While you’ll find great gift ideas for family and friends throughout this edition of the Hippo, perhaps the best gift you can give this season is to support the people in your community who could use a little extra help this year. You can do this by donating time, money or goods to one of the many local nonprofit organizations listed in the upcoming pages. The Hippo talked to each nonprofit about its mission and what it could use most this holiday season.
American Red Cross,
(2 Maitland St., Concord, 225-6697, redcross.org/nh, redcrossblood.org, redcross.org/holiday)
What it’s all about: The Red Cross provides assistance for disaster relief (about 70,000 people in the United States every year, according to its website), supports America’s military families, provides health and safety courses and international services and collects more than 40 percent of America’s blood supply through donations.
“This year has been a very busy year for the Red Cross, both nationally and internationally. We are really hoping that our community members in New Hampshire can give back to us so that we can continue to provide emergency services in those times of disaster,” said Kayleigh Robertson, communications/external relations director at the American Red Cross of New Hampshire.
What monetary donations are used for: Ninety-one cents of every dollar donated to the American Red Cross is invested in humanitarian services and programs, according to its website. The other nine cents supports the organization’s general operations. This holiday season, you can purchase specific items to help through a Holiday Giving Catalogue (edcross.org/holiday) like emergency shelters ($50-$1,000), military comfort kits ($50-$1,000), vaccinations and gifts that go to “where needed most,” which allows the Red Cross to respond to the most urgent needs when they happen. You can also donate specifically to your local Red Cross, to disaster relief and to the people affected by the typhoon in the Philippines at redcross.org/charitable-donations.
They could also use: They do not accept individual donations or collected items (like food, used clothing, shoes, etc.). But if you can’t help out monetarily, you can always give blood. You can visit redcrossblood.org to make an appointment.
This week, blood drives are at the Danville Fire Association (169 Main St., Danville) on Friday, Dec. 6, from 12:30 to 6 p.m.; at NHTI (31 College Drive, Concord) on Friday, Dec. 6, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church (180 Loudon Road, Concord) on Monday, Dec. 9, from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m.; at Gilbert H. Hood Middle School (5 Hood Road, Derry) on Monday, Dec. 9, from 2 to 7 p.m.; and at the Londonderry Lions Club (256 Mammoth Road, Londonderry) on Tuesday, Dec. 10, from 1 to 6 p.m. Visit redcrossblood.org and look under “Your Local Region” to find out where to donate. (At all of these blood drives, be sure to call 800-RED-CROSS to make an appointment.)
Other ways to help: There are immediate volunteer openings throughout the state. Visit redcross.org/nh for details.
(180 Lowell Road, Hudson, annmariehouse.org, 883-7338)
What it’s all about: The mission of Anne-Marie House, according to its website, is to support the needs of families experiencing homelessness as they work to achieve sustainable income and housing. This is done through offering safe, secure transitional housing, wholesome meals, continuing education, transportation and other supportive services, all of which is done out of a 17,000-square-foot former novitiate containing 26 rooms, a large kitchen, parlor, laundry room, family room, offices and more.
What monetary donations are used for: The general operations fund, which includes the heating, rent and upkeep of the building, in addition to staff salaries. (Though, in the past, donors have also given money with specific projects in mind.) They can be made online or by calling the office.
They could also use: General household cleaning products, fresh fruits and vegetables, diapers and in-kind donations like clothing and furniture. Contact Sherry Dutzy (firstname.lastname@example.org) before purchasing or dropping off donations.
Other ways to help: The nonprofit is looking for a volunteer interior decorator and volunteers to help in and around the building during the day. Email Tami McKay at email@example.com) for details.
Boys & Girls Clubs of
(55 Bradley St., Concord, 224-1061, concordkids.org)
What it’s all about: The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Concord provides adult role models and opportunities for learning to 1,300 local kids at five different sites. Programs include kindergarten, after-school activities, leadership groups, fashion design classes, health and fitness programs, cooking classes, art and computer programs and homework help.
What monetary donations are used for: Financial gifts go directly toward financial aid for students.
They could also use: Office supplies, program supplies (glue, markers, crayons, construction paper), board games, books or gift certificates to purchase books.
Other ways to help: Coaching, fundraising, STEM programming volunteers (for one-time visits or consistent volunteering), spreading information and awareness about the Boys & Girls Club (host a house party with friends for a presentation on the mission of the organization).
