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Making The Holiday Season A Little Brighter

Believe it or not, the holiday season is upon us once again! 

For many, the holiday season is full of joy and happiness, but it can also come with a sense of worry for families who are in need of meals, clothes and other necessities during this time of year. 

At Community Crossroads, we are dedicated to supporting families in the community all year long, and particularly during the holiday season. Throughout the years, we have been grateful to be partners with Ocasio’s True Martial Arts, who help create Thanksgiving meals for those in the community. Even though we are unable to do the Giving Tree this year, we continue to be grateful for our partnerships with Pentucket Bank in Hampstead, Enterprise Bank in Salem, Atkinson Academy, and TD Bank in Hampstead who allow us to put Giving Trees in their buildings. 

Unfortunately, the ongoing pandemic has forced us to change some of the ways we are giving this year. However, we along with our partners and community members are as committed as always in giving you the resources you need to have a joyous holiday, and spread the cheer to others in the community. 

Kim Ocasio, the Administrative Manager & Director of Charity Events at Ocasio’s True Martial Arts said since it wasn’t safe to have volunteers gather to create the typical Thanksgiving baskets, gift cards were given to local families this year. The idea to give gift cards began when her son Isiah received $5,000 in a Fantasy Football draft and could give the money to any cause. These funds, along with $3,000 from a GoFundMe helped many families receive gift cards so they could have a Thanksgiving meal this holiday season.

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This is the 27th year Kim has been helping local families receive Thanksgiving meals. She noted connections with organizations such as the one she has with Community Crossroads make the efforts possible each year. Also making the Thanksgiving baskets possible are Fantini Baking Co. who package and donate rolls, Eastland Food Products Inc., and Hans Kissle for donating boxes to put supplies in, and Dollar Tree for donating pans.

Kim noted that whether it is baskets or gift cards, each year families are always grateful to have a Thanksgiving meal.

Our Family Support Council is hosting two holiday-themed activities this month. From now until Friday, December 18th, if you decorate a gingerbread and send it to cdudal@communitycrossroadsnh.org, you will be featured on our social media pages. This fun craft is a way for those of all ages to get into the holiday spirit.

On Wednesday, December 9th the Family Support Council is holding a virtual visit with Santa Claus. Santa will be speaking to children and adults as a group. Participants will also have the chance to spend one-on-one time with him. Email apappas@communitycrossroadsnh.org for a Zoom link. 

 Our Choices For Independence program is continuing their annual Caregiver’s Hope For The Holidays which provides gifts for our area’s home-bound seniors. Director of Independence Service Coordination Tina Paquin said the department helps make the holiday season a little merrier for those who have no services and sometimes have no other people in their lives. In an effort to give to others in a safe way, gift cards are being given out this holiday season.

There are many other local resources that are helping members of the community this holiday season and there are some fun (socially distanced) events and activities as well:

Toys for Tots supported over 30,000 children in New Hampshire last year, this year you can help support children here: https://londonderry-nh.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/default.aspx?nPageID=100&nPreviewInd=200

Donations to the Atkinson Women’s Civic Club go directly to organizations in the town of Atkinson, https://www.awcc-nh.org/donate. Look up the civics’ club in your own hometown to see how they help the local community!

The Annual Salem Night of Lights will take place on December 5th from 5-8 p.m. at the Salem High School. The drive-thru event will include vehicles decorated with lights and other holiday decorations. 

 Ice Castles in North Woodstock have been a favorite of many for years. They are reopened this month with safety protocols in place. You can learn more about them here, https://icecastles.com/new-hampshire   

Other resources for people in need or those who want to help others include http://www.debbiestreasurechest.org/, and the Salem Boys and Girls Club. 

While this year has been different in many ways, we along with our partners, community members, and families have the same dedication as always to making your holiday season a little brighter.

Blog Writer