Drive to collect Thermoses for the homeless exceeds Atkinson organizer's expectationsBy JASON SCHREIBER Union Leader Correspondent December 20. 2017 12:03AM
ATKINSON — Kathy Peters never dreamed that her campaign to collect Thermoses for the homeless would be such a success.
The Atkinson woman who launched the drive in memory of her once-homeless father collected 272 Thermoses by Tuesday, but expected at least another 30 to be donated in the days ahead.
“The response was beyond anything I expected and I am so happy with the result,” Peters said.
Peters, 52, was overwhelmed with donations after the New Hampshire Union Leader published a story in October about her plans to collect Thermoses for the second year to be given to area soup kitchens.
The goal is for the Thermoses to be handed to homeless visitors who will be able to take an extra warm meal or beverage with them when they return to the streets.
Peters has packed up the Thermoses for delivery to soup kitchens in New Hampshire, including Derry and Nashua, and in Haverhill, Mass. She also plans to hit the streets to donate others.
The Thermoses have been wrapped and each contains a candy cane, ornament and a $5 gift card for Dunkin’ Donuts.
Some will be delivered this week while others will be given out at a soup kitchen on Christmas morning.
The Thermoses were donated by strangers, friends, and coworkers at Rockingham County Superior Court where Peters is a court assistant, and by towns, religious institutions, banks, medical centers, teachers, children, small businesses, nonprofits, and even some people who were once homeless themselves.
Peters began her effort last year and received about 20 Thermoses that were donated to the homeless.
She has been finding ways to help the homeless ever since the death of her father when she was a teenager. She said he battled alcoholism and at one point lived on the streets while she was growing up.
She said she had lost touch with her father when she learned that he was found dead in Lynn, Mass., after a man struck him in the head with a brick.
His death deeply affected Peters, who began to think more about the plight of the homeless and their struggles on the streets.