Boys & Girls Club of
(40 E. Derry Road, East Derry, 434-6695, derrybgclub.org)
What it’s all about: The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Derry supports local families by focusing on youth development and enrichment through after-school and community programming. The Club provides recreation, team sports, technology program and homework help for kids, as well as family support resources.
What monetary donations are used for: Club operations.
They could also use: Sporting equipment, new clothing, gift certificates.
Other ways to help: Volunteering through programs, like team sports, and supporting events during the year like raffles or golf tournaments.
Boys & Girls Club of
(47 Grand Avenue, Nashua, 883-0523, bgcn.com)
What it’s all about: The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Nashua serves students ages 5 to 18 with programs in the arts, athletics and leadership. There are opportunities for technology education, homework help and tutoring, sports and recreation, giving back to the community with positive role models that encourage students to become productive, caring and responsible citizens. Programs range from summer camp and the clubhouse, to the Kids Club, the teen center and 21st Century programs for students in middle school with transportation and meals services.
What monetary donations are used for: Support programs and services, like homework help and college and career preparation, healthy living classes and cultural arts classes. Donors may designate the program or area they would like to sponsor. Donors can also “adopt” a family during the holidays to donate gifts.
They could also use: Cold-weather gear (coats, snow pants, boots, hats, gloves, mittens and scarves), toys, board games, arts and crafts supplies, school supplies or other kid- and teen-friendly items.
Other ways to help: Volunteer with academic programs, homework help and tutoring, coaching in sports leagues, or sharing talents like teaching a class on dance or recreational activities. Volunteers can also help with administrative tasks or with the meals program.
Boys & Girls Club of
(3 Geremonty Drive, Salem, 898-7709, salembgc.org)
What it’s all about: The Boys & Girls Club currently serves 400 students each day ages 6 to 18, and seeks to provide academic success, healthy lifestyles and citizenship responsibility for youth. The Club offers leadership, performing arts, fine arts programming, preschool, after-school and Early Bird enrichment, a teen center for grades 6 through 12, recreation leagues and fitness. The Boys & Girls Club recently increased transportation services and meal program to provide breakfast, an after school snack and dinner.
What monetary donations are used for: Direct services for youth in Salem, and operational funding. Also has matching gift opportunities for new donors during the Annual Giving Campaign.
They could also use: The Club works with other agencies, like Toys 4 Tots and partners with the Food Bank and is always looking for donations there.
Other ways to help: Various volunteering opportunities including homework help, coaching and meal programs
Boys & Girls Club of Manchester
(555 Union St., Manchester, 625-5031, mbgcnh.org)
What it’s all about: The Boys & Girls Club of Manchester offers before-school and after-school programs for students in grades 1 through 12 with up to 500 students daily at the Union Street facility, and about 100 kids at Jewett Street School and Highland-Goffs Falls Elementary School. The programs offered by the club, including homework help, tutoring, arts and crafts, leadership and athletics, focus on the students’ academic success, healthy lifestyles and character and leadership development. The Boys & Girls Club of Manchester also offers summer camp at Camp Foster and a daily meals program that includes breakfast, after-school snack and dinner.
What monetary donations are used for: 85 percent of all revenue goes directly toward program-related services. Designated donations can be made to specific programs (like athletics, leadership programs or the meals program). Unrestricted donations support programs and direct services to kids.
They could also use: In-kind donations, like tickets to sporting events, games, art supplies or new books. Companies and individuals can also “adopt” a member family during the holidays to donate presents to the whole family.
Other ways to help: Volunteering for a designated period of time on a consistent, long-term basis as a coach, tutoring, running a small group program like crochet, or helping with the FIRST LEGO league.
(11 S. Main St., Suite 500, Concord, capitalregionfoodprogram.org, firstname.lastname@example.org)
What it’s all about: The program is a private, not-for-profit all-volunteer organization. Its mission is to reduce hunger in the greater Concord area by securing monetary donations, soliciting in-kind services from local businesses and collaborating with other community distribution and service agencies. Now is the nonprofit’s busiest time of year: the 40th Annual Food Basket Project, which provides more than 2,600 families in Concord and the surrounding communities, is going on now through Christmas. The organization provides two food baskets for these families the day before Christmas, which will allow them to put a good meal on the table and provide food for the next two to three weeks. CRFP also organizes the Year-Round Distribution Project, which provides supplemental food supplies to 30 food pantries and social service agencies year-round.
