The Concord Co-op is the place to be Saturday

You'll be able to pet a bunch of cute barnyard animals at the Concord Food Co-op's Spring Into Healthy Giving event on Saturday. COURTESY
You'll be able to pet a bunch of cute barnyard animals at the Concord Food Co-op's Spring Into Healthy Giving event on Saturday. COURTESY

If you’re familiar with the nonprofit world, you understand that it isn’t easy on the fundraising front.

With limited staffs and resources, putting together an event that people want to attend and donate to is quite the undertaking.

Sure, nonprofits located in Concord host some great events – Souperfest (Concord Coalition to End Homelessness), Walk A Mile in Her Shoes (Crisis Center of Central New Hampshire) and Dan Zanes concerts (the Friendly Kitchen) to name a few. But we bet if you went down the list, each and every one of them wishes they could do more.

And the Concord Food Co-op is doing its part to help out.

On Saturday, the section of South Main Street in front of the co-op, from Pleasant Street to Hills Avenue, will be shut down for the first of what is expected to be a yearly event, Spring Into Healthy Giving.

You might remember that the co-op used to host a Spring Into Healthy Living event in the spring, but that hasn’t happened since 2015. What you might not know is that the co-op is involved with many nonprofits in the area, and had been trying to work with the Pope Memorial SPCA on a fundraiser centered around cow patty bingo.

“Instead of one-offs, if we had all the nonprofits do a fundraising event, we thought that would work well,” said Greg Lessard, director of development at the Concord Food Co-op.

As the conversations progressed, the idea came up to have a day-long event that included lots of nonprofits that would give them the ability to raise some much-needed funds. That’s how the Spring Into Healthy Giving was born.

“It’s not going to be a significant fundraiser, but it will help raise awareness of what they do,” Lessard said.

So while to all of you Saturday’s event will look like a mini street fair of sorts, all the money that’s brought in from different activities, games and food will benefit some worthy causes. And the really cool thing is that some organizations are actually raising funds for others.

The Highland Riders 4-H at Miles Smith Farm will supply the cows for cow patty bingo, but the money brought in will benefit the SPCA. Next Level Church is raffling off four Red Sox tickets behind home plate for a July game ($5 for one raffle ticket, $10 for three) for 4-H. And the Junior Service League will be hosting the Castle Courtyard Adventure for the Friends Program. It’s really the epitome of people helping people.

“They’re all there working together and raising awareness of their groups,” Lessard said.

The Castle Courtyard Adventure will feature a petting zoo, face painting by newly crowned Mrs. New Hampshire America 2017, Diana Erickson, and royalty (played by the Bow Drama club) will walk the grounds and be available for pictures.

Intown Concord is hosting a ping pong tournament at 10:30 a.m. and there’s going to be an exciting match-up between Concord police and fire. Cost is $15 per person and the winner will receive a pair of tickets to Amos Lee at the Capitol Center for the Arts.

“I think there will be additional challenges,” Lessard said.

Strings & Things will provide the musical entertainment for the day, playing from noon to 3 p.m.

Cow patty bingo kicks off at 1 p.m. and cost is just $5 a square. Just think of the anticipation while you wait for either Phoenix or Winnie (the cows) to do their business in the street.

“It will be fun to sit there, watch and wait,” Lessard said.

There are tons of raffles for a whole host of prizes, and like with any street fair atmosphere, there will be lots of food to choose from – including loaded baked potatoes, pizza, burgers and much more.

You can also find out loads of information about the nonprofits in attendance, as well as everyone’s favorite, a photo booth.

“They’re all looking for increased funds and ways to do it, but it comes down to implementing it,” Lessard said.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., but breakfast will be served from 8 to 10 a.m. if you’re an early riser or can’t wait to get down there.

“I think it’s going to be a very welcomed event in the city,” Lessard said. “There are additional ideas out there that will allow it to grow.”

For more info, including a list of participating nonprofits, restaurants and all the fun for the day, visit

Author: Tim Goodwin

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