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Littleton Rotary Club announces grant recipients



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Littleton Rotary Club President Kathy Jablonski (left) presents a check for $750 to North Country Home Health and Hospice Agency President Tiffany Haynes (right) as part of the club's contributions program. (Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)
October 13, 2021
LITTLETON — The Littleton Rotary Club recently announced $4,750 in grant funding for seven different New Hampshire-based organizations. Each of the organizations provides support to the club's eleven-town service area, including Littleton, Lisbon, Lyman, Landaff, Bethlehem, Franconia, Sugar Hill, Easton, Monroe and Dalton.

Local grant recipients included the North Country Home Health and Hospice Agency, The Bridge Outreach Center and the Grafton County Home Association. Other agencies that received Rotarian support included The Mayhew Project, the Circle Program, ShelterBox USA and the Court-Appointed Special Advocates of New Hampshire.

Littleton Rotarians have sustained the organization's contributions program for more than fifty years. The group hosted its well-attended annual Lobsterfest for the first 45 years, but organizers paused the event after 2017, citing dwindling attendance.

During its heyday, the contribution program often delivered upwards of $12,000 to $14,000 to community service organizations, noted Committee Chair Bob Muh. Since 2017, the club has organized a series of smaller-scaled fundraisers. However, all Littleton Rotary meetings and events went virtual at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in the spring of 2020.

Muh said he hoped the group would eventually return to in-person events and meetings. However, the virtual events have faired well, he added.

"We've tried to maintain the momentum and give out some level of grants. Hopefully, we will transition into a better environment and try to develop some larger, more substantial fundraising events," noted Muh.

Money for the grants came from a handful of pre-pandemic events, as well as individual contributions and a storehouse of reserved committee funds. Each receiving organization provides services to the elderly, at-risk youth or low-income families in need, which Muh said had long been a focus of the Rotary Club.

Last year, the club delivered $5,000 to the Grafton County Senior Citizens Council to help the Littleton Area Senior Center meet increased senior nutritional needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous recipients have included the Boys and Girls Club of the North Country, Youth Movement 360, the Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country, Burch House, Bancroft House and Copper Cannon Camp.

According to Muh, the Grafton County Senior Citizens Council has struggled to meet continually increased senior needs since the pandemic began last March. Position vacancies at both the Littleton Area Senior Center and the GCSCC headquarters in Lebanon have presented challenges, as has a shortage of volunteer drivers for the local Meals on Wheels program.

"Many other people are picking up the slack and taking on extra responsibilities. We're trying desperately to avoid burnout," stated Muh, who also serves as the GCSSC President.

While dates and details have yet to be announced, the next Littleton Rotary Club fundraiser will be the second annual Feed the Need online auction. Funds raised by the event will be applied towards the Contribution Committee's selectees for the 2022 grant cycle.

Last year, several Rotarians purchased gift cards from area restaurants, which could be awarded to the highest bidders in the Feed the Need program. Muh said the program's initial goal was two-pronged; to raise funds for service organizations while also supporting local dining establishments during the upheaval of the pandemic.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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