MVCU provides 1,700 meals to front-line workers

LAWRENCE — Merrimack Valley Credit Union and its members contributed $15,000 to help two groups hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic: those on the front lines of health care and those in the restaurant industry.

Through its “Feed the Frontline” program, the credit union purchased 1,700 meals from seven local restaurants for the hardworking health care professionals at Lawrence General Hospital. The participating restaurants included Essex Street Grille in Haverhill, Salvatore’s and Romano’s Pizzeria in Lawrence, and Buono Bistro in North Andover, all of which are MCVCU members, as well asPerfecto’s Caffe and Pipe Dream Cupcakes in North Andover and Borelli’s in Methuen. Each restaurant delivered meals to Lawrence General Hospital on an assigned day over the course of two weeks.

John Howard, president and CEO of Merrimack Valley Credit Union, said after community members helped raise $5,000 for the effort, the credit union opted to double its contribution to $10,000, for a total of $15,000. 

Kelly MacLean Clark, chief development officer of Lawrence General Hospital, said the credit union’s efforts to donate meals reminded hospital employees “of the compassionate community that is thinking of them during these trying times.” 

Salem Co-op awards $100K-plus during crisis

SALEM, N.H. — Salem Co-operative Bank has donated over $100,000 and growing to various nonprofit organizations during the COVID-19 crisis.

Funds have been distributed in New Hampshire to Pleasant Street United Methodist Food Pantry, Salem; New Hampshire Food Bank, Manchester; Shepherd’s Food Pantry, Windham; and Salem School district’s Student Needs Program and in Massachusetts to Lazarus House and Bread and Roses, both in Lawrence, and St. Basil’s Salvatorian Center, Foster Kids of the Merrimack Valley and Methuen Cares, all in Methuen.

The bank has also contributed $50,000 to New Hampshire’s Nonprofit Response Fund through the Community Development Finance Authority to assist in the support of various nonprofits throughout the state. 

Lowell Five sponsoring North Andover market

NORTH ANDOVER – For the fourth straight year, Lowell Five Bank is the leading sponsor of the North Andover Farmers Market with a $15,000 donation.

The sponsorship has allowed the farmers market to purchase equipment and supplies needed to modify market operations to comply with state and local regulations related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also be used for marketing and promotion.

The farmers market is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Oct. 4. at First and Main streets.  

Timberlane’s Blanchette receives award

PLAISTOW — JoAnn Blanchette of Timberlane Regional High School has been selected for the New Hampshire School Library Media Association’s 2020 Paraprofessional Award. The Paraprofessional Award recognizes the contribution of library support staff who are involved in library operations at all levels.

This year’s recipient was described as having “a special gift to connect with nearly every student that enters the library and a selfless and endless commitment to the students, community and culture of the school that is immeasurable.” 

Beyond Soccer nets Cummings Grant

LAWRENCE – Beyond Soccer is one of 130 local nonprofits to receive grants of $100,000 to $500,000 each through Cummings Foundation’s $20 million grant program. The Lawrence-based organization was chosen from a total of 738 applicants during a competitive review process.

Beyond Soccer is a sports-based, youth development organization that uses soccer to engage and connect Lawrence youth to new experiences, on and off the field, that build confidence and create opportunities for leadership, healthy living, and academic achievement.

Stephanie McArdle, executive director and founder of Beyond Soccer, says the funding will support her organization’s new sports hook, Beyond Volley, which will allow 65 middle and high school girls to join its year-round sport, health leadership, and academic support network. It will also help Beyond Soccer champion collaborative sports efforts, like a first-ever Lawrence Sports Leadership Collaborative and related facility development projects. 

Tufts Health Plan Foundation distributes funds

WATERTOWN — Tufts Health Plan Foundation has announced the third wave of funding for nonprofit organizations in New Hampshire, part of the $1 million it has committed to support community efforts addressing coronavirus in Massachusetts, Rhode Island New Hampshire and Connecticut. In total, 49 organizations on the front lines of the pandemic have received funding. Seven New Hampshire nonprofits have received a total of $145,000 from the foundation.

