At the Vermont Foodbank, we spend our days taking care of our neighbors in need, ensuing that Vermonters have the resources they need to live healthier lives. Well, today on the blog, we’re interviewing a staff member who spends her day ensuring that Foodbank staff have the resources we need. 

Francine Chittenden

Francine, far right, with the FTHR team

Francine Chittenden is Director of Human Resources at the Vermont Foodbank and she’s been with us for more than 6 years. The Vermont Foodbank Blog had a chance to sit down with Francine and ask her a few questions, and here’s what we learned. 

VFB Let’s start with the basics: What’s your job title and department?

FC My title is Director of Human Resources. I work in FTHR (finance, technology & human resources).

VFB Tell us what you do on the daily. 

FC The director of human resources position is responsible for a high level of accuracy in accounting for payroll, human resources, employee benefits, safety and health. I represent the employee needs in conjunction with the goals and demands of the Vermont Foodbank. I am also responsible for supervising and as back up for accounts receivable and accounts payable as well as being responsible for bi-weekly payroll, and all payroll related functions.

Other items that I am responsible for are:
– Maintaining all employee personnel files, medical files, and workers’ compensation files.
– Conducting searches and recruiting for any open positions.
– Reporting workers’ compensation injuries including maintaining files & working with insurance company and company physician within the 72 hours’ time frame.
– All human resource functions including but not limited to staff training.
– Chair the safety committee.
– Backup for A/R and A/P.
– Update and make changes to any personnel related policies and manuals.

VFB Wow, that’s quite the list. When did you start working at the Foodbank?

FC I began working at the Foodbank in April, 2009.

VFB Where do you live, where are you from?

FC I live in Waterbury Center, Vermont where I have lived since 1976. Although I was born in Canada, my family moved to Vermont when I was 3 years old and have lived here ever since. We had a dairy farm in Coventry (northern VT) until I was 13, and then moved to the town of Shelburne where I spent my teenage and college years.

VFB Can you tell us a little more about yourself, personally and/or professionally?

FC I am the 5th of a family of 8 children (2 girls, 6 boys). I studied at the University of Vermont.

Most of my working life I have owned my own businesses. My husband and I started The Cold Hollow Cider Mill in 1974 on a farm that we owned in Bakersfield. We moved to the Waterbury Center location in 1976 where the business continues under new ownership (we sold to this owner in 2000 after 25 years). During this time I helped manage this business as well as build a thriving mail order business, a bakery, a retail store, production and distribution of product, and develop a large specialty food product line that included our famous cider jelly, apple butter, applesauce, etc. By the time we sold we were recognized as being one of New England’s largest fresh cider distributors and one of Vermont’s top tourist destinations. 

In 1980 my husband and I opened a 100-seat restaurant, Governor Tom’s, also located in Waterbury Center. We operated this from 1980 until 1988. We have 3 children and 7 grandchildren.

VFB If you could work in another Foodbank department or job for a day, what would it be and why?

FC I love logistics and operations as well as product development. This is what I find interesting and challenging.

VFB What’s one of your favorite memories, so far, from working here?

FC There are so many. I think working with the Hunger Study and going into several of our partners, having the opportunity to talk with the people we serve, is a wonderful memory for me. It really helped me to put what we do into perspective and realize how much of a difference we make in the lives of so many Vermonters.

VFB Tell us what you like about working at the Vermont Foodbank.

FC I enjoy the people that I work with and their dedication to our mission. It is gratifying to work with thoughtful and dedicated individuals. I look forward to coming to work every day.

Thanks, Francine, for sharing your story and for everything you do for the Vermont Foodbank!