The Spirit of Giving Alive in Hudson
December 31, 2015
by Laurie Jasper
The spirit of giving is alive and well in Hudson, N.H., thanks to the many volunteers who work all year round to ensure those less fortunate in our community receive food and gifts during the holiday season. St. John XXIII Parish Food Pantry, formerly known as Hudson St. Vincent de Paul Society Food Pantry, was established over 20 years ago as a non-profit assistance program for residents of Hudson. Pauline Boisvert, director of the food pantry, leads the all-volunteer staff with her endless amount of energy, organization and commitment.
For the Christmas season, families in need apply to the St. John XXIII Parish Food Pantry for food and gifts. “We see families struggling that don’t have any extra money, single parents, and senior citizens. We distribute food baskets and gifts so they have a good Christmas,” said Boisvert. Planning and preparation happen throughout the year. This is in addition to the distribution of items from the food pantry that occurs monthly.
On Thursday, Dec. 17, members of the Hudson Police Department assisted the food pantry in picking up the food order at Hannaford and delivering five car loads of items to St. John’s and St. Kathryn’s. “I can’t thank them enough for helping, this really saved us so much time, it’s great to get young people to help move the boxes,” said Boisvert.
St. Kathryn Parish in Hudson joins St. John XXIII Parish in collecting gifts and donations for those less fortunate through their annual “be a star” program. This year, St. Kathryn’s brightened Christmas for over 75 families. Lena Lajoie coordinates the volunteers at St. Kathryn Parish. “St. John’s Food Pantry supplies all the food, and our volunteers separate the gifts and organize everything by family for faster distribution,” said Lajoie. “This year was very humbling. There were a lot of requests for items such as socks, hats and underwear from the children, not just for toys,” said Lajoie. In addition to the items on the wish lists, Toys for Tots delivers extra toys so each child gets a few surprises.
Saturday, Dec. 19, was distribution day at both St. Kathryn’s and St. John’s. At St. Kathryn’s, members of the Hudson Police Employees Association and their families were hard at work delivering carts full of food and gifts to the waiting cars. Recipients checked in at the front door, where parishioners Lauraine and Leo Hudon and Rick Wickham welcomed them and showed them to the hospitality room and coffee and pastries awaited. Making new friends were parishioner Ed Cotter and his companion, 9-year-old Guinness, who is a therapy dog for Paws for Pets.
“Everything went so smoothly, I can’t thank the Hudson Police and our volunteers enough. These people become your children, even though we know them by a number. You get excited for them to have a wonderful Christmas. This is what it is all about,” said Lajoie.