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For more than 20 years, the Raymond Area Rotary Club and the Lions Club have joined forces to provide holiday meals to more than 50 families in need in their area. From left, Rotarians Tim Louis and Bob Goodrich, Lions Club president David Turcotte, Rotarians Donna Gagliardi, John Gagliardi, Donna Wheeler, Al Hall, Rick Lee and, in front, Olivia Goodrich all helped to put together holiday meal baskets on Friday morning. (Gretyl Macalaster/Union Leader Correspondent)

Rotarians, Lions unite provide families with a meal

RAYMOND - The boxes are filled with simple ingredients - bags of potatoes, canned vegetables, pre-made pies and a loaf of bread.

To families in need, the simple boxes represent what will be a humble but joyous holiday meal where there otherwise might have been none.

Each year, the basement of Lions Club president David Turcotte's real estate office brims with the boxes just before Thanksgiving and Christmas.

In the cool hallway, a pile of hams is at the ready, along with crates of milk and apple cider.

Members of the Raymond Area Rotary Club and the Lions gather at 7 a.m. the Friday before Christmas to purchase and pick up the fixings from the local Hannaford's and deliver them back to Turcotte's basement.

There, more volunteers sort the ingredients into boxes.

They enjoy fellowship, coffee and doughnuts as they wait for families to arrive to pick up the free holiday meal.

"It's nice. Some people really appreciate it, and that's what's nice," Turcotte said.

Rotarian Tim Louis said seeing families arrive clearly in need is touching.

The location of the pickup also provides the families a degree of privacy.

Rockingham County Community Action helps the organizations identify families in need each year.

Turcotte said the need expressed was slightly greater this year than last year.