Over a hundred forty Christmas trees donated to NH families in need
12/5/2020 - Alumni Association Event
Kate Aiken, Alumni Advisor
“The holiday season should be a joyful time of year but that is not always the case for our neighbors experiencing hunger, especially this year.
Providing them with a Christmas tree will help to restore a bit of that holiday spirit and we are truly grateful to the Putnam family and HOBY New Hampshire for that.”
Eileen Liponis, Executive Director, New Hampshire Food Bank
Christmas tree demand is up this year as people seek refuge in holiday cheer. Most Christmas trees are between $50 and $100, however, and the cost to keep up with traditions like this is difficult for some families, especially those who have been impacted by the COVID economy. This weekend, the HOBY New Hampshire Alumni Association distributed over 140 trees across the state to families who need them.
The trees, a donation from the Putnam family farm in Orford, NH, are being delivered to partnering food pantries and schools thanks to introductions from the NH Food Bank. “Our partner agencies have provided assistance to more families in need this past year than ever before,” said Eileen Liponis, Executive Director, New Hampshire Food Bank. “The holiday season should be a joyful time of year but that is not always the case for our neighbors experiencing hunger, especially this year. Providing them with a Christmas tree will help to restore a bit of that holiday spirit and we are truly grateful to the Putnam family and HOBY New Hampshire for that.”
“This year has been particularly difficult for many of our clients,” says Ed Ballam, board President for the Good Shepherd Ecumenical Food Pantry in Grafton County. “The opportunity to provide a fresh-cut Christmas tree is a bright spot that will certainly bring them joy during the holiday season.” The majority of the trees will go to homes in Grafton, Merrimack, and Hillsborough counties, the largest delivery of 40 trees going to Parkside Middle School in Manchester, NH, transportation generously donated by New England Document Systems.
New Hampshire’s chapter of Hugh O'Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) is the architect of this effort. Since 1981, HOBY New Hampshire has been serving youth across the Granite State through its annual leadership seminar for high school sophomores, community workshops for Freshmen, and afterward encouraging students to participate in alumni service activities such as this project. Efforts like this are sometimes organized centrally, but HOBY NH’s greatest impact are the hours of service and thoughtful projects their thousands of program alumni complete in their own communities.
One alum, Lyla Boyajian attended HOBY’s three-day seminar in 2013. She says, “HOBY taught me that I didn’t need to wait to be a leader and encouraged me to be an active member of my community in high school, college, and beyond.” Since the seminar she has revamped local clubs, tutored children refugees, started a composting program at her college, and now volunteers to support democracy in Chichester, most recently counting votes at her local polling location.
“We’re really glad HOBY approached us about this opportunity,” says Tim Putnam. “We’re excited to be donating the trees and seeing them going to families who need them.”
Published 9:06PM 12/06/2020