The Hippo


Dec 12, 2019








For our veterans

There are several organizations that support New Hampshire’s veterans, too. Here are a few that focus their efforts on helping veterans in need.
Liberty House
75 W. Baker St., Manchester, 669-0761,
What it’s all about: Liberty House is a transitional housing facility for homeless veterans that has 10 beds and a food and clothing pantry. According to executive director Jeff Nelson, staff members provide each resident with case management, employment counseling and searches, housing assistance and agency referrals. The property housing the facility was given to the VFW as a gift by Annette (Paczosa) Nelson, the sister of Pvt. Harold Paczosa, who was killed in 1943 when a German U-Boat torpedo struck the USAT Dorchester.
What monetary donations are used for: In addition to funding day-to-day operations at the house, donations are used to help fund the purchase of a new van and to address specific safety and operational issues at the facility.
They could also use: Canned goods, clothing, deodorant, toothpaste, backpacks, bicycles, sneakers, tents and tarps, sleeping bags, shampoo and conditioner. Visit for a full list of additional items.
Other ways to help: Volunteers on the property itself can be scarce, but Liberty House always welcomes volunteers to organize special events like food drives and outreach drives to collect some of the more high-demand items, like backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, can openers and hooded sweatshirts.
Veterans Count
555 Auburn St., Manchester, 621-3433,
What it’s all about: Veterans Count is a program of Easter Seals that provides financial assistance to veterans, active military service members and their families. “We figuratively and literally help them fill in the gaps with what they need to survive,” director of development Joe Emmons said. “We help with everything from emergency financial assistance to utility payments, housing, rent, emergency shelters, and other things like employment assistance, access to transportation and legal help.” There are four chapters in the Granite State – Manchester, Nashua, the Seacoast and the Lakes Region.
What monetary donations are used for: About 90 percent of all donations directly support veterans and active military service members. Emmons said donations can be made online or checks can be mailed to the Easter Seals of New Hampshire headquarters at 555 Auburn St. in Manchester. You can also select which of the four chapters you’d like your donation to specifically go toward.
They could also use: Emmons said Veterans Count can always use gently used furniture or clothing that can be worn for job interview opportunities.
Other ways to help: Anyone interested in volunteering to join one of the boards or attend any special events can visit for more information.
Veterans Foundation of New Hampshire
77 Central St., Manchester, 716-8488,
What it’s all about: This organization was formed to provide programs for the general public to support Granite State veterans who have trouble providing for themselves and their families. Among its missions are to provide emergency aid and relief to veterans, to assist veterans service organizations, to assist in taking advantage of employment opportunities, and to assist in funding for educational opportunities.
What monetary donations are used for: Contributions directly benefit veterans service organizations in the state.
Other ways to help: You can also volunteer for the foundation’s Veterans Law Project, which has provided veterans and active service members with attorneys in a variety of family law cases, minor criminal cases and landlord tenant issues.

Gifts from the Heart
How to support your community this season

By Ethan Hogan, Matt Ingersoll, Ryan Lessard, Angie Sykeny

American Red Cross of New Hampshire

2 Maitland St., Concord, 225-6697,
What it’s all about: The Red Cross is an international humanitarian organization that provides help at home and abroad when disaster strikes, and provides education to make sure families are prepared before a disaster happens. Red Cross spokesperson Lloyd Ziel said the organization works on a number of initiatives that help families and kids. After a home fire, the Red Cross provides money for hotel rooms, groceries, clothes and whatever they need to get back on their feet. The Red Cross also installs free smoke detectors in the community to make sure families can get out safely during a fire. Over the past year, the Red Cross of New Hampshire and Vermont helped 1,218 people who were made homeless by fires, and 1,829 smoke alarms were installed. They also work with kids in a program called Project Pillowcase, which gets kids thinking about how to react to disasters and express their feelings to an adult. “It also teaches kids how to deal with when they’re feeling anxious, how to do different breathing exercises,” Ziel said.
