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Apr 16, 2014







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Health, wellness and nutrition organizations

• American Cancer Society (Northern New England Region, 2 Commerce Drive, Suite 110, in Bedford, 472-8899, 1-800-640-7101, cancer.org) helps people facing cancer through early detection, treatment and education.

• American Heart Association (2 Wall St., Manchester, 669-5833, americanheart.org) helps to create healthier lives by eliminating heart diseases and strokes, which are the number one leading causes of death in New Hampshire.

• American Lung Association of New England (1800 Elm St., Manchester, 369-3977, lungne.orglungne.org) focuses on clean, healthy air, tobacco control and all lung disease, and aims to save lives by improving lung health.

• Amoskeag Urgent Dental Care (324 S. Main St., Manchester, 627-2227, amoskeagurgentdentalcare.com) provides same-day dental care to people in Manchester, Portsmouth, Nashua, Concord and surrounding areas, and allows for payment plans that fit the patient.

• The Caregivers Inc. located in Bedford and Nashua provide transportation for health and medical care needs, including transportation to Boston, Burlington, Mass., and Hanover for those who need medical care outside southern New Hampshire. Caregivers also provide a grocery service called Food for the Homebound. They may also shop for individuals who cannot leave their home. Call the main office in Bedford (19 Harvey Road, Bedford) at 622-4948 or the satellite office in Nashua (491 Amherst St., Nashua) at 595-4502, or visit caregiversnh.org.

• Catholic Medical Center (100 McGregor St. in Manchester, catholicmedicalcenter.org, 668-3545) offers various programs. Call for information.

• Community Bridges (2 Whitney Road in Concord, 225-4153, www.communitybridgesnh.org) “connects individuals with disabilities and their families with resources to help them achieve positive growth and change,” according to a press release. Programs serve people of all ages and financial backgrounds, the release said.

• Concord Hospital (250 Pleasant St. in Concord, concordhospital.org, 225-2711) has various supportive programs. Call for information.

• Easter Seals NH (555 Auburn St. in Manchester, 623-8863, nh.easterseals.com) works to ensure that people with disabilities and their families have equal opportunity to live, learn, work and play. Easter Seals NH has 22 locations throughout New Hampshire and helps more than 23,000 individuals a year.

• Elliot Hospital (One Elliot Way in Manchester, 669-5300, elliothospital.org) offers many programs. Call for information.

• Families First Health and Support Center (100 Campus Drive, Portsmouth, 422-8208 ext. 3, familiesfirstseacoast.org) has one of the only community health centers that provide on-site dental care. It’s open to established patients of Families First Health Center, children and teens living in New Hampshire or Maine and clients of The Krempels Center or AIDS Response-Seacoast.

• The Friendly Kitchen (currently serving at Sacred Heart Parish, 52 Pleasant St., Concord, 224-7678, thefriendlykitchen.org) is the only soup kitchen in Concord and has a simple goal of feeding the hungry. Earlier this year the Friendly Kitchen suffered a three-alarm fire at its former home at 14 Montgomery St., Concord.

• Greater Manchester AIDS Project (170 Lowell St. in Manchester, 226-0607, mvap.org) supports and assists people infected and/or affected by HIV/AIDS through direct assistance, advocacy and education. It also looks to prevent new infections by promoting safer practices and dispelling stereotypes about HIV/AIDS.

• Home Health & Hospice Care (7 Executive Drive, Merrimack, 882-2941, hhhc.org) enhances quality of life by visiting hospice patients in a variety of environments, including homes, nursing home and assisted living facilities, hospitals and the Community Hospice House. See hhhcvolunteers.org/volunteerhhhcvolunteers.org/volunteer or call 557-2806. HHHC has offices in Manchester, Merrimack and Concord.

• March of Dimes - NH Chapter (22 Bridge St. in Concord, 228-0317, marchofdimes.com/newhampshire) improves baby health by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality through research, community activities, education and advocacy.

• Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester (401 Cypress St., Manchester, 668-4111, mhcgm.org) provides mental health services to children, teenagers, adults and seniors in Manchester, Bedford, Goffstown, New Boston, Hooksett, Auburn, Candia and Londonderry, and has been active for more than 50 years.

• Moore Center (195 McGregor St., #400, Manchester, 206-2700, moorecenter.org) helps people with developmental and intellectual disabilities and acquired brain injuries to become productive and fulfilled members of society.

• NAMI NH (National Alliance on Mental Illness New Hampshire, 15 Green St. in Concord, 225-5359, naminh.org) works on behalf of people with mental illness by educating and advocating for their rights and benefits.

• Nashua Soup Kitchen (42 Chestnut St., Nashua, 889-7770, nsks.org) provides food and shelter for those in need. It serves breakfast Monday through Friday and dinner seven days a week, averaging 1,700 meals each week.

• New Hampshire Food Bank (700 E Industrial Park Drive, Manchester, 669-9725, nhfoodbank.org) is the only food bank in the state and distributes donated food to more than 400 food pantries, shelters, senior citizen homes, etc. across the state. It is a program of New Hampshire Catholic Charities.

• New Horizons for New Hampshire (199 Manchester St., Manchester, 668-1877, newhorizonsfornh.org) is the only facility in the state that includes a food pantry, soup kitchen and shelter. It provides groceries for 900 families per month.

• NH Association for the Blind (McGreal Sight Center, 25 Walker St., Concord, 856-7615, sightcenter.comsightcenter.com) provides services for blind and visually impaired citizens, including driving, reading of mail, etc.

• Red Cross (redcross.org; Greater Manchester Chapter, 425 Reservoir Ave., Manchester, 625-1951; NH Gateway Chapter, 28 Concord St., Nashua, 889-6664, Nashua.redcross.org; Granite Chapter Office, 2 Maitland St., Concord, 225-6697, concord-redcross.org) helps “everyone in the state prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters and other life-threatening emergencies,” according to its website.

• Southern NH AIDS Task Force (12 Amherst St. in Nashua, 595-8464, aidstaskforcenh.org) is the only HIV/AIDS service organization in the Greater Nashua area and it works to increase knowledge, services and resources on the issue.

• Southern New Hampshire Medical Center (downtown Nashua, 577-2000, snhhs.org) offers various supportive programs. Call for information.

• St. Joseph Hospital (172 Kinsley St. in Nashua, 882-3000, stjosephhospital.com) has various programs. Call for information.

• Visiting Nurse Association of Manchester and Southern New Hampshire (33 S. Commercial St., Suite 401, in Manchester, 622-3781, manchestervna.org) helps residents recover from surgery, physical disabilities, and bad health without having to leave their homes.





Lean times for health groups
Charities focused on medical issues and nutrition feel the pinch




The mind is often connected to the wallet, which is why during difficult economic times several local non-profits and charities have seen an increase in people needing services for mental and physical health. This spike comes as many of these programs lose funding as budgets are cut to address the economic problems. It is a catch-22 that leaves many residents in a bad situation.

The numbers are fairly staggering. Within the last six months, New Horizons for New Hampshire, which is a food pantry, soup kitchen and shelter all in one facility, has seen a 12-percent increase in people staying in its shelters, a 10-percent increase in people looking for groceries and a 10-percent increase in people coming for dinners, according to Charlie Sherman, executive director.

“We now provide groceries for 900 families per month,” Sherman said. “We have 200 individuals coming for dinner each night and on average 70 people staying in our shelters.”

Sherman said many of these additional people coming for dinner are families who are looking to save a few bucks each week by getting a free and healthy meal. Unfortunately, as needs have gone up, as have expenses to provide for food and staffing, federal and local aid has been cut and individual donations have gone down. Sherman said he is working hard trying to just match the level of expenses by going out into the community and finding new sources of revenue.

