Derry Rotary comes to the rescueBy CHRIS GAROFOLO
Union Leader Correspondent December 14. 2017 12:57AM
DERRY — While they may have been missing the big red suit and long white beard, roughly a dozen members of the Londonderry Rotary Club played the role of Santa Claus this week as they shopped at the Derry Walmart for 95 residents in need of a merry Christmas.
Rotarians strolled around the retail giant early Monday morning with approximately $3,800 and gift lists from three local churches. The club has been holding its annual shopping event for 25 years.
“Anyone from age 2 to age 68,” said Ron Bechard, a former club president standing in between two checkout lanes with a folder filled with the holiday needs of low-income families. Given the time of the year, most of the items are winter jackets, boots and other cold-weather gear.
The gifts, once purchased and organized by the Rotarians, are delivered this week to the respective churches where the requests originated, ready to go out in time for the holiday.
Money is raised by the Rotary Club’s Santa Fund, which provides the club with a budget. Rotarians pitch in if there is not enough, Bechard said.
“I think the nice thing is we have 95 people who have nothing, and we’re providing them with something,” he said.
“They will have something for Christmas, and in a lot of cases it is people who need clothing, boots … it’s what they need.”
The Rotary Club’s Santa Fund and the subsequent shopping spree has become one of the most joyful and rewarding events of the year for members.
Terry McCormick called it his favorite activity while former member Dave Picchi, who now lives in South Carolina, made a point to volunteer with his old club mates while back in the Granite State.
“I love it because Rotary’s motto is ‘Service above self,’ and this is a great way to service our community, know that we’re shopping for people who need what we’re getting and it’s going to help them not just have a better Christmas, but a better winter,” said Dave Harrison, a four-year member of the club. “To have snow gear, boots, mittens, hats — all those items are important.”