What monetary donations are used for: Donations will help programs like Project Pillowcase or comfort kits for people who lost their homes in a fire.
They could also use: The Red Cross can also use donations of blood and platelets since donations tend to drop during the holidays.
Other ways to help: They could use volunteers for an “installathon” for smoke alarms called Sound the Alarm on April 28, 2018. They’ll be going door to door to install smoke alarms in the Manchester area.
Anne-Marie House
180 Lowell Road, Hudson, 883-7338,
What it’s all about: Anne-Marie House is a 26-bed transitional residence and program for homeless families and kids that have fallen on hard times. It’s been operating for 14 years, and Executive Director Pamela Small said they serve some types of people in need that others don’t. “We’re different. We serve two-parent families,” Small said. “We’re the only program in the area that takes single fathers.” They also have no age restrictions on women and children, like some programs, and they serve veteran families who do not qualify for other veterans’ programs.
What monetary donations are used for: Monetary donations will be used for residence upkeep and utility costs as well as food and other necessary items for hygiene and house cleaning.
They could also use: Small said they will accept donations of food items and gift cards for grocery stores, as well as toiletries, paper goods and cleaning products. If someone wants to donate Christmas presents, Small said that would be very helpful, but they should reach out to her directly so she can coordinate with families to plan the gift. “That would be wonderful,” Small said.
Other ways to help: The organization is in need of volunteers. “We’re always looking for people to come here to cook meals for us,” Small said.
Boys & Girls Club of Central New Hampshire
55 Bradley St., Concord,, 224-1061 (also has satellite locations in Laconia, Sutton, Warner, Hopkinton, Allenstown, Weare and Franklin under the Central NH Boys & Girls Club umbrella)
What it’s all about: The Bradley Street Clubhouse in Concord is the oldest and largest club house in the state and was renovated in 2013. It offers separate spaces for preschool and kindergarten, plus elementary, middle and high school students as well as a large gymnasium, art room, computer lab, cafeteria and playground. The goal is to provide a safe place where kids can work with adult mentors to become more confident, caring and respectful citizens. After-school programs, summer camps and basketball leagues offer kids team-building and fitness opportunities while academic and leadership programs help develop healthy habits. The structured activities range from art club to homework help. Concord, Suncook and Laconia have a dinner program where 750 kids are fed a warm meal each week.
What monetary donations are used for: Development Director Jon Clay said monetary donations can go to whichever club the donor chooses. “[Donors] have the ability to designate to any program they want it to go to, whether it’s athletics or education,” Clay said. 
They could also use: The club accepts donations of clothing items that are new or lightly warn. Sports equipment is also accepted.
Other ways to help: Volunteer work could include helping kids with music and computers or arts and crafts. Clay said the most popular form of volunteering is handing out food and helping with homework. “If they want to learn more about the program, reach out to your local Boys & Girls Club, say they want to learn more and that’s the first step to creating a relationship,” said Clay.
Boys & Girls Club of Derry
40 E. Derry Road, Derry,, 434-6695
What it’s all about: The youth organization’s goal is to provide every child with the tools they need for a successful and bright future. The club’s dynamic programs change with members’ needs and strive to increase self-esteem, courage and positive values. Young people have the opportunity to get help with homework, tutoring, computer training, sports and mentoring. 
What monetary donations are used for: Ed Harvey, assistant executive director, said donations go for whatever the donor requests. If the donor does not specify, the donation will support general operations and programs. “Our overall program is basically a youth ... development program. All the money goes to supporting the kids’ programs,” said Harvey. The club has traditional programs like homework help and tutoring alongside newer programs like gardening, basketball and computer training.
They could also use: The club has an annual auction that raises money for the programs. Gift donations are accepted and are made part of the auction. Individuals and businesses often give gift items like sports equipment, games and pool tables. 
Other ways to help: Volunteers can help the club with specific programs like tutoring and coaching basketball or they can join a committee that organizes a fundraising event. Harvey said the club has anywhere from 50 to 100 volunteers.  
