State: New Hampshire
In each state I find a place to volunteer to make the world a better place wherever I go. Some of the time, I look for volunteering opportunities online (like I did in Maine with volunteering through workaway.info at a homestead), but more often the places find me.
This past Sunday (July 3rd, 2016), I went to the Congregational Church of Laconia, United Church of Christ. It was suggested by Kelly and Sean, a couple who gave me a ride into Laconia. I met some wonderful people there and was given the opportunity to share a recent story of God working in my life. However, I won’t spoil what happened next because it’s a story I have to save for the book.
Anyways, after enjoying the breakfast in the church basement, they began to set up for this event called Got Lunch?.
I asked about it and I was told that it’s a program that gets food to children in need.
“Well, the idea for it started when people realized that the kids who received the reduced or free lunches during the school year were likely missing meals during the summer,” Stan (A Got Lunch Leader) said.
Recognizing the opportunity and asked if I could help. I was put to work lining the tables with food, which was then organized so that the food could be packed by a human conveyor belt into bags for each of the kids on the list.
“You should come back on Tuesday. That’s when we’re packing the bags and shipping them off to the kids,” Nan (A Got Lunch Volunteer said).
“Sounds like a plan to me,” I said.
After enjoying the awesome fireworks at Opechee park on the 4th of July, I went back to the church early Tuesday morning.
Despite being 8am, excitement filled the air as people took their place in line along the tables. Everyone was awake, happy, and ready to help.
When we got started, the efficiency was incredible. Each person would put one food item in the bag and hand it down the line. As the bags filled the end table, we would wait to be called as the drivers pulled in and then we would take the bags out and load the cars.
“The drivers are the real heroes. They go and deliver the bags to all the houses, which are sometimes 3rd story apartment buildings. I used to do it, but my knees won’t let me anymore,” a Got Lunch Volunteer said.
“So how many kids is there food going too?” I asked.
“Well, it’s around 530 this year. I think last year it was over 600. So it’s down, which is a good thing. Means people are doing better,” Stan said with a smile.
I later learned that the program was originally started in Laconia, but has since expanded to 23 other areas.
Over seventy businesses and faith-based organizations help make the Got Lunch program possible, along with local farmers, grocery stores, and countless volunteers who dedicate their time to make a difference in these kids lives.
So if you’re looking for somewhere to volunteer in New Hampshire or maybe just want to donate to a good cause, check out:
I sincerely want to thank all of the volunteers, church staff, and all of the businesses and people who make this program possible. The Got Lunch Program is a truly good and noble cause that I’m happy I got to be a part of, if only for a few days
Forever your friend,
P.S. A big thank you to the church for not letting me leave without a big bag of snacks for the road.