'It's been a blessing': Rockingham Community Action providing food baskets to those in needBy JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent November 17. 2017 9:57PM
RAYMOND — With Thanksgiving now less than a week away, local families in need began arriving at Rockingham Community Action’s Raymond Outreach Center Friday morning to pick up the food baskets that will help them prepare their holiday feast.
Some 240 residents from several area towns applied for food baskets this Thanksgiving, which is similar to last year’s requests, said Jennifer Dunleavy, the agency’s holiday program coordinator.
But, Dunleavy said she noticed there were more single people 60 years and older who applied for baskets this year than in the past.
She said she didn’t know why there seemed to be an increase in that age group. It’s possible that a senior group heard about the baskets and spread the word, she said, or someone came to the agency seeking fuel assistance for the first time and learned about the baskets.
“It could be that they’ve always been there, but they just haven’t applied,” Dunleavy said.
The baskets were provided mostly through donations of food and money made to Rockingham Community Action. The Raymond Area Rotary Club and Raymond Lions Club also assist.
Recipients began arriving at the outreach center at 55 Prescott Road Friday morning to pick up their baskets. A Deerfield father and his 3-year-old daughter were among those needing a little extra help this year.
“They’re so nice here. They don’t make you feel bad that you just need a little help, especially around the holidays,” said the father, who identified himself only as Rob.
Rob, 33, said he and his wife reached out to the agency last year for the first time because his family has faced some financial struggles after the birth of their daughter, who was born with a leg condition known as posteromedial tibial bowing. The condition requires frequent visits to Shriner’s Hospitals for Children in Springfield, Mass., and will lead to numerous surgeries during her childhood.
Rob, who also has a 10-year-old son, said his wife works but he left his full-time job to care for his daughter.
“It’s been a blessing,” he said of the help provided by Rockingham Community Action.
Michelle Termini, the agency’s food pantry coordinator, said she enjoys helping the families in need.
“It’s heartwarming,” she said.
Marge Desjardins of Epping was on hand Friday to help out with the food basket distribution and is a regular volunteer for the agency.
“I feel I should be giving back to the community,” she said.