Boys & Girls Club of Manchester
555 Union St., Manchester,, 625-5031
What it’s all about: The club tries to reach out to all youth and especially to those who need their help the most. The goal of the club’s programs is to inspire youth to reach their full potential of becoming productive, responsible and caring individuals. The five core programs focus on the developmental needs of all young people. The programs include character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills, the arts, sports, and fitness and recreation. 
What monetary donations are used for: Donations can be used for any program that the donor specifies, according to Diane Fitzpatrick, the CEO of the Manchester Boys & Girls Club. “We are very donor-centric, so many of our donors will make donations that go to operations, scholarships or camps. People make incredible contributions to the club. It’s not really a cut and dry system. [For example] some people are really motivated by giving food,” said Fitzpatrick.
They could also use: The club accepts food baskets during the holidays, board games and educational games, knitted hats and, especially during the winter, warm clothing, according to Fitzpatrick. “The tweens are almost forgotten during the holidays, clothing for the teens and things they really need. I think my personal philosophy is that philanthropy is the art of giving,” said Fitzpatrick.
Other ways to help:Volunteers can give their time to help kids with things like homework tutoring and reading stories. Fitzpatrick said the club asks volunteers to commit to a year of volunteer work because it helps the kids build relationships. “It’s all about relationships and it’s hard to have people coming in and out of their life,” said Fitzpatrick.
Boys & Girls Club of Nashua
1 Positive Place, Nashua,, 883-0523
What it’s all about: The club provides a safe place for girls and boys between the ages of 5 and 18 to learn how to have academic success, maintain healthy lifestyles and be good citizens. The club provides ongoing relationships with caring adult professionals alongside life-enhancing programs and character-developing experiences.
What monetary donations are used for: Donations help fund programs and special events at the club. Programs include the Kid’s Club for ages 5 through 8, which provides the opportunity for homework help, aquatics, gym time, arts and crafts, dance and games. The Clubhouse is for ages 8 to 12 and offers computer and homework assistance, an art room, the club’s pool and gymnasium and a nutritious meal each day. The Stahl Teen Center encourages teens to participate in a wide variety of activities including job and college preparation, leadership groups, community service projects and fun social recreation activities.
They could also use: Sign up for a Discovery Hour and tour the Boys & Girls Clubs to find out about programs and how to get involved. Volunteer work is also available for those interested in giving their time to help tutor kids in homework, computer work and leadership activities.
Other ways to help: Club staff members can always use arts and crafts supplies, academic material, games, technology and recreational equipment like jump ropes and playground balls.
Boys & Girls Club of Salem
3 Geremonty Drive, Salem,, 898-7709
What it’s all about: To give youth a place to realize their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens. The goal: give kids a safe place to learn and grow through ongoing relationships with caring adult professionals. The club provides programs and character development experiences. 
What monetary donations are used for: Financial contributions are given directly to the club’s membership base and programming. Programs include aquatics, sports and fitness recreation, arts, character and leadership development, the teen center and summer camps. The club’s facilities include a games room, sports programs, a swimming pool, music and arts programs and education and technology labs.
They could also use: Volunteers will be helping the most at-risk youth in the Salem area through relationships and mentoring. The club provides a safe, positive environment with structured programs and activities for mentors to do with the youth.
Other ways to help: The Boys & Girls Club of Salem has created an alumni association to help former members establish lifelong connections with fellow alumni leading to increased support of the organization’s mission and goals.
CASA of New Hampshire
138 Coolidge Ave., Manchester, 626-4600,
What it’s all about: CASA of New Hampshire is a statewide organization that recruits, trains and supervises volunteers to advocate for abused and neglected children in the state’s courts. Director of communications Carolyn Cote said each advocate is trained to help children find stability in a safe home.
What monetary donations are used for: According to Cote, it costs about $1,500 to support an advocate for one year of working with victimized children, and monetary donations are used to support their efforts. There are more than 500 advocates working for CASA of New Hampshire statewide.
