Londonderry Rotary Club donates nearly $20k to local charities

Union Leader Correspondent
May 21. 2014 7:36PM
Rotarian John Timmeny, at left, presents Liberty House Director Keith Howard with a check for $11,624 Tuesday night. (April Guilmet/Union Leader Correspondent)

LONDONDERRY — Last month a Londonderry Rotary Club fundraiser raised more than $27,000. On Tuesday evening, Rotarians gave much of those funds away.

During a check presentation ceremony at the Coach Stop Restaurant, club officials made two large donations to the Liberty House and the Sonshine Soup Kitchen.

The Liberty House in Manchester offers transitional housing and support services for hundreds of homeless veterans.

Rotarian Deb Waitt said the Londonderry Rotary learned about the organization last year, when Keith Howard, executive director of the Liberty House, spoke at a monthly Rotary meeting. Waitt said the club made its first donation to the Liberty House in 2013. This week the Rotary presented Howard with a check for $11,624.

Howard, a veteran who once struggled with substance abuse issues, said the charity’s workload has definitely increased in recent years.

“Having these funds in the bank will allow us to focus on our clients,” Howard said Tuesday, noting that day was a particularly important one for him as it marked his seventh year of sobriety.

Londonderry State Rep. Al Baldasaro, a former Marine, who serves on the state’s Veterans Affairs Committee, noted the Liberty House has a dozen beds, but during the winter months it’s not uncommon for dozens more to sleep on the floor some nights.

“Right now we have about 450 homeless veterans in the state of New Hampshire,” Baldasaro said. “Having a facility like the Liberty House is a win-win for the state, but the sad fact is we still have many veterans living on the street.”

At the Sonshine Soup Kitchen, facility director Cynthia Dwyer said she’s also coping with a seemingly never-ending list of needs. The facility serves free meals for the needy five nights per week, with volunteers and staff also on hand to offer sustenance for the soul.

On Tuesday, Dwyer was presented with a check for $8,026, the latest donation in what’s been a long-standing relationship between the Rotary and the local soup kitchen.

“It will be nice not to have to worry about where our next buck is coming from,” she said, thanking the Rotary for its support.

Classic Car Show Sunday

The Londonderry Rotary Club is revving up for its next major event, the annual Classic Car Show. The car show, which will feature live music, food, raffles and prizes, is Sunday at Londonderry Square on Route 102. In the event of rain the car show will be moved to Monday.

Registration is $10 per vehicle in advance, or $15 per vehicle on the day of the show. Admission is $3 per adult, or $7 per family, with children admitted free.

Vehicle registration will begin at 9 a.m., with public viewing beginning at 10 a.m. An awards presentation will start at 2 p.m. For more information, contact Event Chair George Brooks at 661-0028.

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