What monetary donations are used for: One hundred percent of donations will go directly toward the purchasing and distributing of food.
They could also use: Nonperishable items donated from locals, which must be dropped off at the New Hampshire Armory in Concord by Dec. 17.
Other ways to help: Volunteers are needed to assemble baskets and deliver the food the day before Christmas. The process, from start to finish, takes about one week with many hours spent by volunteers preparing baskets. Visit capitalregionfoodprogram.org to sign up to volunteer. Individuals can also start local food drives, just so long as the collection is finished in time for packaging and delivery (which, again, starts Dec. 17).
The CareGivers of NH
(19 Harvey Road, Bedford, 622-4948, caregiversnh.org)
What it’s all about: Provides services and programs for about 300 clients who are homebound, elderly and disabled in the greater Manchester and Nashua area. Services include the Caring Cupboard food pantry, a mobile food pantry network, transportation services, assistance with grocery shopping and visitation. There is also a Birthday Squad, a team of volunteers who deliver birthday packages that often include candy or cookies and a card to clients on the month of their birthday, and during the holidays, the Holiday Hopes program delivers presents to clients.
What monetary donations are used for: Donations help various programs, like purchasing perishable foods like dairy and produce for grocery deliveries, costs, operations, vehicle maintenance and gas.
They could also use: Non-perishables can be donated to the Caring Cupboard (holiday items like cranberry sauce, canned fruit and stuffing are requested during the season), or presents for Holiday Hopes. Donors can be matched to a client’s requested gift that can be donated to Holiday Hopes.
Other ways to help: Short-term volunteering includes food deliveries for the Caring Cupboard (deliveries are made on the first and third Thursday of the month), and long-term volunteering like drivers for the transportation program (recommended for retirees as much of the transportation needed is during the day to doctors appointments, for example).
CASA of NH
(138 Coolidge Ave., Manchester, 626-4600, casanh.org)
What it’s all about: CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates, of NH advocates for and represents abused and neglected children in the state’s courts. Since 1989, CASA of NH has served over 8,000 children in District and Family Courts. The organization ensures that qualified, compassionate adults are trained to protect a child’s right to safety.
What monetary donations are used for: Recruitment for volunteers, spreading awareness about the organization, cost for training and operations costs for the five regional offices.
They could also use: CASA of NH has a series of original greeting cards for sale that include holiday themes and images for the entire year for thank you or birthday cards.
Other ways to help: Office volunteers, spreading awareness, serve on a committee or volunteer for an event. CASA is always seeking volunteers to be trained as a guardian ad litem (or GAL).
(55 Auburn St., Manchester, 623-8863, nh.easterseals.com)
What it’s all about: Easter Seals is a nonprofit that provides service to ensure that people with disabilities, special needs, and their families have equal opportunity to live, learn, work and play. There are 22 New Hampshire locations, with headquarters on Auburn Street in Manchester.
What monetary donations are used for: Almost 90 cents of every dollar donated is used to provide direct services for children and adults with disabilities. These services include programs for children, adults, seniors, individuals on the autism spectrum and individuals with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and for veterans and their families.
They could also use: You can donate cash or gift cards to the veterans program or adopt a kid (in the monetary sense) for the holiday season while purchasing toys, warm clothes, etc. for him or her. Contact Karen Van Der Beken, email@example.com, 621-3556, for details.
Other ways to help: There are volunteer opportunities available (contact Karen for information on that, too), and from Dec. 1 through Dec. 12, Easter Seals hosts The 12 Days of Christmas. During this time, the organization will identify and post different ways to give in each of the nonprofit’s programs on each of these 12 days on its Facebook page, facebook.com/EasterSealsNH.
What it’s all about: Emily’s Place is a confidential, safe shelter for women and their children in and around Manchester who are fleeing from domestic or sexual violence. It’s part of the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association), so donors can opt to put money toward the shelter itself or to the entire organization, whose goal is to empower women and enrich the general community. The shelter holds up to 15 residents at a time.
What monetary donations are used for: Donations to Emily’s Place contribute to general operations of the shelter, which while partly run by grants, relies heavily on donations.
