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Program to end weekend hunger started in area schools

July 31, 2014
WOLFEBORO — Sally Humer is new to Wolfeboro, but she's already found herself a hefty project. Upon reading an article in the Granite State News featuring school district Home Link Coordinator Tracy Flynn Sullivan, she became concerned about the number of children in the district who have food available during the school day but go hungry on weekends.

She did some research, found the number of elementary students who could use some assistance getting through the weekend, and got right to work organizing an End 68 Hours of Hunger program for Wolfeboro, Tuftonboro and Ossipee elementary students.

New Durham Elementary already has a program established.

The volunteer program, first started by Dover resident Claire Bloom in 2011, has since spread to other towns in New Hampshire and Maine.

Humer looked at the numbers (no names) provided by GWRSD guidance counselors and school nurses based on qualified families who accepted the invitation to participate (15 in Wolfeboro, eight in Tuftonboro, and 40 in Ossipee), designed a food list for each weekend knapsack, costed it out and set about finding two stations from which to operate.

In two days, following a meeting with the L.I.F.E. Ministries Food Pantry Board, she had promises for space for storage and distribution. She couldn't be happier with the response from Huggins Hospital CEO Mike Connolly. "Huggins Hospital was incredible," she enthuses.

The hospital is letting the group use two patient rooms in the old building, which can be locked and has easy access to the outside." We can wheel the food in," she says with excitement. It also helped her out with the next obstacle, a required $100 liability insurance policy. End 68 Hours of Hunger is not allowed to spend money on anything but food, so a gift from the hospital's Charitable Fund was a godsend.

In Ossipee, says Humer, the Agape Ministries Food Pantry offered to share space, but with the amount of food necessary for 40 students, space offered by the First Congregational Church in Ossipee proved a better fit.

The next step is raising money. The need at $10 per child per weekend is estimated at around $2,500 a month. Donations may be sent to the nonprofit organization End 68 Hours of Hunger, c/o Sally Humer, P.O. Box 1026, Wolfeboro Falls, NH 03896.

Humer is looking for volunteers, too. Thursdays are packing day, Fridays are delivery to Carpenter and Crescent Lake Elementary Schools in Wolfeboro, Tuftonboro Central School, and Ossipee Central School. Ideally, she'd like to form double teams so people would work just two weeks a month rather than four.

With a background in sales, Humer says she loves to do presentations. Any group or individual interested in more information may call her at 515-1707.

The school year is fast approaching and so is the time to get the program up and running.

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