This funding has gone to organizations working to improve access to food and supports for older people and others and to those addressing inequities in housing and services. It bolsters collaborative regional responses, particularly in communities reporting the highest rates of COVID-19 infection.

The New Hampshire nonprofit organizations awarded grants are Granite United Way, COVID-19 Relief Fund, $15,000; Monadnock United Way, COVID-19 Relief Fund, $15,000; New Hampshire Public Health Association, $10,000; New Hampshire Food Bank, $50,000; Tri-County Community Action Program, $25,000; United Way of Greater Nashua, COVID-19 Emergent Needs Fund, $15,000; United Way of the Greater Seacoast, COVID-19 Family Fund, $15,000.

The foundation continues to offer a two-for-one match to Tufts Health Plan employees and board members who donate to organizations during the pandemic. An additional $195,000-plus has been contributed to community organizations through this program.

For grant program information, visit

AutoFair donates $12,750 to veterans group 

AutoFair Subaru in Haverhill recently presented a check for $12,750 to Veterans Northeast Outreach Center to support services for veterans and their families.

Michael Perry, general manager of AutoFair Subaru, said the donation was the result of Subaru’s annual Share the Love Event in which participating retailers have donated more than $145 million to charities. Customers picked one of five local charities, and many of them chose Veterans Northeast Outreach.

According to VNOC’s director, John Ford, who accepted the check on behalf of the nonprofit agency, the donation has been put to immediate use.

“These unrestricted funds are so important, because we can apply them directly to services for veterans and their families, including food, household items and so much more,” Ford said. 

Founded in 1985, VNOC provides basic food and shelter, housing, advocacy, counseling, peer support, case management, employment and education to veterans and their families throughout Essex, Middlesex and Barnstable counties. To learn more, visit

Decorated veteran opens moving franchise,

HOOKSETT – After serving for nearly a decade in the U.S. Army as an Apache helicopter pilot, Capt. Grant Broom has traded his aviation wings for keys to moving and junk-hauling trucks. Grant, a former troop commander and Bronze Star medal recipient, has launched a franchise of College H.U.N.K.S Hauling Junk and Moving in southern New Hampshire.

“H.U.N.K.S.” stands for “Honest, Uniformed, Nice, Knowledgeable Service,” and the company is fully licensed, bonded and insured. One of its main goals is to provide stress-free, full-service residential and commercial moving, junk removal, donation pickups and labor services. The company strives to keep its operations environmentally friendly, with 70% of items recycled or repurposed. Items are sent to the landfill only as a final resort.

College H.U.N.K.S. is also known for its philanthropy. For every job completed, the company donates two meals to Feeding Children Everywhere. Additionally, Broom will hire other transitioning service members from New England and give them the opportunity to grow within the company.

College H.U.N.K.S., located at 203 Londonderry Turnpike, can be reached at 603-413-2719. 

Merrimack Valley Credit Union expands team 

LAWRENCE – Merrimack Valley Credit Union has expanded its senior leadership team with the creation of two new positions.

Cherie Lisee, Esq., joined the company as vice president of risk management, and Robert Piepenburg is the new vice president of commercial lending. Both will work from the organization’s Lawrence and Bridgewater offices.

A business attorney, Lisee started her career as a litigation attorney in Connecticut before moving into the compliance and regulatory affairs space, serving in legal and regulatory compliance roles at Santander Bank and UniBank. She will continue to build out Merrimack Valley Credit Union’s compliance and risk management functions to support the organization’s continued growth.

Piepenburg brings more than 30 years of financial and lending experience to the team, having most recently served as senior vice president and chief credit officer at Radius Bank in Boston, with previous positions at Bank of America, Putnam Investment Management and BankBoston Corporation. He is managing the Merrimack Valley Credit Union’s existing portfolio of commercial loans as well as engaging new businesses and organizations to further expand the portfolio.

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