EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

November 27, 2012

Holiday giving is on the rise in N.H.


Chris Williams said they have raised about $50,000 so far this year, compared to $40,000 to $45,000 at the same time a year ago.

“We’re about the same,” he said. “But our goal is a little higher: $240,000. Last year, it was $215,000.”

Clients often have just lost jobs and are paying for what they can to survive, forced to decide whether to buy groceries or cover the rent, Kiley Williams said.

“They are picking and choosing,” she said.

Val Lewis is heading the ninth annual coat drive for Prudential Verani offices in Southern New Hampshire, including Londonderry and Salem.

“It seems like people are giving more,” she said. “We are starting to see a bit more and nice things, too.”

The warm clothing collected at the real estate offices is shared with church and civic groups that aid people in need.

This year, some clothing is being sent for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in the New York area.

“There is a big need,” Lewis said. “Especially for men’s coats.”

Aileen Wall, coordinator of the adopt-a-family Christmas program run through St. Anne’s Ecumenical Food Pantry in Hampstead, agreed people are giving more this year.

The program provides clothing, gift cards, even kitchen items for families at Christmas. More than 100 families will be helped, some with eight people to a household.

“I don’t have everybody on my list covered, but I hope to by mid-December,” Wall said yesterday.

The positive signs of giving aren’t limited to individuals.

Lt. Joel Dolan, coordinator for the Salem Police Department’s Toys for Tots drive, is seeing increased support from the business community.

“I would say we have had more companies call for boxes to set up,” he said. “This is probably the most boxes we’ve had out in the community.”

It’s too soon to say what they will mean for the popular toy drive, but it’s an encouraging sign.

“People are more interested in getting involved,” Dolan said.

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