November 20, 2009
Goffstown gears up to help those in need

GOFFSTOWN - To those who live in Goffstown, it’s no surprise that small-town folks have big hearts.

With the holiday season almost here, the familiar requests for monetary donations and drives for items of all kinds are being made.

The following are just a few examples of how generous donations of money, time and items from the kindness of strangers will touch the lives of friends and neighbors in need in our communities and provide them with some of the basic necessities of life, such as food, shelter, warmth and companionship.

Located in the parish house of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, the Goffstown Network Food Pantry (see box) is one of many organizations helping the Goffstown community satisfy the most basic of human needs – hunger -- at holiday time and all year long.

“Our goal is to offer one week’s worth of groceries for each person in our clients’ households. We accept donations of just about anything that’s nonperishable,” said David Greiner, president of the pantry, which was established in 1990.

Cans of fruits, vegetables, soups and tuna fish; bags of dried beans; boxes of pasta and macaroni and cheese; paper goods; and other staples line the pantry’s shelves and are depleted almost as soon as they arrive.

“Right now, canned soups are our most-needed item. We also need donations of personal- care items, such as shampoo and toothpaste, because our clients cannot use food stamps to purchase nonfood items,” Greiner said.

Additionally, the pantry sponsors Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday programs for its clients. This year, on Nov. 20 and 21, in preparation for Thanksgiving, and on Dec. 17 and 18, in preparation for Christmas, the pantry’s volunteers prepare and distribute to its clients gift boxes that contain the food and other items necessary to make traditional holiday dinners and, hopefully, a little holiday cheer.

To help fund the pantry’s efforts, the pantry receives a percentage of the sales made next door at The Community Clothing Center, a used-clothing store. St. Matthew’s also uses some of the clothing-sales money to pay its bills. Any remaining funds are deposited into the Goffstown Clergy Association, a crisis fund set up by Goffstown’s pastors to help people in need.

Less than 5 miles away, the food pantry at the Goffstown Harvest Christian Church has been open to help feed the hungry for the past eight years.

A new customer who recently came to the pantry to ask for assistance particularly stands out in the memory of Gerry St. Jean, who is the administrator of the church and oversees the food pantry.

“One morning, a woman with five of her children showed up at the food pantry and said that she had three more children at home who were sick,” St. Jean said.

“She’d said she was in dire need of food but couldn’t come to the food pantry for the past two weeks because she had no money.”

The pantry buys and sells certain foods at discounted prices to customers to keep running the food pantry, and it also gives away food to those customers who can’t pay.

St. Jean told her that all she had to do to receive help was to notify the pantry of her needs, and then he gave the woman free of charge lots of pastries, breads, meats, vegetables and fruits for her family.

“We ended up blessing her and her family tremendously,” St. Jean said.

Where to find or give help:

  • Goffstown Harvest Christian Church
    542 Mast Road, Goffstown; 641-5993;
    Hours: Saturdays, 9 to 11 a.m.
    Items most needed: turkeys for Thanksgiving and hams for Christmas plus other nonperishable holiday – dinner staples, such as canned vegetables and cranberry sauce, stuffing mixes, pie crusts, etc. For monetary donations, make checks payable to “Goffstown Harvest Christian Church Food Pantry” and mail it to the church. Donations of food items can be made when the church is open each week from Tuesdays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call the church to make arrangements for after-hours drop-off.

  • Goffstown Network Food Pantry - Located in the St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church parish house
    7 North Mast St., Goffstown; 497-3433.
    Hours: Wednesdays, 6 to 8 p.m.; and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to noon, all year long.
    Items most needed: canned soups and personal-care items (shampoo, toothpaste, etc.) For monetary donations, checks payable to “Goffstown Network” can be mailed to the Goffstown Network at P.O. Box 603, Goffstown, NH 03045. When the pantry is open, donations of food and personal care items can be dropped off any time inside the front doors of the church or, when the pantry is open, at its location at St. Matthew’s parish house on 7 North Mast St.

  • Weare Food Pantry – Located at Weare Middle School
    16 East St., Weare; 529-0320
    Hours: Wednesdays, 5 to 7 p.m.
    Monetary donations can be made out to Weare Food Pantry, c/o 39 Maplewold Road Weare, NH 03281.

  • Wood for Warmth – Sean Powers Wood Bank, Hopkinton Transfer Station; 746-5729;
    Hours: Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Fridays, 1 to 5 p.m.
    Firewood for low-income families needing to keep warm. If you need access to firewood, contact the Hopkinton human services director at the number above. Donations of burnable hardwood in 16-inch lengths can be dropped off at the transfer station, or contact Mary at


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