Christmas Connections 2017

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Holiday dreams really do come true – all because of you!

The wish lists are never extravagant or long. They contain the basic necessities many of us take for granted, like a new winter jacket or a warm pair of gloves. An extravagance would be a special toy that a young child has his or her heart set on.

Christmas is a special time for many of us, but it can be stressful – even heartbreaking – for families who struggle financially to get through each day. Your kindness and generosity make a bleak holiday bright.

“I see the smiles, the tears and the delighted attitudes of the parents when they come to collect the gifts,” says Judy Nelson, community outreach coordinator at the Salem district office. “Parents are always amazed by the amount of the donations and the generosity of the givers.”

Because of you, holiday dreams do come true. Your support of the Christmas Connections program brightens the holidays for children, seniors and families from the North Country to the Merrimack Valley, from the Seacoast to the Monadnocks.

Please join us in helping a neighbor in need this holiday season. Those who would like to donate gift cards or adopt a family or child should contact their nearest Community Services district office.

Here’s how you can help:

Berlin (603-752-1325)

The Berlin district office works with Good Shepherd Parish and Holy Family Parish, both in Berlin, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and the Marine Toys for Tots program to distribute clothes, food and toys.

Families and individuals eligible to receive aid are asked to participate in the Financial Fitness program, a financial literacy program for low- to moderate-income families, or volunteer two hours to help someone outside their immediate family.

Concord (603-228-1108)

The Concord district office collects gifts for young children, teens and seniors in partnership with the Friends of Forgotten Children.

Catholic Charities also submits a request to the Marine Toys for Tots program and assists the Friends of Forgotten Children with the distribution of food, clothes and toys.

Businesses, community groups and individuals interested in adopting a child to make a special gift wish come true should contact the Concord office.

Keene (603-357-3093)

Toys for children and warm clothing for everyone in the family are distributed to needy families in Keene and 33 surrounding towns in the Monadnock region. Donors interested in adopting a child or family should contact the Keene district office.

Families and participants eligible to receive aid must perform at least two hours of community service.

Laconia (603-528-3035)

The Laconia district office provides toys for children up to 8th grade through the Marine Toys for Tots program. The program is open to custodial children of families who are struggling because of low income or extraordinary circumstances.

Individuals or families who would like to help should contact the Laconia office to be matched with families in need.

Lebanon (603-448-5151)

The Lebanon district office runs Christmas Connections on three levels. It provides toys for children; holiday food baskets (or food gift cards) for Thanksgiving and Christmas; and essentials, such as winter clothing, for Christmas. The district office partners with the Marine Toys for Tots program for children’s toys and relies on the generosity of donors to supply food baskets to needy families. Those interested in donating or adopting a family should contact the Lebanon office.

The Lebanon district office works to identify families in the more isolated, rural areas where fewer resources are available to help them through the holidays.

Littleton (603-444-7727)

The Littleton district office provides clothing, toys and gift cards to families in need, including single mothers and people with disabilities. Those interested in donating should contact the Littleton office.

The office has been running the program for nearly 30 years and developed a dedicated donor base throughout the North Country.

Manchester (603-624-4717)

Local churches and individual donors adopt families to provide necessities, such as warm coats, boots and underwear. Among the donors who adopted a family last year was a woman who was once a recipient of the program. Donors who want to contribute gift cards for food or gas should contact the Manchester district office to be matched with those in need.

As part of the program, St. Anselm College students assemble Thanksgiving baskets for 100 families. The baskets will be blessed at St. Anselm Abbey on Nov. 20 and distributed to families.

Nashua (603-889-9431)

The Nashua district office partners with Rivier University, the Marine Toys for Tots program and the Knights of Columbus to deliver holiday baskets, toys for children in need, and winter coats.

The office staff identifies two to four needy families who will receive a “complete” Christmas with gifts, food, clothing and other necessities.

Those interested in donating should contact the Nashua office.

Rochester (603-332-7701)

Most of those who benefit from Christmas Connections are families and individuals who participate in the Financial Fitness program, as well as seniors who rely on Social Security.

Teaching children the importance of giving at Christmas is one of the goals of Sister Helene Higgins, the office’s community outreach coordinator. She invites children of clients to wrap gifts for their parents.

Those interested in donating should contact the Rochester office.

Salem (603-893-1971)

The Salem district office distributes holiday baskets at Thanksgiving. It also distributes toys and gift cards to children at Christmas and, if possible, a gift and food cards or food baskets to parents. It serves clients who live in western Rockingham County who are financially insecure and have completed or agreed to participate in the Financial Fitness program. Seniors in need also receive gifts.

Community outreach coordinator Judy Nelson said one of the many seniors who participate in Christmas Connections does plastic needlepoint. To thank donors for their generosity, she made them a dozen plastic Santa figures.