They could also use: Office supplies such as pens, manila folders, legal pads and padded envelopes are always welcome. Cote said CASA of New Hampshire also seeks sponsorships and raffle prizes for their upcoming events.
Other ways to help: CASA of New Hampshire has several ongoing and upcoming events, including its annual holiday cards fundraiser. Greeting cards featuring artwork donated by local artists are up for sale for $20 per pack of 20. They can be ordered at CASA of New Hampshire is also participating in a joint benefit with the Granite State Children’s Alliance to present two shows performed by comedian Seth Meyers at the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord on Feb. 10. Cote added that the organization is always looking for adults who have a desire to volunteer as advocates. Volunteers must be at least 21 years old and have a high school diploma. A total of 40 hours of training is required.
Concord Family YMCA
15 N. State St., Concord, 228-9622,
What it’s all about: Concord Family YMCA is the largest child care provider in Merrimack County, offering full-day childcare for ages 1 to kindergarten; a full-day kindergarten program; an after-morning-kindergarten program with a school pickup service; the KYDSTOP after-school program, which includes homework help, arts and crafts, pool and gym time, and the Fun & Fit program, which teaches kids how to maintain a healthy lifestyle; and school vacation camps and summer camps. It also has programs for families and adults including aquatics activities, group exercise classes and other health and wellness programs. 
What monetary donations are used for: All monetary donations go toward the Y’s annual campaign. “It’s a scholarship fund which allows families to use child care services or sign up for the health and wellness programs regardless of their ability to pay,” marketing director Gina Brochu said. 
They could also use: During the holiday season, the Y has a giving tree in the lobby with wish-list tags submitted by families in need. “A lot of families ask for coats, boots, mittens and hats, books and toys for under the Christmas tree for their kids, all kinds of stuff,” Brochu said. Simply select a tag from the tree and commit to donating the requested item. Bring the donation to the Y unwrapped, and the Y will wrap it and pass it on to the family. 
Other ways to help: There are various volunteering opportunities for events and programs throughout the year. Fill out an application, and the Y will match you with a job that suits your interests and skill set.
Easter Seals New Hampshire
555 Auburn St., Manchester, 623-8863,
What it’s all about: “Easter Seals provides services for people of all ages with disabilities and special needs across the state,” said Pamela Dube, the communications director for Easter Seals New Hampshire. They’ve been operating in the state for more than 80 years and now have 12 core programs, many of which focus on helping children.
What monetary donations are used for: Monetary donations will be used for any of the programs the donor wants them to be used for. They can select programs on the Easter Seals website when making donations online. Dube said they could use donations to help military families. “Our greatest need is really for veterans,” Dube said. In particular, they need money to help military families pay for transportation and gifts for the holiday.
They could also use: If you want to give more than just a blank check, Easter Seals can also make use of gas cards and gift cards for general department stores like Walmart and Target. Another way to help out kids who are a bit older (middle school age to 21) would be to make donations of age-appropriate toys and warm clothes for kids with educational disabilities enrolled at the Robert B. Jolicoeur School in Manchester. There are about 50 to 60 kids in the school, Dube estimates.
Other ways to help: Easter Seals is always looking for volunteers to help with the many events they host each year.
Emily’s Place/YWCA
72 Concord St., Manchester, 625-5785 (office), 668-2299 (crisis line),
What it’s all about: Emily’s Place is an 18-bed shelter for women and children run by the YWCA, which fights racism and empowers women. The emergency shelter is usually to protect women escaping abusive situations with their kids. “The purpose of the shelter is to give women and children a safe place to stay … in an attempt to flee from a dangerous situation,” said Amanda Ouellette, the shelter coordinator. Women have to be 18 years or older and they don’t take children alone.
What monetary donations are used for: “The area of most need right now, something that we try to do is focus on gift cards we can give to the moms or the single women,” Ouellette said. Monetary donations made to the YWCA will go to programs like Emily’s Place, but some of it will be converted into gift cards so women can buy things for themselves and their kids.
