Intern working for town of Londonderry battles hunger with canned food drive

Union Leader Correspondent
August 05. 2014 9:57PM
Danny Sullivan, a 2012 graduate of Londonderry High School, recently launched a townwide food drive. Sullivan, a longtime summer intern in the town’s finance office, plans to collect food for the N.H. Food Bank through August. (APRIL GUILMET/Union Leader Correspondent)

LONDONDERRY — As a longtime summer intern in the town finance office, Danny Sullivan’s typical workday consists of budgets and balances.

But after learning of the New Hampshire Food Bank’s ongoing struggles, the 2012 Londonderry High School graduate decided to help some of his neighbors in need.

Last week, Sullivan launched a townwide food drive to benefit the Manchester charity.

Sullivan, a junior pursuing a finance degree at the University of New Hampshire, said he learned about the food bank during a recent conversation with Catherine Blash, the town’s senior affairs director.

Sullivan initially proposed a volunteer initiative for town employees, but upon considering the logistics involved, he decided that wouldn’t be possible during regular work hours.

Not easily discouraged, Sullivan pitched a different plan — a canned food drive.

Collection sites

On July 28, collection bins were placed inside Londonderry Town Hall and the senior center, police station and Central Fire Station. The boxes will remain in place for the month of August. Sullivan said that community members as well as town employees are welcome to donate goods.

Town Manager Kevin Smith said he supported Sullivan’s efforts.

“I’m glad Danny had the good sense to do this,” Smith said Tuesday. “This is the kind of thing that can really bring a community together.”

Town Clerk Sherry Farrell shared that sentiment, noting that residents of all ages could lend a hand.

“If you have little ones, you might want to start looking through your cabinets together, or maybe even take a trip to the grocery store together to pick out some items,” Farrell said. “Just imagine the difference our town can make with Danny’s help.”

Sullivan’s work at the town hall began four summers ago, when he was given an internship as part of the district’s Academy of Finance program.

“It all sort of clicked,” he said this week. “I’ve been coming back each summer ever since then.”

While the food drive is Sullivan’s first large-scale community service project, he also volunteers at a camp for children with special needs. He hopes to eventually build a career in municipal finance or in the nonprofit sector.

“It’s wonderful I’ve been able to keep my foot in the door at the town hall because the people there have been great,” Sullivan said.

Food Bank’s needs

According to the Food Bank’s website, items such as canned fish and chicken, peanut butter, pasta, canned soups, canned or dried beans, rice, macaroni and cheese and jellies are the most in demand.

The regional organization distributed more than 8.5 million pounds of food last year. Agency officials estimated that 1 in every 9 individuals in New Hampshire struggle with hunger.

Donations can be dropped off at participating locations Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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