DERRY — Hoping to make the season brighter for residents in need, the town has put up a “Giving Tree” in the lobby of the Derry Municipal Center.
Cards are hanging on the tree, and residents are encouraged to select a card, purchase the items and return them to the Derry Municipal Center.
The lobby is accessible Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Wednesday until 7 p.m.
This year, the Derry Community Fund and the Sonshine Soup Kitchen will distribute the gifts to local residents.
The program helps the soup kitchen during this busy time of year because the town collects all of the donations, said Christine Fudala, program director of the Sonshine Soup Kitchen. Staff members only have to go collect the items from the town for distribution to their clients, she said.
“It’s a great help to us this time of year, just for whatever they can collect,” Fudala said. “We always use it, and any gift is not too small.”
Fudala said the soup kitchen provides the town with ideas for what gifts are needed. She said it’s generally items “people need in survival mode,” like warm winter clothing, long underwear and personal care products such as a razor or a bottle of shampoo.
“We have a lot of people who just come in and ask for towels,” she said.
The Sonshine Soup Kitchen is independent, non-profit and doesn’t charge, Fudala said.
Along with the Giving Tree, donation boxes are located in the Municipal Center so items can be dropped off. This year, there is a need for winter outerwear for all ages, undergarments for men and women (sizes large and extra-large), personal care items and gifts for teenagers.
For gifts to be distributed prior to the holiday, the last day to drop off donations is Thursday, Dec. 12 for the Derry Community Fund and Wednesday, Dec. 18 for the Sonshine Soup Kitchen.
As always, tax-deductible monetary donations may be mailed to the Sonshine Soup Kitchen, 4 Crystal Ave., No. 4, Derry 03038, or delivered in person between 1 and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The Sonshine Soup Kitchen serves a free, hot meal to anyone in need Monday to Friday at 4:30 p.m. in the First Baptist Church parish hall at 4 Crystal Ave.For those in need of holiday assistance, applications for the Derry Community Fund are available in the Human Services Office at the Municipal Center, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Derry Human Services provides emergency assistance to Derry residents who lack adequate financial resources to meet their basic needs. The most common types of assistance are: rent, shelter, electric, oil, emergency medication and food.