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A group of about 400 participated in a flash mob to raise awarness about childhood homelessness on Thursday at Veterans Park in Manchester. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

Flash mob stands as one in Manchester for campaign to end childhood homelessness


MANCHESTER — Four hundred people. 10 minutes. Flash mob.

Workers in the downtown area made a quick appearance at Veterans Park on Thursday, gathering as a flash mob to raise the awareness of the “I Am One” campaign to end childhood homelessness.

The effort — promoted with lawn signs throughout the city — comes to a head next Thursday, when 2,500 people are expected to gather at Veterans Park for the New Hampshire Day to End Childhood Homeless.

Not enough people think about children when they think about homelessness, said Maureen Beauregard, president of Families in Transition, which operates shelters and apartments for families facing homelessness.

“They don’t think about the family that shows up at our door living in their car or just walking around,” Beauregard said. She said 279 children went through the door at Families in Transition last year.

“If we really want to stop homelessness, we have to start with the kids,” she said.

Many homeless children don’t finish school and end up as homeless adults with children, she said.

The flash mob involved 388 people who walked from different parts of downtown to Veterans Park. They formed the word “ONE” and cheered “I am One” while photographers snapped away.“It’s great to be part of something so big, so important,” said Tara Dutton, who works at HRC Total Solutions, a third-party administrator that encouraged its workers to participate. “It’s so hot, but it’s worth it.”

Manchester developer Dick Anagnost is spearheading the effort. He said 388 showed up for the flash mob, and workers from about 50 businesses participated.

The event next Thursday is free and is scheduled to run from 5 to 9:30 p.m. at Veterans Park. It will feature, food, drink and a music competition involving three separate acts.

Anagnost said it will be preceded by Ride For One. At least 100 Harley-Davidson riders will ride from Manchester to Concord, where Gov. Maggie Hassan will issue a proclamation about child homelessness.

Hassan was going to ride from Manchester to Concord on the back of a Harley, Anagnost said.

“She agreed, but state police nixed it. State police said they can’t protect her in the fashion she needs,” he said.

mhayward@unionleader.com


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