He said New Horizons could always benefit from financial and food donations. Sherman said his dream is that the doors of New Horizons could close because there was no need. Unfortunately, he doesn’t see that happening any time in the near future. He said within the food baskets that New Horizons provides, people find all five food groups. Sherman said each month he finds more and more people he knows who are waiting in line for food. Sherman said no one who finds themselves at a bump in the road should be embarrassed about reaching out for support.

“At New Horizons we’re about respect and dignity,” Sherman said.

Respect can also lead to understanding, which is important, especially this time of year.

“We have to recognize the impact finances have on people’s mental wellness and ability to cope,” said Ken Norton of the National Alliance on Mental Health Illness New Hampshire (NAMI NH), which according to its website, naminh.org, “is dedicated to improving the quality of life of persons of all ages affected by mental illness and/or serious emotional disorders through education, support and advocacy.”

“While the holidays are happy times for some families they can be incredibly difficult for others,” Norton said. “I’d ask that you watch out for your neighbors and co-workers.”

Norton admitted such prevention can be difficult. It is hard to understand the mental health of a co-worker without being intrusive. He said in New Hampshire we operate with a certain Yankee reserve, but we are willing to help when people are in need. He suggested asking directly, depending on your relationship with your co-worker. If you know his wife has been unemployed for months, ask how things are going. Norton said offering your support and compassion opens the door and allows the person to say yes or no. Norton suggested being aware of the difficulties people are going through and the effect that can have on mental illness, which he said affects one in four people.

“Give thought to the usual gift exchange,” Norton said. “People may not be in a position to give gifts.”

Norton said it is time to re-think the exchange and perhaps collect money into a pool and then give back to those in need. He suggested families could draw names from a hat and get a present only for that person.

Norton suggested good-hearted people make donations to local soup kitchens and other organizations that directly support people in need. He said NAMI NH could always use money but it spends more time on advocacy and education and doesn’t do as much direct support. He said most people want their donations to go directly to someone to help them through the holiday season.

Norton isn’t alone in his findings. David Johnson, marketing and communication manager at the Moore Center in Manchester, said he has seen a natural increase in demand for services because of the challenging economy. Johnson said the Moore Center helps people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as acquired brain disorders.

Johnson said many of the Moore Center’s clients are living independently for the first time, which means donations such as furnishings, kitchen utensils and other things that could be used in apartments are greatly appreciated. He said monetary donations, which can be made online or by calling 206-2722, are also needed. He said money would go toward services for families and individuals. The Moore Center has expanded and offers assistance for youth and seniors now as well.

While the need is on the rise, the Moore Center, like so many organizations that work with mental health, will see budget cuts come into effect during the next fiscal year, specifically in its family support programs.
Johnson said rough economic times don’t mean that more people will suddenly have more intellectual disabilities, but he did say that it means the Center’s clients will need more assistance.
“There are more families trying to make ends meet,” Johnson said.

This is a sentiment echoed by people who are working with AIDS and HIV. Luckily, in the state of New Hampshire there is a low incidence of people suffering from HIV. A bad economy, where people lose their jobs, doesn’t mean that suddenly more people will have HIV, according to Wendy LeBlanc, assistant director at the Southern NH AIDS Task Force. Unfortunately, when there is that economic change, many people who are struggling with the disease, which has huge medical costs associated with it, can lose their ability to be self-sufficient.

“When they lose their job, they most likely lose their health insurance as well,” LeBlanc said.

As a result, LeBlanc said, the easiest and most direct way to support the Southern NH AIDS Task Force is to donate financial support, which will go to the Task Force’s various programs, such as making sure all clients have safe and affordable housing and transportation.

Besides money, LeBlanc said they would graciously accept food and personal hygiene products — “Things we normally take for granted.” LeBlanc said everyone, not just people with HIV, could benefit from a healthier diet and so she encouraged, as did Sherman, donors to think healthy when they’re making their food contributions.






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