Rochester, New Hampshire’s ‘Christmas Gift Bag Program’ is Back to Help the Homeless
Christmas 2020 was one of the most generous seasons in recent history
With 2020 being as tumultuous as it was, the fate of the holiday season last year was definitely unknown before it arrived. However, whether it was based around Christmas, Hanukkah, or just general human decency -- around this time last year was one of the most generous that we've ever seen.
There were countless instances of random people buying groceries for complete strangers. Servers at restaurants were being left tips of upwards to 200% or more. Food drives, toy drives and the like had massive support from the community. And thanks to communities like Rochester, homeless members in the area were able to stay warm, stay fed, and quite honestly, stay alive.
The 'Christmas Gift Bag Program' has helped the Rochester homeless for 6 years
This will be the 7th year that the 'Christmas Gift Bag Program' bands the Rochester community together to help those most in-need and less fortunate. The program was started back in 2014 by Cheryl Huckins while she worked with a Christian group called Straight Street Outreach. Straight Street Outreach provided weekend meals to the homeless in Rochester, and during the Christmas season would pass information along on where the community meals would be provided. That's how Cheryl's idea for the Christmas Gift Bag Program was born.
I got to thinking that it was likely that meal would be the only Christmas gift most of them received. So I decided to see if I could get donations of new blankets. I planned to wrap one up for each of our homeless people and give it to them with a card. So I spread the word to people I know and put up a notice on facebook about it and it just exploded.
How/what to contribute to the 2021 Christmas Gift Bag Program
There are multiple ways to be part of this year's Christmas Gift Bag Program, which Cheryl says "would not be possible without the members of our community who donate and donate and donate." Shopping can be done online or locally in-store and dropped off on Wednesday evenings in the parking lot behind the United Methodist Church during Manna Meals for the Hungry, Cheryl's latest endeavor to feed the homeless.