By John Toole firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — PELHAM – The Good Neighbor Fund is launching its 43rd campaign to help families with food, clothing and toys this Christmas.
Volunteers will collect food and cash donations the weekend of Dec. 8 and 9 in the parking lot at Pelham Plaza from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“The Good Neighbor Fund has been helping the town of Pelham for over 40 years,” committee member Nancy Vachon said yesterday.
Vachon herself has been volunteering with the fund since 2005. She said she had lost her father, mother and sister at the time, and saw the Good Neighbor Fund as a way to help others.
“I like being able to help people,” she said.
Gerty Sousa has volunteered since 1992. Not long before, Sousa’s own family needed help and the program was there for them.
“We were one of the families who needed help,” she said.
So, Sousa is a big believer in what the program does for families and the Pelham community.
“It makes a huge difference,” Sousa said of the fund. “For some of these families it is going to be an either-or situation. They are going to have to pay their mortgage or buy food. We try to help them any way we can.”
If a car needs repair, the Good Neighbor program will help get the car fixed for a family, she said.
The fund offers everyone in town the chance to help.
The committee uses money collected during the annual drive to provide financial assistance to those in need throughout the year.
The fund buys food and pays for heat, rent, electricity and other household expenses for needy families.
People who want to sponsor a family at Christmas can call Vachon at 521-4045, Sousa at 401-4065 or Darlene Michaud at 635-9117. They also can pick out a name tag at First Congregational Church or St. Patrick’s Church.
People who want to donate a turkey or other items should call Frank Sullivan at 508-2898 or Jim Roche at 893-1713.
“There are so many families in Pelham that are going to need our help so we are asking individuals, families, businesses, organizations, schools, civic and church groups to be as generous as possible,” the committee said in announcing this year’s drive.
People also can make donations online at pelhamgoodneighborfund.org or by sending checks to Pelham Good Neighbor Fund, P.O. Box 953, Pelham, 03076.
Cash donations are tax deductible.
The fund also has a drop-off area for food donations at the food pantry behind St. Patrick’s Church and in the lobby at Hannaford supermarket.