They could also use: People are encouraged to donate gift cards at the YWCA, for things like grocery stores, restaurants and shopping centers, even places for kids like Cowabunga’s, Ouellette said. Giving the money for the women to spend is a way to empower them, since many of them are fleeing situations where they have no control over their finances. People can also donate supplies for the shelter, such as toiletries, feminine products, towels and twin-size bedding.
Other ways to help: The YWCA can use more volunteers since the crisis line is staffed primarily by volunteers. Training for staff happens three times a year and the next one is in January.
Families in Transition
122 Market St., Manchester, 641-9441,
What it’s all about: FIT provides transitional housing for homeless people or those who are at risk of becoming homeless. Michele Talwani, the vice president of marketing at FIT, says the organization provides 235 housing units in the state. They’re primarily in Manchester, with some in Concord, Dover and Wolfeboro. They provide housing and services to more than 600 people per year, and they recently merged with New Horizons in Manchester.
What monetary donations are used for: The area of greatest need is the most expensive part of providing housing: general overhead costs such as mortgage payments, utilities and maintenance.
They could also use: Donors are encouraged to buy unwrapped gifts selected from their family wish list. “Many parents can’t afford … holiday gifts for their children,” Talwani said. Folks interested in participating in the FITWish Program should email The organization is also looking to get kid-friendly DVDs to build up their DVD library at the Family Place Resource Center and Shelter in Manchester.
Other ways to help: They need volunteers to be welcome ambassadors and sort through donations at their OutFITters thrift stores. They also need people with house maintenance skills to help with painting and general repairs.
Friends Program
202 N. State St., Concord, 228-1193,
What it’s all about: The Friends Program consists of four main elements: a homeless shelter for families, a senior program that pairs them with kids in elementary school, a volunteer program to help seniors, and a youth mentoring program. “Friends youth mentoring program is the cornerstone of the agency,” said Terri Smith, the director of the youth mentoring program. It works by pairing adult volunteers with kids in Merrimack County age 6 to 17. That program is heading into its 43rd year, Smith said. The kids come to the program with some combination of medical, educational, social or emotional needs and most (about 80 percent) live below the poverty line. Each volunteer is screened and thoughtfully matched with each kid, and they help to provide advice and other means of help.
What monetary donations are used for: Money would be used to keep the program running by funding volunteer screening and matching. It would also be used for fun events like trips to Fisher Cats games or arts and crafts.
Other ways to help: Volunteers are what keeps the program going. “We could not do this without stellar volunteers, and we know that,” Smith said. They currently have about 100 volunteer mentors and they need more.
Girls Inc. of New Hampshire
340 Varney St., Manchester, 623-1117; 27 Burke St., Nashua, 882-6256,
What it’s all about: Girls Inc. is open to girls ages 5 and up and offers various programs, like an after-school program that focuses on education and leadership skill-building, as well as other mentoring programs and special events like holiday parties and a holiday online auction. Free meals are also served to girls and their families in need every Monday through Friday at both branches.
What monetary donations are used for: According to Kelly Hurtado, vice president of public relations for Girls Inc. of New Hampshire, the money received is used for a variety of things. “We use it to buy warm clothing, for our dinner programs … and sometimes to sponsor one of our girls to go to summer camp,” she said, “Right now we’re using donations to help buy gifts from our holiday auction.” Donations can be made either via the website or social media, or by mailing checks to the organization’s headquarters (63 Market St., Manchester).
They could also use: With annual holiday parties coming up at both branches, Hurtado said donated gifts are welcome, especially for the older girls. Gift cards can also be donated.
Other ways to help: “We’re always looking for volunteers,” Hurtado said. “We look for people who can do anything from reading one-on-one with the girls to coming in to prepare and serve the dinners … [or] they could serve as a guest speaker or a mentor. It’s very easy to get involved.”
