By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — Soup’s on!
Tables were lined with colorful, handcrafted bowls as people lined up to choose their favorite. Then it was time to fill those bowls for a good cause.
The ninth annual Potter’s Bowl gave soup lovers and community supporters a chance to come out to Promises to Keep Jan. 31 to fill up on hearty soup, enjoy a night of friendship and to help those in need.
The event, hosted by Community Caregivers of Greater Derry, sells out every year.
Community Caregivers works in the area to help elderly and disabled people live independently in their homes through a strong volunteer network. Volunteers offer light housekeeping, shopping, transportation to appointments, and other tasks to help those needing assistance.
The Potter’s Bowl featured a menu of 14 soups donated by local restaurants and businesses, as well as a big supply of pottery bowls created by local artisans and art students from Pinkerton Academy and Londonderry High School.
Many came out to support Caregivers. That included many who regularly volunteer with the organization.
Dianne MacBurnie knows how it feels to help others.
She has volunteered with Caregivers for about a year. She said she is giving back and knows how important her work is.
“I am retired nursing assistant and I wanted to do something to work with the elderly,” MacBurnie said.
That led her to a volunteer position, where she visits with older people and helps them with various tasks.
“It’s been wonderful,” she said. “I’m enjoying it and love meeting people.”
MacBurnie is one of a long list of volunteers who sign up with Caregivers to be matched with a potential client whomay need visitation, light chores, transportation to a medical appointment or shopping help.
Others get involved after they receive help themselves.
Joanne Pierce once needed help following a serious ankle injury. She discovered Caregivers and the rest is history. She now is an active volunteer.
“I got loaner equipment from Caregivers’ Loaners Closet,” she said. “Now, two years later, I decided to pay back.”
She gives respite care for older residents, along with other tasks someone might need help with.
Last year, volunteers logged more than 25,000 hours. Volunteers also tallied about 101,000 miles driven with those clients for service calls or just to visit their homes.
The Potter’s Bowl is Caregivers’ largest fundraiser. Last year’s soup event brought in $7,000. The organization hoped to top that amount this year.
Community Caregivers is now in its 26th year. Towns served by the organization include Derry, Londonderry, Chester, Hampstead, Sandown, and Windham. Volunteers are always needed to come on board and be part of the Caregivers’ network.
Caregivers also offers a Loaner’s Closet at its home base in the Masonic Temple on East Broadway in Derry. The “closet” has a large selection of durable medical equipment available to all members of the community. Good quality equipment is always needed.
To learn more about Caregivers’ work in the area, call 432-0877 or visit comcaregivers.org.