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Gov. Maggie Hassan helps roll out the NH Food Bank's "Nothing" campaign at the Harvest Market in Bedford, with, left to right, John Dumais, President and CEO of the NH Grocers Association, Mel Gosselin, Executive Director of the NH Food Bank and Joe Carelli, President of Citizens Bank. (KATHY REMILLARD PHOTO)

NH Food bank begins sales of 'Nothing' cans to raise funds

BEDFORD - It was much ado about those with nothing at the Bedford Harvest Market on Tuesday as the New Hampshire Food Bank, with the help the Citizens Bank Foundation, rolled out a campaign to help end hunger statewide.

Small, soup-sized cans of "nothing," which are actually banks, will be sold for $5 in many grocery chains statewide, with the proceeds going to the New Hampshire Food Bank.

Gov. Maggie Hassan was on hand Tuesday to help launch the program, buying the first can.

Hassan said the concept of nothing is a reality for many across the state, including 40,000 children.

"Too often, New Hampshire residents go to bed hungry," Hassan said. "It is staggering that the New Hampshire Food Bank will serve as many as 143,000 residents who have trouble feeding themselves or their families."

The program is designed to raise awareness and funding for the food bank, and the timing of the launch was no accident, said Executive Director Mel Gosselin.

"We had a great holiday season - it carried us into February," she said. "But it's a little tricky this time of year."

Gosselin said once the holiday season passes, filling shelves becomes more difficult, especially during colder months.

"About 70 percent of the people we serve have to choose between heating and eating," she said.

The campaign will run through the month of March, with television and public service ads and social media to spread the word.

Joe Carelli, president of Citizens Bank, said hunger is a serious problem, but also a solvable one.

"If we all take action - whatever it is we are capable of - we will make a meaningful difference in the lives of thousands of New Hampshire residents," he said.

Carelli said the cans hold about $25, and combined with the initial purchase of the can, the food bank can provide meals for about 60 people.

"It might be a small can, but it sends a very powerful message," he said.

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