Barbara's Red Stocking, Neighbor Helping Neighbor
A local effort during the season of giving.
Christmas is a time for giving, and many Upper Valley organizations highlight giving during the holiday season. Those individuals able and willing, also see Christmastime as a season when they open their wallets and provide extra help to those less fortunate. Whether it’s the red kettle on the street corner, or the local animal shelter, those that provide help count on generous donations this time of year.
Locally, there are many who spring into action to provide help during this season of giving. One such organization you may not be aware of is Barbara’s Red Stocking, based in the northern tier of the Upper Valley. The Red Stocking program exists to provide needed, and welcome meals to those experiencing tough times during the holiday season.
Barbara Mack founded the program over 20 years ago, in order to provide meals at Christmastime to needy families in the Orford – Fairlee area. Originally called “Red Stocking,” after Mack’s death in 2000, the volunteers that run the program renamed it Barbara’s Red Socking, in honor of its founder.
Though Red Stocking volunteers work throughout the year organizing and planning, Barbara’s Red Stocking program accomplishes its heartfelt mission in December. And that mission is impressive – providing meals to roughly 70 families in Orford, Fairlee, West Fairlee, Vershire and Piermont.
Volunteers gather names of those that may need some extra help with groceries in these towns, then deliver bags of the staples to those needy individuals and families on the Sunday before Christmas.
The bags of food given include healthy staples, such as fresh and canned fruit and vegetables, peanut butter, and local apples from Walhowden Farm. Special holiday fare, including a ham or turkey, is also included.
Barbara’s Red Stocking is a true volunteer effort – there are no salaries or benefits paid to staff members, or no big administrative costs, such as an advertising or fund raising budget. All the money donated to the program truly does go to helping those in need.
The program spends about $6,000 to $8,000 to purchase the food given away. Most of the food given out comes from the local Wings Market, which gives the program a generous discount on the food costs.
Money raised to fund the Red Stocking program comes almost exclusively from local folks. Volunteers send fund raising letters to residents of the towns served, and place donation boxes on counters of numerous stores and businesses in the area. These low-key fund raising efforts, and the energy of the volunteers, keep Barbara’s Red Stocking running at a level that many help organizations would envy.
Additional donations of funds are certainly welcomed by Barbara’s Red Stocking. If you would like to help this “neighbor helping neighbor” effort, send donations, made out to Barbara’s Red Stocking, to Louise Mack, 59 Archertown Rd., Orford, NH 03777.