Good Cause of the Month: Shire Sharing
This nonprofit hopes to feed 600 families across the Granite State for Thanksgiving.
Throughout 2017, we’ve been alerting you to events and causes worthy of your time and philanthropic treasure in our Good Cause of the Month series. Keep an eye out for a Good Cause every month here at NHMagazine.com, from charitable events to volunteer opportunities to nonprofits you should get to know – and, by the end of the year, your do-gooder cred will be off the charts.
For this month’s Good Cause, we’d like to introduce you to Shire Sharing. This nonprofit addresses community needs through voluntary action and direct charity. They raise funds, collect goods, coordinate deliveries and connect with their community. The organization has been in operation since 2011, and they are working on feeding 600 families for Thanksgiving. Read on to learn about all of their work and history and to find out how you can get involved.
What They Do
When Amanda Bouldin was growing up, her dad Kent would bring her along to his special Thanksgiving project in Dallas: the Basket Brigade. Every Thanksgiving, he and his friends got together and spent their own money to provide meals to families in need. In February of 2011, he was diagnosed with cancer and passed away unexpectedly in April. While driving through Bedford one day, Bouldin thought about honoring her father’s legacy in Dallas by starting her own organization in New Hampshire. In October of 2011, Shire Sharing was born. The organization delivered 52 meals in its first year, and delivered over 500 bags in 2016 alone.
The process begins in August every year when Bouldin starts fundraising and updating the website and social media pages. She works with local businesses such as Ascentria Care Alliance in Concord and Harbor Homes in Nashua to develop a list of families that need Thanksgiving meals. All of the meals are a custom fit to meet both numbers and dietary needs. Whether the meal is on its way to single-parent family, a vegetarian home or someone in the household has diabetes, Shire Sharing is there to make sure that everyone gets exactly what they need. They even make culturally appropriate bags for refugee families that can include lentils, fresh fruit or veggies.
Market Basket in Manchester provides discounted turkeys every year, and Bouldin will order most of their food necessities from bulk in return. Moving companies, such as Starving Artists Movers in Manchester, love volunteering their time and trucks to pick up the food and bring it to the warehouse for assembly. “It is amazing to see how companies now contact me instead of me contacting them,” says Bouldin. “It is humbling to see how these businesses want to come together and contribute their time every year.”
Assembly and delivery, happening November 18 and 19 this year, are the biggest days for the organization. Volunteers and members from around the community gather to assemble the Thanksgiving gifts. Along with food, each bag gets a handwritten note by Carla Mora that says, “This comes to you from someone who cares about you. All we ask is that you take care of yourself well enough to be able to do this for someone else someday.” A delivery from the organization isn’t a handout – it’s a gift from friends.
Their compassion continues into delivery day, when they drop baskets off anywhere from Manchester to Grafton to Nashua at each home’s front door. This year, bags are dropped off in custom-printed reusable bags that say “From a Friend.”
“When I started this organization, I wanted to make sure each basket was delivered directly to a door because it should be a personal experience,” says Bouldin. “I want them to know that they aren’t just some number on a piece of paper when they are in line at a deli picking up a turkey.”
A couple of years ago, Shire Sharing also added a coat drive to the mix. People can leave their coats at drop boxes at residential homes anywhere from Keene to Portsmouth to Nashua, and the organization will deliver coats with Thanksgiving meals. Between the Thanksgiving baskets and coats, Bouldin’s organization brings New Hampshire residents together as they gather to feed thousands of their neighbors. “Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate abundance,” notes Bouldin. “In New Hampshire we enjoy an abundance of liberty, and most importantly, love.” Kent Bouldin built his Thanksgiving basket tradition on the abundance of love years ago, and it is that very love, compassion and support that lives on in Shire Sharing today.
How You Can Help
Volunteers bring a special touch to Shire Sharing, and they need your help. From spreading the word, to donations, here are a few ways that you can help:
- Donate: Monetary donations such as cash, Bitcoin and non-monetary donations are happily accepted. You can make a donation of any amount, or sponsor a family for $35 through their website here.
- Volunteer: There are two ways that you can volunteer with Shire Sharing.
- Assemble the Thanksgiving Gifts. This event will take place at 4 Technology Dr., Londonderry between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on November 18. It is a family-friendly potluck party, and NH Balloon Man will even be there to entertain the kids. No need to register beforehand, just show up!
- Deliver Thanksgiving Meals. Drivers will be going door-to-door on November 19 with their Thanksgiving gifts. If you would like to sign up, click on this link to take you to the form. Deadline to sign up is 5 p.m. on November 14 and they will contact you by the 17.
- Coat Drive: New and gently used coats are accepted in all sizes at any of these drop-off locations (many are open 24/7). The deadline to donate is November 12, and if you don’t have a coat to donate, feel free to donate $20 to help buy a new coat for a child in need. Contact Amanda Bouldin at (603) 494-8689 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in setting up your own drop-off location.
To learn more about Shire Sharing and all the ways that you can get involved, visit their website or contact Amanda Bouldin at (603) 494-8689.
Do you know of an organization or charitable event that would make a great Good Cause of the Month? Send your ideas to Assistant Editor Emily Heidt at email@example.com.