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Tool donation offers pour in for Habitat following burglary

New Hampshire Union Leader

July 01. 2015 11:13PM
Ann Chiampa of Londonderry arrives with a bag full of new tools at the Greater Manchester Habitat for Humanity Warehouse in Manchester on Wednesday. Chiampa donated the tools on behalf of the Londonderry Historical Society. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

MANCHESTER — An avalanche of donations inundated Greater Manchester Habitat for Humanity on Wednesday, a day after word got out that burglars had broken into its job site and made off with expensive power tools and other equipment.

The organization’s president, Elizabeth Rakich, said she heard from more than a dozen individuals and several companies interested in donating tools. Others called or emailed with offers of cash.

“It’s been overwhelming,” said Rakich. “I just don’t have the words to describe how this feels.”

A day earlier, she had fretted that the theft would put the organization at least a month behind in its nearly completed five-year project — the gutting and rebuilding of a triple-decker on Hosley Street.

The burglars stole power tools, equipment, even bottled water and snacks given to volunteers.

One donation came from the Londonderry Historical Society. President Ann Chiampa said the society donated materials it had planned to raffle off for its own fundraiser. Items included a Ryobi circular saw, a laser level, a tape measure and a tool box.

“My heart went out to them,” Chiampa said. “All the volunteer hours, the work. How could you not help them?”

Others called or emailed the Union Leader asking how to contact the organization.

Stephen Mathieu, co-owner of Legacy Financial Solutions, pledged $500, and got his friend Will Infantine to kick in $250.

Mathieu said the article struck a nerve with him and his wife.

“Some things are just not right,” Mathieu said, “and sometimes a community has to come together to make it right. We’re part of this community and we wanted to make a contribution.”

William Behrens, left, of Merrimack speaks about a saw he donated to volunteers Dylan Ramos, right, and Jerry Patterson at the Greater Manchester Habitat for Humanity Warehouse in Manchester on Wednesday. Behrens donated a bunch of tools after learning about tools which were stolen from a Manchester Habitat for Humanity job site. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

The timing worked out well. On Wednesdays, Habitat for Humanity opens its warehouse at 33 Canal St., and Rakich directed donations of tools and supplies to the warehouse. She said it appears the organization may end up with too much material, so she made sure donors were OK with the idea that some of their donations may be sold.

Money would remain with Habitat, she said.

Also, several people called to inquire about volunteering. She said the support means the project may be just about back on track. Originally, she had hoped to finish sometime this month.

Finally, Rakich said she’s heard from Home Depot, which wants to meet with Rakich and see what she needs most to complete the job.

But between picking up some donations and sorting through others, Rakich doesn’t expect to have an answer for a couple of days.

“I don’t even know if we’ll have picked up all the tools by the time we meet them,” she said.

Crime, law and justice Real estate Londonderry

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