Easter Basket Program
by Lynne Ober
Windham’s Helping Hands, a non-profit organization, provides a number of programs throughout the years for Windham residents. Recently volunteers were working on the Easter Basket Program.
“It’s a little bit of Easter Magic, for Windham kids,” smiled Helping Hands President Denise Dolloff.
This is the third year of the program and every year it’s grown. “The first year we did 18 Easter baskets,” said Helping Hands Secretary Ruth-Anne Calandra, “and all the baskets fit on my dining room table.” The second year they made thirty baskets and this year they put together 45 baskets.
“It’s primarily for the younger children,” said Human Services Coordinator Kathy Davis, “but if a family has older children then we do an Easter basket for all of the children.”
Helping Hands was originally formed when Denise realized that multiple groups were trying to do the same thing, but there was no coordination. Today Kathy Davis, who handles Windham Assistance Programming and other members of Helping Hands work with School Counselors to identify families who would benefit from Helping Hands programs. Confidentiality is a key in all Helping Hands programs.
Windham Fire Department donated their meeting/training room where the baskets were being assembled under the watchful eye of Denise.
“We’ve been lucky with donations and our one fundraiser, the Lobster Bake, is well attended,” said Denise. “Men’s Warehouse provided a wonderful donation to the Easter Baskets, for example.”
Although it looked chaotic, it wasn’t long before the baskets were assembled, with the gold Easter bunny in the front and age appropriate toys and candy nestled behind the Easter bunnies. Then each basket was bagged and tied with a ribbon.
Denise laughingly called the process Baskets 101 with Bow Tying thrown in. When the baskets are ready, then Cathy Davis and the four school counselors will work with the families to ensure delivery in time for Easter.
The Helping Hands Lobster Bake fund raiser will be held Father’s Day weekend at Towne Plaza on Cobbets Pond Road. Watch for details as the event approaches and plan to help this worthwhile organization.
Junior Pistol Program
by Lynne Ober
Pelham Fish and Game Club offers a Junior Pistol Program. It’s open to teenagers who would like to learn to shoot a pistol.
“The first thing we do is teach gun safety,” said Mitch Kopacz, one of the instructors as well as a Pelham Fish and Game Club Director. “Then we teach then to break down their pistols, clean them, and reassemble. Finally we start to teach them to shoot, but it’s always safety first.”
The program lasts for ten weeks and the participants work for two to two and a half hour per week. Currently there are sixteen participants working on “bull’s eye pistol shooting.”
“We hope some of these youngsters will enter shooting competitions this summer,” continued Kipacz.
The program got an initial grant from the NRA. “We used that to buy equipment,” said Pelham Game Club Secretary Joe Colbert. “The participants pay a fee that is used to offset other costs, such as ammunition.”
Although the participants are predominantly male, there are some female participants. Fourteen year old Janemarie Kuklar has enjoyed the classes. “It’s a family sport,” she explained. “My family shoots pistols and trap too.”
Tessa West, also 14, said that it was just plain fun. “I’ve really enjoyed learning this. It’s harder than it looks.”