Granite United Way
22 Concord St., Floor 2, Manchester,, 625-6939 (also has locations in Concord, West Lebanon, Littleton, Berlin, Laconia and Plymouth)
What it’s all about: Granite United Way is statewide nonprofit that brings together other organizations, volunteers and municipalities in the community to implement programs that improve the quality of life for children and families. For example, since 2014, GUW has worked with Beech Street and Gossler Park schools in Manchester to implement their Neighborhood Health Improvement Strategy. It also helped put 700 books into the hands of kids in early education programs across the state, according to Eaton, and it supports community programs like Manchester’s Safe Stations, which provide a safe place for residents to get help with substance abuse. 
What monetary donations are used for: Programs that help with education or health in the community or help families manage their income. The donations stay within the community that the donation was made to, according to Karrie Eaton, vice president of marketing and communication. Eaton said a volunteer group of 35 community members manages how funds will be used. 
Other ways to help: Volunteer work could include helping other nonprofits organize programs in the community, working with families on tax prep or managing ways to best use donations. Volunteers can also donate what Eaton calls “sweat equity,” which includes helping local organizations with hands-on activities like building or painting fences in the community.
Make-A-Wish New Hampshire
814 Elm St., Suite 300, Manchester, 623-9474,
What it’s all about: Make-A-Wish New Hampshire grants wishes to kids in the Granite State between the ages of 2½ and 18 years old with life-threatening medical conditions or illnesses.
What monetary donations are used for: Holly Blanchard, director of marketing and youth programs, said that 89 cents of every dollar donated goes directly toward granting wishes for children facing critical illnesses. It could be a wish to go somewhere, have something, meet something or be something. Whatever the experience, Make-A-Wish New Hampshire covers the costs of every aspect.
They could also use: Make-A-Wish New Hampshire can also accept airline miles. Every mile donated helps kids and their families travel to destinations around the world, according to Blanchard. Other things the organization accepts are “icebreaker gifts,” which are given to every child in the family when the wish-granting volunteers meet with a new child for the first time. Some ideas include gift cards to stores such as Best Buy, Target, Toys R Us and Wal-Mart, new toys such as baseballs, basketballs, footballs, Legos, jewelry-making kits and Barbie dolls, new kid-friendly CDs and DVDs, and much more.
Other ways to help: For more information on the work Make-A-Wish New Hampshire does, 45-minute information sessions called Wish Tours are offered once in a month in its Manchester offices. Blanchard said this is often when myths that people often have – such as the myth that wishes are only granted to children who are terminally ill – are debunked. Make-A-Wish New Hampshire also invites anyone who may know of a local child who may qualify for a wish to contact them at 623-9474 or visit
Marguerite’s Place
87 Palm St., Nashua, 598-1582,
What it’s all about: Marguerite’s Place is a transitional living program for women and children in crisis. Its mission is to provide them with physical and emotional support services with the goal to help them achieve self-sufficiency.
What monetary donations are used for: According to Christa Tsechrintzis, director of development and public relations, donations provide funding for four specific areas: case management, housing, security and child care. Families live independently in one-, two- or three-bedroom apartments with 24-hour staff and video surveillance, a child care program and case managers to work with them one-on-one to help them create life plans.
They could also us e:Marguerite’s Place is always in need of essentials like dish detergent, baby wipes, hand soap, trash bags, laundry detergent, paper towels, disinfecting wipes, tissues and toilet paper.
Other ways to help: You can become either a volunteer, a donor or a sponsor.
New Hampshire Catholic Charities
215 Myrtle St., Manchester, 669-3030,
What it’s all about: New Hampshire Catholic Charities has several programs to help children and families, including Our Place, which supports first-time, teenage or young adult mothers from pregnancy to the third year of their child’s life; counselling services; parish and community services; health care services; adoption and maternity services; and immigration and refugee services. New Hampshire Catholic Charities also oversees the New Hampshire Food Bank and the St. Charles Children’s Home in Rochester, which provides one-on-one behavioral treatment to help kids with challenges get integrated back into the school system.
What monetary donations are used for: Monetary donations support New Hampshire Catholic Charities programs. “That’s the best way to donate, because it allows us the flexibility to distribute money to the programs that need it most and respond quickly to meet the most urgent needs of struggling individuals and families,” communications manager Kathryn Marchocki said. “This is particularly critical with winter upon us. People don’t stop needing stuff when the holidays are over.” 
