Salem volunteers truly are Santa's helpers
Salem residents Faith Bylerly, 11, and Meagan Poliskey, 10, stuff stockings inside the Granite United Church in Salem Wednesday evening. (APRIL GUILMET/Union Leader Correspondent)
As part of the Granite State Church's Christmas Stocking Campaign, efforts to stitch, stuff, seal and deliver some 500 stockings are in full swing this week, with stockings making their way to various shelters and agencies around the region.
"There are several fantastic organizations in our communities who have ongoing relationships with struggling individuals and families," pastor Anthony Milas said. "Instead of recreating the wheel, we want to partner with the good that's already taking place."
"We wanted to see hundreds of people contributing to this, not just people from our church," said Derry resident Val Ahina, the campaign's leader.
Her co-workers at NEPS in Salem didn't hesitate to jump on board, Ahina said, donating items and sewing up stockings.
On Wednesday evening, about 70 volunteers were working late into the evening hours, stuffing and sorting stockings upstairs at the main church in Salem.
The volunteers were asked to "shop" for each recipient, stuffing each stocking based on the recipient's age and gender.
"It's those little things that make it special for someone," Ahina said.
The stockings are being brought to the Emmaus House in Haverhill, Mass., and to the Lazarus House and Casa Nueva Vida in Lawrence, Mass., as well as to Rockingham Community Action, where they'll be given to needy children in Salem, Derry and Londonderry.
Several Key Program members were among the volunteers assisting at the church Wednesday night. The program serves youth in Salem as well as several border towns, including Methuen and Lawrence, Mass.
Cruz: I can rally the right
City 'losing ground' to poverty
First dance of primary season