So often we don't do something to jump in and help because we might think ... "Ah, I'd like to, but I just don't have the time," or "I'd like to but I bet someone else is already doing something." Well, thank goodness there are still people that jump in with both feet and don't let the "I'd like to buts" stop them."
Kirby Brown, our town executive assistant, was home watching the news about the horrible flooding that has hit Houston. I've been watching too, but was honestly more in the mode of being shocked by what I was watching on the news and not doing much more than that about it.
Kirby made the decision right then and there to not just watch what was going on in our own country but to do something. She quickly researched what was already in place in New Hampshire to help. Our American Red Cross led her to Finders Keepers out of Exeter. They already had a campaign in full motion to gather new and gently used clean clothing and other items for flood victims. And they were so grateful Kirby wanted to jump on board with them. Kirby then approached our Town Manager Kevin Smith and he knew that our local community family would rise to the occasion to help.
Kirby's initial plan was to set up a box in the center area of our Town Hall and let our town employees know that they could make donations. She decided to post the information to our Town Hall Facebook page, too. Boy, did it take off. A special shout out to our local moms Facebook page. They re-posted it and the response would take your breath away.
Talk about a domino effect. What started off as just a donation box in the hall that was overflowing in what seemed to be minutes now has just about filled two large rooms. Residents from near and far, literally from throughout the state, have been stopping by to offer what they can to help. How great is that? Just to mention some of the items that we can see on top of the bags and boxes: precious new flip-flops for little ones, new blankets, clothing new and used, boxes upon boxes of cereal, granola bars, peanut butter. The domino effect is at its best and there is more and not all about supplies. I promise you will love this next little story as much as I did. I hope you can picture it as I tell you the story.
Martin and Tara Koechel came down from the Concord area with a big truck filled with new and used items. Kevin, Kirby, Justin and I jumped in to help unload the truck. We all noticed a third person helping too For just about the entire half hour we were unloading the truck we just assumed he was with Martin and Tara. After we had unloaded the entire truck, when we were all saying their goodbyes, we noticed that he started walking back to a car in our parking lot, not to the truck.
I finally said something like, "Hey, who are you with?" and he responded with "Oh, no I was just here at the Town Hall to get a pool permit." Danny Arias of Londonderry stopped what he was doing on his day and jumped in with both feet! Danny was lifting, hauling and loading up carts so much that we thought he may have even worked with Martin and Tara.
When we all realized what he had done, we were all thanking him and smiling. Not to sound corny, but it felt like one of those "Touched by an Angel" moments. Danny simply said, "We all have to chip in and help each other." He also went on to say something like, "Hey, we all need someone to help us from time to time." Danny said good-bye and asked when we would be loading up the big trucks that would be driving everything to Houston. Kirby said, Friday, and Danny said he would be back to help.
Here's another domino effect idea:
This Saturday, Sept. 9, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., our Londonderry Grange at 260 Mammoth Road will be hosting its third annual Mums for Meals event. Help us spread the word! All proceeds go to the New Hampshire Food Bank, serving all New Hampshire families in need. They will be accepting donations of non-perishable foods. If you haven't been in our historical Grange hall before, bring the family and take a look around. There will be coffee and ice cream for sale, too. One of our newest businesses to the area, Wicked Good Scoops, will be previewing a spring 2018 opening. Scarecrow kits will be available and our Grange will be taking orders for additional kits, too.
Sherry Farrell is the Londonderry town clerk and a lifelong resident of New Hampshire.