Other ways to help: Marchocki said the organization is always looking for volunteers to help with various programs, events and administrative tasks throughout the year. 
New Hampshire Hunger Solutions 
2 Delta Drive, Concord, 225-2264, 
What it’s all about: Formerly NH Kids Count, New Hampshire Hunger Solutions is focused on eliminating food insecurity among New Hampshire families. “To be food insecure means you don’t know where your next meal is going to come from,” executive director Amy Bourgault said. The organization acts as a resource hub for children’s hunger issues and performs statewide research to help lawmakers make decisions that aid food-insecure families. It also works to advance school participation in breakfast and lunch programs. 
What monetary donations are used for: Monetary donations are used to offset the general operation costs for the organization.   
Other ways to help: Bourgault said New Hampshire Hunger Solutions is always looking for people to join the coalition and become advocates. Another way to help is to share your observations and experiences, which may contribute to the organization’s research and help it identify where there are “food deserts” in the state. “People need to advocate for their own families and speak up if they’re experiencing food insecurity,” she said. 
The Salvation Army
15 Cole St., Berlin, 752-1644; 58 Clinton St., Concord, 225-5586; 18 Folsom St., Derry, 434-7790; 15 Roxbury Plaza, Keene, 352-0607; 177 Union Ave., Laconia, 524-1834; 121 Cedar St., Manchester, 627-7013; 1 Montgomery Ave., Nashua, 883-7841; 15 Middle St., Portsmouth, 436-2606; 10 Olde Farm Lane, Rochester, 332-2623;
What it’s all about: According to Pat James, public relations manager for the Northern New England Division of the Salvation Army, there are nine facilities in the Granite State that each provide various programs of their own for children, adults and seniors in their community. The Salvation Army’s Manchester corps has a Kids Cafe program, which runs every Monday through Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. and is open to Manchester kids ages 7 to 12. After the meals, kids go to various activity and game rooms.  
What monetary donations are used for: Donated funds are used for a variety of purposes, such as providing clothing, food and gifts for children, as well as for utilities and emergency disaster aid.
They could also use: James said the demand is always high for gifts for older kids and teeanagers, as well as for senior citizens. “People tend to think of younger children more often, but [gifts for older people] are areas that are sometimes lacking,” she said. The Salvation Army also always welcomes canned goods and boxed items that can be shelved.
Other ways to help: You can volunteer to be a Red Kettle bell ringer or to help with assorted toy distribution. Donations can also be made at The Salvation Army’s Manchester corps always welcomes volunteers to participate in its Kids Cafe program. “We probably get around 90 to 110 kids a night and have two volunteers at each table,” community center director Bob Champagne said. Volunteers assist in serving meals and working with kids in the activity rooms once the meals are over. You can call the Manchester corps directly or visit
Southern New Hampshire Toys for Tots
64 Harvey Road, Londonderry,
What it’s all about: Southern New Hampshire Toys for Tots is part of a nationwide program that serves the community of the less fortunate to allow every child up to 13 years old a Christmas through donated toys. There are several local organizations that have been approved to accept toy requests this year (see website for the full list). Locations where donations can be dropped off include the Laconia, Concord and Kingston VFWs, the Bedford Police Department headquarters, and any of the Toys R Us store locations in southern New Hampshire (Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth, Salem and Concord).
What monetary donations are used for: Ninety-seven cents per dollar goes toward toy donations. The other 3 cents principally covers fundraising expenses. Donations can be made online or by mailed checks made out to Toys for Tots Foundation and sent to the Harvey Street address.
They could also use: New unwrapped toys.
Other ways to help: People can also volunteer their time at the distribution warehouse, or even by holding their own Toys for Tots events after receiving approval and registration, and having a Marine there to help collect the toys.
