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Volunteers with Connect Community Church in Portsmouth, Operation Blessing and New Hampshire Speedway load boxes of non-perishable food items and personal items into a truck for delivery on Tuesday. In all, about 20,000 pounds of product were delivered to Seacoast families in need through the New Hampshire chapter of Speedway Children's Charities. (GRETYL MACALASTER PHOTO)


20,000 pounds of food, more to Seacoast's needy

PORTSMOUTH — A day after delivering more than 300 turkeys to area families, Tammy Josyln, a member of Connect Community Church and volunteer with Operation Blessing, helped distribute 20,000 pounds of food and personal items to area residents.

The effort was made possible through the New Hampshire chapter of Speedway Children's Charities and their partnership with Feed the Children, a food distribution organization.

This is the second 20,000-pound truckload they have delivered this year. The first distribution took place earlier this year in Manchester.

On Tuesday, Seacoast area organizations, churches and individuals traveled through the Connect Community Church parking lot on Chase Drive to pick up 25-pound boxes of nonperishable food items, 12-pound boxes of personal care supplies, paper goods, books and boxes of Avon products.

The food and personal care products are enough to supply 400 families of four people for a week.

SCC partnered with Operation Blessing for the Seacoast distribution after Josyln and a group of volunteers helped out in Manchester.

Josyln began talking with Cheryl LaPrade, executive director of the New Hampshire chapter of SCC, about the need in the Seacoast area.

She coordinated with local charities to make sure it included as many area residents as possible.

LaPrade said the distribution is not holiday related, but being able to give at this time of year is an extra blessing. She said it is a time of year for people to be thankful for what they have and to realize there are others in need.

"I am always so sad that there is so much need out there," LaPrade said.

Susan Pierick picked up a carload of boxes for five families in need in the Seabrook area.

"A lot of them are families either working part time or not at all who have children and barely making ends meet in this economy, and I am happy to be able to serve and give this to them," Pierick said.

Pierick has been on the receiving end of community support and understands its importance. In 2012, her husband became paralyzed, and Pierick said the community reached out to help.

Since they have adjusted, they have devoted their lives to giving back to people in need and those who are disabled.

"It makes me feel happy and joyful I can give back to the community," Pierick said.

Jacyln Hickey of Manchester, a student with the New England Master's Commission, a college of the Connect Community Church, said for her, it is about the personal connection and the ability to change someone's outlook on the day, or on life in general with a smile, or a kind word.

"It sounds cliché, 'just smile,' but you never know what people are walking through. The box is just the physical part. It's about the encounter. That's what I like," Hickey said.


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