On this crisp fall morning our fearless group of leaders were greeted by a welcoming YMCA staff. For some of us who had never been to the building before, it was impressive, to say the least.
After getting situated in the meeting room, surrounded by windows, we were welcomed by Mike LaChance, CEO, YMCA of Greater Nashua. Mike started off with an informative view of non-profits in general, which was very interesting. In the state of New Hampshire alone, we have 6,547 charitable non-profit organizations. Many dollars are collected to help run these charitable organizations for such a small state.
We were also taken on a tour of the YMCA, by Mike and Katie Parker, the Executive Director of Member Experience. There is a track on the second floor which runs a loop around the whole building, along with daycare, weight rooms, exercise rooms, a pool and meeting areas. A great community space for all.
Following the tour, we were fortunate to hear all about The Front Door Agency, Marguerite’s Place, Family Promise and Bridges. All these non-profit organizations help to manage the vulnerable neighbors in our community, with housing, living essentials, companionship, transportation, and many other personal needs. The compassion shown from the leaders of these organizations is truly commendable and is a shining example of the leadership in our community.
After a short break we were then honored to meet the leaders of the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter, End 68 Hours of Hunger, Southern NH Rescue Mission, and Meals on Wheels. Once again, you can’t help but be impressed with the number of meals donated, prepared, and delivered by such a compassionate group of leaders and volunteers who help to make it all possible. Meals on Wheels provides 7000 meals a week! They have been around for a long time, delivering food and serving food at community dining centers, helping to combat “loneliness”. They recently added a dining card that can be used at a variety of restaurants.
End 68 Hours of Hunger is run totally by volunteers. These volunteers package and deliver to the schools in Nashua and the teachers send food home with the students who need help, very discreetly.
The Southern NH Rescue Mission is a faith-based organization that houses, feeds, clothes, and offers showers to men every night. They help to provide stability and help with job search and budget guidance. “You can change people’s lives. There is a lot of selfishness in our world. You can learn to love others and you can change a culture,” says Lloyd, president. They are opening a women’s shelter soon.
And finally, the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter has a food service division, which is always at capacity, and a pantry. They offer breakfast and dinner, which has had a huge impact on the city. They feed 1000 to 1200 families a month. Recently they added Meals for Kids, where they prepare and freeze meals, like TV dinners, and then bring them to the schools so kids don’t have to depend on their parents to feed them.
All these organizations face challenges, especially with the cost of food, and inflation in every area. Other challenges include the lack of affordable housing and the increase in mental illness and drug use. None of this is surprising in our current climate
In conclusion, we need to be informers and advocates and we need to spread compassion and share when we can. The needs are endless.
By Sue Bee from Nashua PAL
In the heart of Southern New Hampshire, community leaders gathered for a day of discovery and collaboration, aimed at fostering a stronger bond between local leaders and nonprofits. The focus? Encouraging local leaders to get involved in community service through volunteer board positions.
The afternoon kicked off with insights into the vibrant landscape of Nashua’s nonprofit sector. Local leaders explored avenues for engagement and learned about the impactful work of organizations like Opportunity Networks, dedicated to providing services for adults with disabilities. The message was clear—contributing to the community isn’t just a responsibility; it’s an opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives.
One of the key highlights of the day was the call for leaders to consider joining volunteer boards. The idea is not only to give back but also to inject fresh perspectives and energy into these organizations. By actively participating in the decision-making processes, leaders can play a pivotal role in shaping the future of these nonprofits.
Opportunity Networks, with its commitment to empowering individuals with disabilities, became a focal point of the discussions. Leaders gained valuable insights into the organization’s mission and the various ways they could contribute, whether through mentorship programs, fundraising initiatives, or strategic planning.
As the day unfolded, the focus shifted to the broader spectrum of integrated care nonprofits. Harbor Care Health, showcasing a holistic approach to community well-being. The organization’s emphasis on housing, healthcare, recovery centers, and financial wellness painted a comprehensive picture of how nonprofits can address multifaceted challenges.
The integration of services highlighted the interconnected nature of issues facing the community. Leaders were inspired to think beyond singular solutions and consider the impact of a more unified, all-inclusive approach. This perspective not only benefits the individuals receiving support but also contributes to the overall resilience and prosperity of the community.
The day concluded with a sense of empowerment and a commitment to fostering a culture of community service among younger generations. By learning about and actively participating in the diverse range of nonprofits in the Nashua area, local leaders are poised to make a lasting impact on the community they call home.