UpReach Therapeutic Equestrian Center
153 Paige Hill Road, Goffstown, 497-2343,
What it’s all about: UpReach offers weekly therapeutic horseback riding and carriage driving lessons for adults and children with physical, emotional and psychological disabilities. Participants range in age from 3 years old to people well into their 90s, with disabilities that include autism spectrum disorders, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, PTSD and traumatic brain injury.
What monetary donations are used for: Funds are used exclusively for the herd of 18 horses, for needs such as purchasing feed, bedding and veterinary care, as well as for general maintenance and repairs of the center.
They could also use: Horse tack, riding equipment and general office supplies.
Other ways to help: If you are at least 14 years of age, you can apply to be a volunteer as a leader or sidewalker in UpReach’s therapeutic riding, driving or hippotherapy lessons. No prior experience with horses is needed, but all volunteers are required to complete a three-hour training session, which consists of a classroom-style presentation as well as a hands-on practice mock lesson in the barn. The next two training sessions will be offered on Saturday, Dec. 16, from 1 to 4 p.m., and Monday, Dec. 18, from 6 to 9 p.m. UpReach requires a commitment of at least one hour per week, per six- to eight-week term. For those who wish to handle a horse in any capacity, a one-and-a-half-hour “Taking the Lead” training session is required, with the next two being offered on Saturday, Dec. 16, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, and Wednesday, Dec. 27, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
YMCA of Downtown Manchester
30 Mechanic St., Manchester, 623-3558,
What it’s all about: The YMCA of Downtown Manchester is the main branch of the Granite YMCA, which also encompasses the Greater Londonderry, Allard Center (Goffstown), Seacoast (Portsmouth) and Strafford County (Rochester) branches. The Manchester facility offers after-school programs for elementary school students from low-income families; an adventure-based after-school program for at-risk middle school students that includes one-on-one tutoring and field trips for activities like hiking, skiing, snowboarding, camping and ice skating; an alternative education program that serves suspended and expelled high school students; a teen center with healthy snacks, activities and mentorship; and a program that pairs at-risk teens with a senior companion. 
What monetary donations are used for: Teen services director Natalie Barney said 100 percent of all monetary donations support the Y’s outreach programs, providing supplies and covering the cost of field trips. “All these programs are grant-funded or donation-based,” she said. “We want to make sure we can continue to run these programs, and we need all the help we can get.” 
They could also use: During the holiday season, the Y has an Angel Tree in the lobby where people can donate unwrapped toys for families in need. Donated items are also needed for a gift drive for teens; the goal of the drive is to send every teen at the teen center’s holiday party home with a gift. “The Angel Tree generally targets children under age 11, but we really need more support for the teen population and the teen drive, because teenagers have needs, too,” Barney said. Teen gifts could include things like headphones, speakers or gift cards. The Y could also use donated winter coats, snowpants, hats and gloves for the kids’ skiing and snowboarding field trips. 
Other ways to help: There are various volunteering opportunities throughout the year. Right now, Barney said, the Y is looking for volunteers to sort and organize items in its food and clothing pantries. 
YMCA of Greater Nashua
24 Stadium Drive, Nashua, 882-2011; 6 Henry Clay Drive, Merrimack, 881-7778,
What it’s all about: The YMCA of Greater Nashua has facilities in Nashua and Merrimack. Programs include an Early Education Center for 6-week- to 6-year-olds; before- and after-school child care for children in grades 1 through 6, school vacation and summer camps, an academic achievers program for teens, group exercise classes, swimming classes, healthy living and wellness programs and a babysitting service for parents using the fitness equipment.  
What monetary donations are used for: Monetary donations go toward the Y’s annual campaign. “It helps give families in need access to the Y and its many programs for free or a reduced rate, depending on the family’s needs,” Jason Mayeu, director of marketing, said.  
They could also use: Mayeu said people can donate nonperishable food items to the Y’s annual food drives, or donate school supplies, children’s books and other materials to be used in the Y’s child care programs. 
Other ways to help: There are all kinds of volunteering opportunities throughout the year for the Y’s programs and community outreach projects. “We’re always looking for volunteers to help out and give their time,” Mayeu said. 

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