receiving medical treatment in Upper Valley medical centers. It also serves the family members of hospitalized patients.
Maynard House Executive Director Nate Hill (right) does some chores with a volunteer in the recently updated Maynard House kitchen.
This place was borne from a real need as recognized by a Dartmouth Ethics Committee back in 1977. First, homes opened their doors and bedrooms to help people visiting hospitals here. Then, people banded together to raise money to open what they called the Upper Valley Hostel. But it wasn't a hostel as we think of a hostel today. It was always there to serve the most basic of needs, food and shelter, for people who couldn't afford basic accommodations while they or a family member received treatment for an illness.
A sneak peek inside a well-kept Maynard House bedroom.
Today, with its name now changed to reflect the woman who cared so fervently about caring for others, Maynard House offers private rooms, a kitchen, and comfortable spaces for individuals and families alike to gather and meet. It's a home away from home, and it won't turn anyone away for an inability to pay. In 2018, Maynard House accommodated 613 unique guests with 212 of them having multiple night stays and 2067 guest nights hosted with the longest stay being 56 nights and an average stay of 2 nights.
A true feeling of peace in the living room where people come together after long days helping others or getting medical treatment themselves.
The beauty of Maynard House is people come together in a community. They can cook and live and laugh and just be together during hard times for themselves and their families. There are 8 rooms with 2 twin beds in each, and 3.5 baths to go around. It provides the basics in terms of food, always stocking milk, eggs, butter, cereal, and canned goods for people who arrive in a hurry. Maynard House takes some of the overflow from David's House, a younger organization, but more well known. It also gets food donations from other local non-profits. And Maynard House was renovated in 2016-2017 thanks to support from The Byrne Foundation. So, today, it's a lovely little nook of a space that guests have called their "refuge and sanctuary" after long days of treatments or caring for family who are ill.
Food is made available for all.
Today, Maynard House seeks volunteers to help with things like cleaning up the grounds after winter, weeding gardens, and helping provide front office coverage between the hours of 6 and 9 pm, and on weekends 9 - noon and 2 - 5 pm. This will allow Maynard House's two resident managers to work their full-time jobs and have better personal lives. Nate was once a resident manager, so he knows the challenges of keeping the operations of this important place going strong. Nate's also a local Upper Valley'ite who grew up in White River Junction and, but for his college years at UVM, has lived in the Upper Valley all his life.
I'm excited to share news of Maynard House with you. It's a non-profit that's doing great things here in the Upper Valley, as it has been for 40 years. Wish I'd known about it—and written about it—sooner! Please contact Maynard House at: 603.643.3277, or visit it online at MaynardHouse.org if you care to help. I hope you will.
Dave Celone of E. Thetford, VT writes as Poetic Licence here on the dailyuv.com on many things great and small that impact the Upper Valley region of NH and VT. Please leave a comment or question below if you wish. And please do click on the blue Subscribe button above to sign up to receive the occasional post from PoeticLicence in your email inbox. Thanks for reading!