They could also use: Gift cards. “When families come in with their children, they often don’t have anything with them,” said Cathy Cagne of the YWCA. Gift cards to grocery stores, Walmart and Target are all constantly on the nonprofit’s wish list, as are batteries, light bulbs, cleaning suplies, paper products, Ziploc Big Bags (10 gallons or larger, for welcome kits at the shelter), new towels and twin-sized mattress pads. The organization is not currently accepting gently used, in-kind donations.
Other ways to help: Volunteers help in a whole host of ways. They’re on the phone for the 24-hour crisis hotline (which requires 30 hours of training), answering the phone at the front desk, helping out with fundraising events, conducting data entry, transcribing notes, painting/fixing items at the shelter, etc. “It depends on what people’s skills are,” Gagne said.
Families in Transition
(122 Market St., Manchester, 641-9441, firstname.lastname@example.org, fitnh.org)
What it’s all about: The nonprofit aims to provide safe, affordable housing and comprehensive social services to individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. The nonprofit offers residential and emergency housing in Manchester, Concord and Dover for these families in transition, and it delivers life skills, outpatient and youth programming services.
What monetary donations are used for: Operational support among the many areas of service.
They could also use: Brand-new hats, gloves, pajamas, toys and books for kids; gift certificates (to the movie theater, grocery store, Walmart, Target, Kohl’s); craft supplies, winter coats and boots for kids; diapers and wipes; bus passes; brand-new bedding; cleaning products, dishes, housewares (contact email@example.com for details); and nonperishable food items for the organization’s five emergency food pantries; toiletries; shampoo, etc. (There’s a more complete list available at fitnh.org.) You can donate gently used clothing, housewares, furniture, etc., to the Family OutFITters Thrift Store (which has locations in Concord and Manchester), with 100 percent of those proceeds benefitting Families in Transition.
Other ways to help: The organization houses paid staff but relies on volunteers. “We loving having people come in, whether it be for a few hours a week or once a month. We’re happy to meet where people are at in terms of commitment, skillset and interests,” said Michele Talwani, director of economic development and marketing at FIT. “We want families to have things to put on their tables, to give to their children, but our needs go beyond the holiday season, and so do the volunteer opportunities.”
(202 N. State St., Concord, 228-1193, friendsprogram.org)
What it’s all about: The nonprofit aims to strengthen communities by helping to empower people. It’s comprised of four programs: Emergency Housing (located in the south end of Concord, which can house eight homeless families daily); Foster Grandparents; the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and Youth Mentoring. Each year, the program mobilizes 1,000 New Hampshire volunteers, who, in turn, serve about 4,500 people each year.
What the monetary donations are used for: Operational support. Only two people, for instance, are working in the youth mentoring program. This past year, said Executive Director Jerry Madden, the pair matched 100 volunteers with 100 mentors each. Money also goes to the transitional housing program and the other volunteer programs.
They could also use: Madden requests that potential donors place a call, 228-1193, for inquiries about what to give, specifically.
Other ways to help: The organization is always looking for volunteers, particularly regulars.
Granite United Way
(22 Concord St., Manchester, 625-6939, graniteuw.org)
What it’s all about: An organization committed to focusing on fundraising for local organizations to help with education, income and health. They focus on what a community needs to succeed.
What monetary donations are used for: “Donations to Granite United Way are used for a wide variety of services focused on advancing the common good in areas of health, education, and financial stability. We support many programs right there in the Manchester, Derry, Salem area,” said Karrie Eaton, director of marketing and communications. “As with all of our donations, a team of local volunteers determine where the greatest need in their community is.”
They could also use: “If a person or group would like to donate products or services, we work with our local nonprofits to find the best fit,” Eaton said. “Our Community Impact teams know where there are gaps in coverage. For instance, a group from Comcast wanted to help with early childhood education and Granite United Way collaborated with them to bring 180 Literacy Kits for Kids to children who have few or no resources at home.”
Other ways to help: They are currently recruiting for volunteers for their Community Review Teams and Volunteer Income Tax Assistance. They also welcome volunteers to assist in administrative tasks.
(815 Elm St., Manchester, 625-2627, girlsincnewhampshire.org)
What it’s all about: Offers different programs for girls in the area to achieve their potential. Some programs right now are the Burke Street Early Learning Center, New Hampshire Teen Leadership Academy, Media Literacy and Sporting Chance. Each girl can learn and grow in a healthy, friendly environment due to their dedicated volunteers.
What monetary donations are used for: “We would use [the money] for scholarships for girls to go to Girls Inc.,” said Jen Indeglia, chief operating officer.
