Students of Litchfield ‘Make a Difference’
by Doug Robinson
Students proudly stand behind the donated stacks of food as they ready the food for the food pantry.
The mountain of food donations piled up on the Campbell High School Auditorium stage left onlookers speechless, school administers smiling, and filled the student’s hearts with the knowledge that, because of their hard work and efforts, many families in need would be receiving food during these troubling Holidays. Students were giddy with excitement as they sorted, checked date codes, and boxed up the donations of food, making them ready for the Litchfield Food Pantry, as ‘Make a Difference’ Week concluded.
‘Make a Difference’ week is an inter-district food drive involving GMS (Griffin Memorial School), LMS (Litchfield Middle School), and CHS (Campbell High School) that took place Monday, November 17 to Friday, November 21. “Our goal was to collaborate as a district and get all the schools involved,” commented CHS student council President, Michael Clark. “We collaborated with GMS and LMS in a collaborative effort to raise as much as we could to donate to our local Litchfield Food Pantry.”
What started off as a competition between schools, soon turned to a fundraising drive which, as Food Pantry Coordinator Linda People’s stated, “The students stopped looking at themselves and stopped looking at the competition between the schools and began looking at others, especially those in need, and became fueled by the thought that they were making a difference with their actions.”
Students from CHS combined their talents with third graders as they teamed up to make posters, and together, proudly hung the high school posters in the grade school and the grade school posters in the high school. Homerooms challenged homerooms as to who could build the biggest and the best construction piece from the cans of food donated.
Students collected over 10,000 food items between the three schools. Canned food, toiletries, hygiene items, pasta, and soups were collected and given away to those in need.
“I feel like I hit the lottery,” continued Peoples. “Last year we helped around 25 families, and this year the need has grown to 42 families. There is a lot of need in the community and I am just thankful for the hard work of Litchfield’s youth as well as the contributions of food from area homes.”
Sophomore, Courtney Gannon, carries a heavy load of donated food into the food pantry. “It is important to help everyone out and to make sure everyone’s Holiday is good.”
Supporting Toys for Tots
by Lynne Ober
VFW Post Commander Mike Dustin, Marines Derik Bice and Mike Finn, and VFW Auxiliary President Brenda Gora, with the train that the Marines have presented to the VFW in honor of their support for the Toys for Tots program.
For more than six decades, the United States Marine Corps has been collecting Toys for Tots. This worthwhile effort is recognized throughout America. The program was founded in 1947 by Major Bill Hendricks. The familiar logo of a train with the name on it was designed by Walt Disney Studios for the program. The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) charity, serves to fund, raise funds for, and support the program.
The mission of the program “is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.” This year the need is higher than ever, and, as always Hudson VFW Post 5791 hosted a successful fundraiser and dinner in support of Toys for Tots.
VFW members work for weeks collecting items for auction and raffle baskets. “I thought this might be a lean year for us because the economy is so bad,” said VFW Women’s Auxiliary President Brenda Gora, “but everyone really pitched in and we have as many wonderful items as always.”
The community always pitches in to help with this effort, and by the time dinner guests were gathering, tables were filled with gift certificates, raffle baskets and auction items, and it seemed like everyone who came through the door brought something else to add to the display area.
The hall had been decorated by groups of volunteers. One group strung the lights; another did the wall decorations, and yet another group decorated the tables.
Tables were decorated in a holiday theme, with frosty snowmen glowing in the center of each table. “We had 250 tickets and we sold every one of them,” said Gora. “It’s an absolute sell-out, and raffle tickets are selling fast.”
The catered gourmet buffet dinner was absolutely delicious. Conversation flowed before, during and after dinner as people chatted and enjoyed themselves.
All proceeds are donated to the Toys for Tots program. An Alvirne High School graduate, Mike Finn, who has been in the Marines for four years, was accompanied by Marine Derik Bice to the dinner. “This year we are seeing a lot of fraud,” said Finn. “People are claiming to be accepting toys for donations and not giving them to the Toys for Tots program.” Finn told a story about one woman who collected the toys and then sold them on e-Bay instead of donating them.
“All of our drop-off locations are registered on our Website,” said Finn. “People should check out the Website before making a donation.” Registered toy drop-off locations can be found at http://www.toysfortots.org/donate/toys.asp.
Christmas Lights Benefit St. Vincent de Paul Society
by Doug Robinson
75 Pelham Rd., Hudson
What started out as a simple project years ago with only a few hundred Christmas lights, has now grown into an annual and elaborate display of nearly 130,000 holiday lights, animated scenes, coordinate music playing to the trees illuminating, 3-D houses, kids skating, Santa on a snowmobile, in a helicopter, fishing, on a 56” and 44” sleigh, him waving, camping with Rudolph, on a bicycle, Animated Santa, Santa on a John Deer Tractor, 30” hanging Santa, 42” holographic Santa, Santa with small reindeer, and Santa climbing a ladder are only a few of the hundreds of the lit displays which adorn the Mousseau residence on Pelham Road, Hudson, NH.
Marc Mousseau, with the help of his father-in-law Paul Roy, has been creating a winter wonderland on the front lawn of their home for many years. More than 150 animated displays and more than 275 “static items” light up the front yard of 75 Pelham Rd., Hudson. Seals can be seen rotating a red ball, while 30 animated Christmas trees line the driveway, with their lights going on and off in rhythm to the familiar songs of Christmas music. The animated displays are electronically coordinated by a computer to illuminate and cue, while music plays, filling the air with great songs from the Holiday season. A helicopter sits atop the house, nutcracker soldiers light up in sequence, while other animated animals bob their heads. Four large trees have been added this year and have been decorated with hundred of multi-colored Christmas bulbs. Also new this year is the addition of large three-dimensional houses, sled dogs pulling Santa, kids and skating.
Retuning to the magical display of lights this year are the familiar animated elephant, tiger, and giraffe, Ferris wheel, roller coaster, and hot air balloon. “I took a welding class to learn how to fabricate the hot air balloon” commented Roy.
“This year, we have set the yard up as a park” stated Mousseau. Throughout the lawn, illuminated Santa’s can be seen waving, four reindeer, four penguins walking a tightrope, and a holographic NOEL with chasing penguins fill the Christmas Park with excitement for all ages to see. Dolphin’s jumping through a hoop of fire, men and women skating, two sets of lighted drums, one jack-in-the-box, and four toy soldiers, are illuminated as well.
Each year the Mousseau and Roy families have collected donations from the many thousands of people who visit their “Merry Hudson Christmas” display, and then donate those funds to a local cause.
Donations received this year will be given to the food of St. Vincent DePaul Society, located at Blessed John XXIII, 25 Library St. Hudson, NH. Over the years, the Mousseau and Roy families have given countless hours of both financial as well as sweat equity, braving the cold, rain, snow, and often snow blizzards, so they could use their talents to help raise thousands of dollars for many needy organizations and those in need throughout Hudson and Litchfield.
For those wishing more information about “Merry Hudson Christmas” at the Park, the families have created a website for you to visit, http://www.hudsonchristmas.com/.
The Christmas lights for the 2008 season will be going on Thursday, November 27 at 4:30pm for all to see. Lights will be turned on daily at that time, unless it rains.