HAMPTON — As students and families have grappled with the realities of COVID-19 and its economic impact, one Hampton School District social worker took on the task of ensuring everyone would have a happy Thanksgiving this year.
Approximately 40 families, representing approximately 80 students, stopped by the Hampton Community Coalition on High Street for the curbside pickup of a Thanksgiving meal today.
Several area businesses and organizations donated food and other materials for the meals. The Old Salt and Galley Hatch donated turkey dinners, Las Olas Taqueria held a gift card drive featuring gift cards to businesses including grocery stores and Wal-Mart, Applecrest donated baked apple pies, Gather donated fresh produce and Hannaford donated desserts.
The meals were prepared and packaged separately by volunteers who wore masks and practiced social distancing as well as all other COVID-19 public health guidance to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all participants. The meals were also picked up in a contactless manner on Monday.
“This was a truly wonderful initiative, and it was really special to see our staff and community come together to make the Thanksgiving holiday a special one for our families,” Dr. Costa said. “Well done to everyone who had a hand in making this possible– it’s moments of kindness and generosity like this that really exemplify the holiday spirit.”
The event was planned and coordinated by Emily Buchan, who is in her first year serving as a social worker at Hampton School District. Buchan works with students and families throughout the district, and has helped many of them navigate the challenges of COVID-19 including financial difficulties, childcare needs, stress and anxiety, technology support, food access, and so on.
“Everyone deserves access to a good meal,” Buchan said. “Especially as the holidays approached, it felt important to make sure everyone would have the opportunity to have a nice dinner with their family and enjoy a moment of celebration.”
Buchan said this year, a lot of families who have never needed to ask for help before need help as a result of the ongoing pandemic.
“This pandemic has created a unique situation for many people, and it takes courage to ask for help,” Buchan said. “We’re here to support the families in our district, and it’s important that everyone knows that it’s ok to ask for help, and that we are here for them.”
The Hampton School District additionally wishes to remind the community of the following resources available for help and support:
- The Hampton Parent Teacher Association has collaborated with the Hampton Chamber of Commerce to offer financial assistance for those in need of childcare. To learn more, contact Buchan at [email protected]
- Hampton School District families are reminded that breakfast and lunch meals are free this school year. For more information or to ask any question, please contact Food Service Director Mary Borg at 603-926-9826.
- The Waypoint Warm Line provides free guidance and support for parents/caregivers at 1-800-640-6486.
- The NH Community Action Program provides fuel assistance. To learn more, click here.
- Gather is a Portsmouth based nonprofit that works to address hunger locally. To learn more visit the organization’s website here or call 603-436-0641
- HAVEN is a Portsmouth based non-profit that provides support services and works to prevent violence. To learn more, visit their website here or call 603-436-4107.
- The SOS Recovery Community Organization provides recovery services. To learn more about virtual recovery meetings, click here.
- If you are experiencing a housing crisis, call NH 2-1-1, or contact your local city or town welfare office (searchable at www.nhmunicipal.org/municipal-directory). Call ahead for current operations.