They could also use: Their wish list includes arts and crafts supplies, toys that are new or gently used, or clothes that are new or gently used.
Other ways to help: “We always accept volunteers, either to teach a class or mentor a girl, or help with homework,” Indeglia said.
Habitat for Humanity
(250 Commercial St., Manchester, 626-3944, habitatmanchester.org)
What it’s all about: A group of volunteers come together to help families in need with renovations or building homes. The program works with the homeowner to build the house based on donations of money or materials. Each homeowner must help in building the house as well.
What monetary donations are used for: Money is used to purchase materials to help build the houses. It also allows them to pay for specialized work with electrical, plumbing and paving.
They could also use: Donations of materials for the house. You can also donate a car, truck, boat or RV, or land.
Other ways to help: They are always looking for volunteers to help with the construction of the houses. They often look for group construction volunteers or youth groups to help with building. They also need volunteers to work on committees and help in the office.
(814 Elm St., Suite 300, Manchester, newhampshire.wish.org, 623-WISH, firstname.lastname@example.org)
What it’s all about: The goal is to make dreams come true. Specifically, the dreams of children with life-threatening medical conditions. (The extent to what Make-A-Wish can accomplish was evident a few weeks ago when a 5-year-old in San Francisco lived out his dream and became Batman — or rather, Batkid — for a day.) Right now there are 112 children in New Hampshire battling serious illness, said Jason Tremblay, Director of Philanthropy at the New Hampshire Make-A-Wish chapter. Last year, the organization was able to grant 84 of those kids’ wishes. The goal for 2014? To grant wishes for all of those kids.
What monetary donations are used for: Anything and everything, from sending kids to favorite theme parks in Florida to transforming them into princesses and building them castles. The average cost of a wish is $10,000 in the New Hampshire chapter.
They could also use: Wish-granting volunteers. These individuals go out, interview the kids, meet the families, and help create this “incredibly heartwarming and pivotal experience with the family,” Tremblay said. There’s an informational session for prospective volunteers at the Manchester office on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at 4 p.m., and Thursday, Jan. 30, at noon.
Other ways to help: If you write a letter to Santa about why you believe in the spirit of the holidays and drop it off at Macy’s (there will be a big red box), the department store will donate $1 per letter, up to one million nationally. Macy’s “Believe” campaign is based on The New York Sun’s famous editorial. Letters will be accepted up until Christmas.
(Nashua, 598-1582, margueritesplace.org)
What it’s all about: A transitional housing program for women with children who are in crisis. They offer housing and programs to help with parenting and training for employment. Their goal is to make sure each family can gain independence for long-term success.
What monetary donations are used for: “Donations of money are used to help homeless women with children and provide for their physical, emotional, educational and social support to achieve and sustain permanent self-sufficiency,” said Melissa Ballard Sullivan, director of development and PR.
They could also use: Their wish list includes: Diapers in sizes, 4, 5 and 6, markers, finger paints, games, twin sheets, quilts, blankets, mattress pads and pillows, towels, dish sets, kitchen utensils, can openers, pots and pans, lamps, paper towels, toilet paper, all-purpose cleaner, laundry soap, bleach, shampoo and conditioner, and body soaps and lotion.
Other ways to help: They could always use volunteers for Friends of Marguerite’s Place, a group that meets regularly to plan fundraising ideas. They need reception volunteers to answer the phones on Mondays and Thursdays. Qualified volunteers are needed to assist teachers in the preschool. They also need help with lunch preparation on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:30 to 11:45 p.m.
Meals on Wheels
(395 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack, 424-9967, mealsonwheelsnh.org)
What it’s all about: The Meals on Wheels Program, provided by St. Joseph Community Services, delivers hot meals and performs daily safety checks that help isolated seniors and people with disabilities remain in their homes.
What monetary donations are used for: “Limited funding and budget cuts have increased the need for community support,” said Sheryl Sweet, development associate. “Please consider giving the gift of hot meals this holiday season.” A gift of $40 provides one week of hot meals, $80 provides two weeks and $173 provides one month of hot meals. To donate online visit mealsonwheelsnh.org/donate, or mail a check to the above address.
They could also use: For the Holiday Gift Tag Program: unwrapped gifts such facial tissues, soap/shampoo, hats, scarves and gloves, postage stamps and stationery, or coffee/tea/cocoa.
