With the holiday season quickly approaching, many of us are beginning to plan holiday gatherings without much thought to whether or not we will have enough food to eat, let alone be able to buy gifts and necessities for our family.
This is a time of year to pause and reflect on all we are thankful for – loved ones, health, a home and plenty of food on the table. What better way to show your thanks than to give back to your community this season and throughout the year by helping to fight hunger.
According to the N.H. Food Bank:
139,730 individuals are food insecure in N.H.
1 in 10 individuals in the state are food insecure.
41,350 children under the age of 18 are food insecure in New Hampshire.
Food insecurity (the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food) is more common than most of us realize. Fortunately, there are many wonderful organizations around the Capital area whose mission it is to combat hunger and provide quality meals to underserved residents during the holidays and throughout the year. There are also many ways you can get involved by volunteering your time or donating money or resources. Below is a list of organizations in the Capital area that are actively seeking volunteers and donations this holiday season.
1.) Capital Regional Food Program (capitalregionfoodprogram.org)
The Capital Regional Food Program is a private, not-for-profit, all volunteer organization whose mission is to help reduce hunger in the Greater Concord Area through distribution of food to individuals, families and local agencies. They collect, purchase and distribute about 100 tons of food annually.
2.) Friends of Forgotten Children (fofc-nh.org), 753- 4801
The mission of FOFC is to assist children, families and seniors experiencing hardships by helping improve their quality of life through food assistance, self-help training opportunities, clothing and holiday gift wishes.
3.) The Friendly Kitchen (thefriendlykitchen.org), 224- 7678
The Friendly Kitchen (2 S. Commercial St.) is Concord’s only soup kitchen serving breakfast, lunch (weekdays only) and dinner (every day).
4.) Concord Community Holiday Dinner (concordholidaydinner.com)
As in the past, the Grappone Conference Center, the Courtyard by Marriott and the Duprey Companies will provide a wonderful meal on Christmas for those in need in the Capital Area.
5.) New Hampshire Food Bank (nhfoodbank.org), 669- 9725
N.H. Food Bank, a program of New Hampshire Catholic Charities, is the only food bank in the state, and thus a vital distributor and supplier to the various hunger relief agencies that serve meals and provide groceries to people experiencing the negative impacts of not having enough to eat. In 2015, the N.H. Food Bank distributed over 12 million pounds of non-perishable food items, fresh produce and meats to more than 400 nonprofit food agencies in all corners of the state.
6.) Food Pantries throughout Merrimack County
There are many local food pantries, some affiliated with local churches, temples and synagogues, that need assistance. Smaller pantries such as those in Henniker, Hopkinton and Loudon serve residents of those towns while the Concord area and Kearsarge Valley Community Action Programs serve a broader audience.
Valerie Ferland is the health outreach coordinator for Concord Hospital Center for Health Promotion and serves as the communications coordinator for the Capital Area Wellness Coalition. The Capital Area Wellness Coalition coordinates community resources and builds partnerships to create a culture of healthy living for everyone. The CAWC meets monthly on the second Wednesday at 8 a.m. at the Center for Health Promotion, 49 S. Main St. Visit capwellness.org to learn more.