Today, more than 600 households statewide (39 in the Keene area) were delivered full Thanksgiving meals including turkey, stuffing, gravy, eggs, cornbread mix, vegetables, pumpkin pie ingredients, and some cooking supplies as part of the “Shire Sharing” charity now in its fifth year. Shire Sharing is based in Manchester and headed by state representative Amanda Bouldin, a Free State Project early mover.
Amanda has managed to continually grow the yearly charity event, which she began in memory of her father who did something similar in Dallas when she was growing up. In an interview for Free Keene today, Amanda reported that fundraising for 2015 reached record levels, allowing more than 600 families to be fed. She was hoping to raise enough for 500 families. (Last year, Shire Sharing fed 350 families – a huge increase in just one year!) This year, at least $17,000 was raised by direct contributions and fundraiser events.
Though the first year of Shire Sharing was supposed to be a one-time event, Amanda says, “when the second year rolled around, everyone encouraged me to repeat the project. so we just keep going”. Despite the obviously high stress level involved in organizing such a massive operation, she’s committed to continue: “I know SS is very important to a lot of people — not just the recipients but the volunteers, too. I can’t quit!”
Yesterday, over 100 volunteers met at a warehouse in Manchester to help sort and bag the meals for delivery today, as Free Keene blogger Shire Dude reported here.
Last night, newer Keene-area mover Maria Korfiatis headed to Manchester to grab dozens of the bags for delivery, then this morning volunteers from this area gathered at the Church of the Invisible Hand’s “Society for Love and Peace” (SLAP) at 75 Leverett Street to head out on routes taking meals to Keene, Winchester, Ashuelot, Westmoreland, Swanzey, and Chesterfield.
It was Keene’s second year as part of the ever-growing Shire Sharing operation, and like last year, recipients were grateful for the special delivery!
Darryl W Perry and I were delivering food to other families in a Keene neighborhood and happened to encounter a single mother on her front porch who helpfully gave us directions to a recipient’s apartment. When we later arrived at another recipient’s house, two houses down from her, and knocked on his door, he answered it. We wished him a happy Thanksgiving and offered him the food. He told us to get off the property, so we did. Walking back to the car with the food, the single mother was still on her porch and was more than happy to receive the angry man’s meal instead!
Overall, people were appreciative and some were pleasantly surprised. Shire Sharing is a nice yearly event and I’m glad to have again played a small role in it. Whether the operation can continue to grow beyond 600 families remains to be seen. Regardless, Amanda is ready to carry on in 2016 and was “shocked” and “delighted” about how much she was able to raise this year, which allowed her to feed nearly 2,000 people. Thank you to all who assisted across the Shire.