“Sometimes You Just Gotta Help”
***Special Thanks to Mike of Advanced Wildlife Control, Barrington, NH for our Title this week….
A few weeks back we had a couple great forums that took place in our area.
The YMCA had one at the Londonderry Senior Center and they did their very best to find out what our needs were in our local communities. How great is that? One thing that resulted from this meeting was that we need more focus on our teenagers. They need more places to meet, mingle and go.
Our YMCA is a gift to our area and they are there for us at each stage of our life.
The next forum was also at our Senior Center and John Goglia led the discussion that was focused on what do our seniors need as our town is growing and changing. Remember this is to help those of us over 55. Many ideas were shared especially around the constant quest — transportation.
However, there were other take away points here too. One was looking to our future needs now, reviewing our Master Plan from 2013 and in a sense establishing a timeline for the next 10 or 20 years. I liked that. I tend to be so focused on the present, that looking to the future was a good reminder for me.
Then one woman named Cheryl stole my heart in many ways. After everything was said and done, Cheryl said something like, “We just have to take care of each other.” She went on to say that we have to do the little things, like check on our neighbors, the way it used to be. She even got teary as she spoke.
Can you imagine if each of us just looked around our street and picked just one family or person in need and checked in and with them every couple of days. Someone else said to me, “Hey we all need help here and there,” I will tell you more about them at the end of our road this week.
The scary thing is that fewer and fewer people want to volunteer and want to help anyone at all. Our service groups are struggling to get new members, our doors are often tightly locked and we have so many other distractions — like our phones and texts — that waste hours that could be directed toward others.
Thank goodness for our nonprofit groups or we would be sunk! On Wednesday night, there was another forum that gave these wonderful groups and people an opportunity to present to our town Budget Committee. Each one was able to state what they do, who they service and then they each could ask for an amount of money from the town to help fund their programs.
So many wonderful people presented and shared what they do and why. I was so surprised at the small humble amounts of money each group was asking for too. Without these programs, again, we would be sunk!
I listened to a lovely woman explain what hospice really does for families in need. She told us about when she first started volunteering there years ago — a family sent a letter after a loved one had passed in our Merrimack hospice house saying something like, “You were our angels here on Earth.” Can you imagine how many lives this group touches each and every day?
Our YMCA was there too! Then program in Derry, Rockingham Community Action, that is responsible for offering Head Start programs, fuel assistance and life skills to so many people trying to get back on their feet. What a beautiful job he did.
Cindy of Community Caregivers spoke and shared their purpose which most of us have no idea about. Their mission is to help our seniors, disabled and homebound people maintain their independence in their own home. They have over 491 volunteers that serve seven of our local communities. I believe they are a huge part of the reason we are having fewer problems with transportation for our seniors in our towns. They not only offer rides but companionship too! They even have a program of lending crutches, and other equipment that people need after injuries and hospital stays. The list goes on and on.
What struck me the most about each group as they presented, and I so wish I had space to mention each one here, is that they were humbly sharing their story, but asking for honestly so little money for everything they give back to us! They certainly were not asking for the moon! I think they all deserve so much more.
One of the last groups to present was our Sonshine Soup Kitchen that serves everyone and anyone in need of a warm healthy meal. They were just recognized as the Business of the Year through another amazing group our Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce. Linda reminded us that all of these groups really are businesses. They have to be managed and cared for to stay afloat so that they can help others.
That made me think of John’s Uncle Jack who was a wonderful Catholic priest and helped many people through the years. Uncle Jack would always say, “At the end of the day the Church needs money to operate and it has to act like a business” to do the work that is needed.
Linda ended with a quote that gives me chills and that brought me right back to Cheryl’s comment at the senior center. Linda said, “Loneliness is the worst hunger of all.”
These three events — the YMCA forum, senior resource forum and the nonprofit presentations — reminded me that we could all be doing just a little more. We all can volunteer a little more, give a little more of our money to help those around us who have so little, or — as Cheryl asked us — just check a little more on one neighbor that you know is alone or having a rough time.
A special hug and Sherry’s Not So Famous Chocolate Chip Banana Bread to Mike. Mike is in my phone as simply “Mike Wildlife.” We needed help with squirrels. Yes, squirrels.
We tried everyone we could think of begging for help. We needed a specialist.
Mike took our call while he was away for Thanksgiving no less! He said he would drive an hour from where his business is located, the day after Thanksgiving to help someone in need, and he did!
Mike also said, “We all need help at some time in our life.”
God bless all of these good people and you for doing what you can throughout the year.
One last thing: Help our local children have fun this winter during recess! Donations of children’s new or gently used winter wear is being collected by Girl Scout Troops 51150, 51125 and 10990. Just drop them off at Town Hall.
Sherry Farrell is Londonderry town clerk and a lifelong resident of New Hampshire.