Other ways to help: Volunteers are always needed, options include: drivers to deliver meals, help with office work, or help with the meal program. To volunteer visit mealsonwheelsnh.org/involved or call 424-9967.
The Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester
(401 Cypress St., Manchester, 668-4111, mhcgm.org)
What it’s all about: The Mental Health Center offers services to over 11,000 children, adults and seniors in New Hampshire each year. It’s the largest outpatient mental health facility in the state with community support services, counseling, naturopathic medicine and a short-term inpatient crisis stabilization program.
What monetary donations are used for: Charity care for a community member, individual or family member in need
They could also use: Hands-on and skill-set-based volunteering
Other ways to help: The center holds four big events each year, including the Groundhog Day Silent Auction in February and a 5k race in June. Those looking to give back can participate in events or volunteer during event programs.
(195 McGregor St., Manchester, 206-2700, moorecenter.org)
What it’s all about: An organization that helps people with intellectual, developmental and personal challenges, by helping to create opportunities to live a good life.
What monetary donations are used for: “It depends on the donation,” said Brenda Aziz, development director. “If the donor has a special request for it then we honor that request; if not, we would use it to operate our services.”
They could also use: Tickets for museums or Manchester Monarchs games or winter jackets and clothes.
Other ways to help: They could always use volunteers on an individual basis but also noted that if someone has a talent they could share, such as teaching a class about something, they would love to have a volunteer come in for their day services program. They are looking for meaningful activities for the people in the program.
Nashua Soup Kitchen
(42 Chestnut St., Nashua, 889-7770, nsks.org)
What it’s all about: A dedicated organization providing shelter and food to those who need it. The organization offers employment and education programs to help its residents become independent.
What monetary donations are used for: “We would use it for our general operations, mostly food,” said Lisa Christy, executive director. “But right now we have our capital campaign, which we are doing for the renovations for our new building. If we raise $150,000 by the end of December, then our donors will give us $100,000 for renovations.”
They could also use: Aside from money, they welcome donations of food. Right now they are working on baskets, so holiday food such as cranberry sauce and stuffing is welcomed, but they are always in need of peanut butter, cereal, canned foods and rice.
Other ways to help: They could always use volunteers. Sign up online at nsks.org/volunteer_opportunities.
(199 Manchester St., Manchester, 668-1877, newhorizonsfornh.org)
What it’s all about: An organization that runs an adult homeless center with a soup kitchen and a pantry. The organization also runs Angie’s Shelter for women. The center provides a number of services for people in need of the shelter including medical services and substance abuse counseling. The soup kitchen provides food to the shelter guests daily and the food pantry provides food to families in Manchester.
What monetary donations are used for: “We would use it for running our operations, so our soup kitchen or our food pantry,” said Michelle Casale, executive director. “We feed 900 families monthly with our food pantry and 250 meals nightly at our soup kitchen.”
They could use: Canned foods or diapers, formula and wipes for babies.
Other ways to help: They are always looking for volunteers. Sign up online at newhorizonsfornh.org/volunteer.
NH Food Bank
(700 E. Industrial Park Drive, Manchester, 669-9725, nhfoodbank.org)
What it’s all about: A program of New Hampshire Catholic Charities, the food bank provides food to New Hampshire residents through agencies such as food pantries, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, children’s programs and senior centers.
What monetary donations are used for: Any donations of money go to purchasing food that needs to be dispersed to those in need.
They could also use: Canned vegetables, pasta, tuna, peanut butter, beans, canned soup and jelly.
Other ways to help: “We are always looking for volunteers,” said Bruce Wilson, director of operations. “Volunteers are equally important to us. We love volunteers. They can help us do anything from sorting food to answering the phones and running the facility or just telling the public about us.”
(nhpartnership.org, 45 High St., Nashua, 882-3616)
What it’s all about: It’s comprised of six agencies: Harbor Homes (providing low-income community members with affordable housing, primary and behavioral health care, employment and job training), Keystone Hall (providing substance abuse treatment and recovery services to individuals/families in supportive environment); Healthy at Home (helping people with illness/injury through community providers); Milford Regional Counseling Services (providing access to professional mental health care regardless of income); Southern NH HIV/AIDS Task Force (increasing quality/availability of knowledge of services, resources, in matters relating to HIV/AIDS); and The Institute at Welcoming Light (providing affordable event planning, quality training, technical assistance for nonprofits, community).
