It's a season of giving, of goodwill, and being safe.

As the pandemic continues to rage on, taking a bite out of a more traditional holiday season, communities are revving up the spirit by contributing to those in need, showing support for charitable missions and just offering helping hands when needed.

And putting up light displays all around area neighborhoods can't dampen any holiday spirit.

Residents in Derry signed up to take part in the town's first ever "Decorate Derry" home holiday lights contest, with many people posting their festive lights on the town's Facebook site so viewers can cast votes for their favorites.

Winners were expected to be announced by early this week.

But giving is coming to town in many ways.

A local jump in the lake raised upward of $21,000 to support a downtown Derry food pantry. The recent Pantry Plunge at Beaver Lake safely brought out 38 brave souls Dec. 12 to take a dip in the chilly waters for the cause.

Also in Derry, another downtown food mission is receiving holiday help.

Londonderry chiropractor Dr. David Lundgren paid Sonshine Soup Kitchen a visit recent, donating about $2,000 to help Sonshine's longstanding community effort to feed those in need.

Sonshine Executive Director Christine Fudala said the support is always welcome.

"Donations this time of year really help us," Fudala said. "Financial donations help us buy food, keep the lights on and essentially help us keep our doors open."

Toys also piled up for area Toys for Tots drives, with the Derry Police Department receiving thousands of donations this year to help children have a bright holiday.

Youth are also taking part in many charitable ventures this holiday season.

That includes students who make up LMC Charities, formed as a way to give younger people a chance to plan and distribute projects to help those in need.

Some past ventures included a sweatshirt drive, and the most recent project collected and donated more than 1,000 pairs of socks to homeless shelters and families in need.

Logan Cove, LMC organizer, said helping others is something he hopes to continue to do.

"It's contagious, helping others," Cove said in a past interview. "Some kids are not as fortunate as I am, and if I can help out, I sure am going to."

Area schools are also working hard to make the season bright, as students continue studying remotely through the holidays.

Staff at West Running Brook Middle School in Derry planned to offer some extra holiday cheer during a lunchtime food pickup. That included karaoke songs, and some cute "reindeer" in training to greet students and families

Derry Village Elementary School also offered some drive-up cheer in the form of hot cocoa for families to then take home and enjoy while watching the movie "The Polar Express."

And it's not just those in the local community reaching out to make a difference. Santa and Mrs. Claus also made a long trip to Londonderry for some early visits to keep spirits up and spread holiday cheer.

The pair climbed aboard a fire truck recently to drive around town to safely greet families, including paying a special visit to one 4-year-old girl battling cancer.

Santa then took to the technology world, sitting down to visit with students in a local elementary school classroom via Zoom.

Trending Video

This Week's Circulars

Recommended for you