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Catholic Charities Report

Hand in Hand, We Have a Plan

In incredible way to live out the words, ‘love thy neighbor.’” That’s how one volunteer describes her experience of serving in Catholic Charities of New Hampshire’s project called Hand in Hand, We Have a Plan.

This June, for the fifth consecutive year, Catholic Charities will be helping neighbors in the North Country work hand in hand with one another. Christina Bertin, the Parish and Community Outreach Coordinator for Catholic Charities in Littleton, works hard each spring to identify people in her community who need assistance in maintaining their properties. She seeks site coordinators to oversee the projects she identifies, and then assembles teams of young volunteers who are willing to give a week of service. “Each year it all just seems to come together,” she says.

The goal of Hand in Hand is to match teams of volunteers with homeowners in the North Country who are in need of basic home repairs that might include maintenance, interior and exterior painting, or garden and yard work. This year Christina is hoping to recruit students from Littleton, White Mountain Regional, Profile, Groveton and Woodsville High Schools. She looks for young people who are willing to come together to offer their time and talents to assist homeowners that are disabled or who have limited resources.

Describing the week of work last year, one volunteer reflects, “Every day the residents were thankful for our service and always showed their appreciation for our work. It was a humbling feeling to know we were helping those in need, even if it was only one hundred miles away from home.”

In 2016, Hand in Hand volunteers assisted between seven and ten home owners and the goal this year is ten home sites among the towns of Littleton, Whitefield, Lancaster, Jefferson, Twin Mountain, Dalton, Woodsville, Lisbon and Groveton. The week will begin with a welcoming at noon on Sunday, June 25, at St. Rose of Lima Church Hall. In the middle of the week there will be an ice cream social and then a closing celebration on Friday, June 30.

“I’ve been at Catholic Charities for three years,” says Christina, “and I think it’s wonderful to see the friendships that are developed and the impact the Hand in Hand project has on both the volunteers and homeowners. The homeowners respond with such gratitude. They send us cards and letters thanking us and letting us know what a difference the work meant to them.”

Seeing people in need of some basic assistance and being able to lend a hand “really humbled me,” reflects one volunteer who served last year. “Making the trip was one of the best decisions I’ve made. It made me remember we are all children of God. I also made friends with people I am still in touch with today.”

People seeking more information about this program should contact Christina Bertin, Parish and Community Outreach Coordinator, at 603.444.7727, Ext.11, or email cbertin@nh-cc.org.