What monetary donations are used for: Eighty-eight cents for every dollar goes toward operating costs. This includes things like emergency assistance, supportive housing, support/case management, housing/employment services, access to primary care, substance abuse disorder treatment/prevention, and more.
They could also use: Twin/full-sized sheets, twin/full-sized comforters, personal care items, gas cards, lamps, pillows, towels, curtains, kitchen supplies, diapers, baby clothes outdoor games, baby clothes, arts/craft items, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, etc. Donations must be new. Old furniture, old books, can instead be donated to Consigning for Good (consigningforgood.com, 172 S. St., Milford, 249-9481) and in the Southern New Hampshire HIV/AIDS Task Force collection bin outside the building at 12 Amherst St., Nashua.
Other ways to help out: Volunteer! They need volunteers for anything and everything. Most recently, 50 volunteers helped out at the nonprofit’s annual Thanksgiving dinner, but volunteers can also help out by performing administrative tasks, guest blogging, performing service projects, providing indoor/outdoor maintenance, etc. The best way to figure out how you can help is to contact Jennifer Ceballos at email@example.com.
(121 Cedar St., Manchester, 627-7013, use.salvationarmy.org/manchester)
What it’s all about: A nonprofit organization that tends to the physical and spiritual needs of its community. They provide food, clothing, welfare, housing or employment. They also offer seasonal assistance for holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas. The organization also has a youth center for children and Sunday school and worship services.
What monetary donations are used for: “[Money] can be put directly to a certain fund only,” said Randy Moison, office manager. “It can go to things like our music program or to help out with the food pantry.”
They could also use: Right now they need clothing for winter, like winter jackets, gloves, scarves and hats.
Other ways to help: During the holidays they are looking for volunteers to be holiday bell ringers or drivers, or to work in the holiday toy shop to sort and organize the donated toys. They always need volunteers to work in their tutoring center, kids cafe, or office positions. Corporations can also donate meals for children and volunteers.
Toys For Tots
What it’s all about: Toys For Tots is a U.S. Marine Corps Reserve program that collects new and unopened toys to be distributed at Christmas to less fortunate children. Last year, Toys For Tots was able to help 180,000 families in southern New Hampshire. This year, 6,000 toys were lost due to water damage in a storage facility, but staff sergeant Dan Sierra, who organizes the southern New Hampshire distribution, hopes to help 300,000 families this Christmas.
What monetary donations are used for: Any monetary donation goes toward purchasing toys that might be missing after donations (for example, if board games, Barbies, LEGOs or other toys happen to have fewer donations, monetary donations help fill in those gaps).
They could also use: New, unopened and unwrapped toys can be dropped off at businesses and organizations all over the state, including banks, schools, New Hampshire Liquor Store Outlets, restaurants, commercial businesses and more. There are also drop-off sites at the Mall of New Hampshire (1500 S. Willow St., Manchester) and Toys R Us locations (2 Keller St., Manchester; 272 Daniel Webster Hwy, Nashua; 85 Gosling Road, Newington; 16 Veterans Memorial Parkway, Salem; 310 Loudon Road, Concord). Visit londonderry-nh.toysfortots.org to view a list of drop-off sites.
Other ways to help: Volunteers can help at events, during toy sorting at the warehouse and helping to hand out toys to families. Those interested in volunteering can go online to register as a volunteer.
(153 Paige Hill Road, Goffstown, 497-2343, upreachtrc.org)
What it’s all about: The program is 21 years old and serves between 75 and 80 students and is dedicated to improving physical, emotional and psychological development of challenged children and adults through progressive therapies. Specifically, those therapies that involve horses.
“There are lessons year-round, as we have an indoor arena,” said Barbara Miles, director of development at Upreach Therapeutic Riding. The youngest student is just 3 years old and the oldest is a senior.
What monetary donations are used for: Anything and everything. The nonprofit receives no federal or state funding and is not a United Way agency, so it depends on donations from individuals, school organizations and foundations. Your donation might go toward scholarships (as many of the participating families are living at or below poverty level — it costs $300 for each student to ride for six weeks); toward feeding the horses (it costs $2,500 to feed a horse each year); and toward general maintenance.
They could also use: Horses. Yes, horses! UpReach needs quiet horses and ponies to help provide therapeutic equine services, best between 10 and 20 years old. They’re also in need of office supplies, computer equipment, printer cartridges, horse equipment/support, cleaning supplies, tools that work (hammers, nails, screwdrivers, to keep the fence posts around the 96 acres of land in tact), toilet paper, paper towels, etc.
“Anything you need at home, in your office, in your barn, we need here at Upreach,” Miles said. “We have 120 volunteers, 75 students, plus their families, caregivers, and so we go through toilet paper and paper towels like crazy. It’s a real valuable gift you can give.” There’s also a full list at upreachtrc.org.
Other ways to help out: Volunteers are paramount, the “life and blood” of Upreach. There are upcoming trainings on Monday, Dec. 16, from 1 to 4 p.m.; Tuesday, Dec. 17, from 6 to 9 p.m.; and Saturday, Jan. 4, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at which time potential volunteers will learn how to handle a horse and keep riders safe during sessions. Horse experience is helpful but not necessary, Miles said.
“Volunteers get to see real progress and real happiness. This is a real joyful place,” Miles said.
(30 Mechanic St., Manchester, 623-3558, yogm.org)
What it’s all about: The YMCA of Greater Manchester has five branches and two overnight camps in NH, including the downtown Manchester facility, YMCA of the Seacoast, YMCA of Greater Londonderry and the Allard Center to name a few. Last year, the Y served over 35,000 children, teens and adults from 27 different communities. The Reach Out for Youth and Families — providing membership and scholarships for families to participate in Y programming — and Youth Opportunities, a dropout prevention program, are two particular areas that benefit families, children and teens in the communities the YMCA of Greater Manchester serves.
What monetary donations are used for: Various programs, and donors can select their own area to give towards or to the program area that has the most need at the time of donation. Reach Out for Youth and Families provides camp scholarships, youth programming scholarships and memberships to the Y, and Youth Opportunities Unlimited dropout prevention serves over 800 at-risk youth in Manchester with programs after school, during school and for suspended and expelled students. Employers can also match donations.
They could also use: Each program and facility has a wish list, with items including school supplies, board games, DVDs, clothing (like hats, gloves, socks, winter coats), toys, baby furniture, dictionaries, arts and crafts supplies, water toys, life jackets, basketballs, kids magazines, storage bins, CD players and more.
Other ways to help: Program volunteers, like instructors, coaches or aides; support volunteers to work in the office, front desk and around the facility; and fundraising volunteers to help raise funds during campaigns or to help with special events.
YMCA of Greater Nashua
(24 Stadium Drive, Nashua, 882-2011, nmyymca.org)
What it’s all about: The YMCA of Greater Nashua includes facilities in Nashua and Merrimack, and focuses on strengthening the community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Programs range for all ages, including childcare, afterschool programming, arts, camp programs, recreation and fitness, healthy living programs (including obesity awareness, childhood obesity programs through local pediatricians and Livestrong program for cancer survivors). Also provides financial assistance to community members to participate in YMCA programs.
What monetary donations are used for: Donations can be made to a donor’s particular interest area or program, or can be directed by amount. For example, a $100 donation can provide a week of camp for a child or two months of dance instruction.
They could also use: New or gently used toys, board games or pieces of equipment for childcare or camping programs
Other ways to help: The YMCA is always seeking talent and skill-based volunteering (teaching a class or program), assisting staff with clerical needs, greeting, monitoring or policy volunteers, serving on boards, committees, events or development.
Concord Family YMCA
(15 N. State St., Concord, 228-9622, concordymca.org)
What it’s all about: The Concord Family YMCA accumulated 12,500 hours of time donated to programs by volunteers this year. The organization serves over 3,500 kids and teens through programs like after-school care and sports leagues. It’s also the largest child care provider in the Merrimack county, with a full-day kindergarten with certified teachers and licensed child care for ages 18 months to 5 years old, along with YMCA community outreach, dance classes, swim, gym and summer camp facilities.
What monetary donations are used for: Benefits the annual campaign for funding of YMCA programming and operations, scholarships for families, seniors and individuals interested in membership
They could also use: Toys for the child care programs, and donations may also be made during the holiday for the YMCA Giving Tree in the lobby to help community families in need
Other ways to help: Sponsors and volunteers for three major fundraising events or volunteering time with administrative tasks or facility maintenance. The United Way also has a volunteer day to tackle large volunteer projects, like cleaning up the playground or painting.
Know of a worthy cause not mentioned here? Tell us all about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.