Thanks to the tireless givers

We were saddened to hear of the recent death of Michele Belletete of Jaffrey whose passing serves as a reminder of the many selfless volunteers who live among us. Belletete spent the better part of her adult life helping others, both here an abroad, as a nurse and medical relief worker. She traveled to Haiti, the Dominican Republic and elsewhere multiple times in the service of the destitute and those devastated by natural disasters. Hers was a true calling. It’s people like her, people who find a way to give of themselves in such a way that it touches thousands, creating a ripple effect of unknown proportions, this world needs more of.

It’s been said that the holidays are a time of celebrating and of mourning for those we’ve lost, but we hope it will also be an opportunity for gratitude to the many like Belletete who make the Monadnock region a community of caring for those here at home and all around the world.

The prayer and concern that swept the nation in the wake of the shootings in Newtown, Conn., was here, too. Thursday night, the Rev. David Robins led a vigil at the Peterborough Unitarian Universalist Church, where candles were lit for each of the victims.

Coats, mittens and hats were collected and delivered to New York City after Hurricane Sandy took out power in much of the Northeast in late October. After Rindge Selectman Roberta Oeser took up the cause in her town for the Salvation Army’s relief efforts. Peterborough resident Kerry Close led similar efforts in Peterborough, and she and her mother, Donna Ellis Holmes, even drove the donations to the city.

But it isn’t just when disasters strike that the Monadnock region turns out to help. Local volunteers and pastors recently told us about the many community suppers that take place in our communities, which bring people together for nourishment of body and soul. Ivy Vann and her team from All Saints’ Church in Peterborough have put on a Tuesday night soup and salad supper most weeks, except in August, since September 2007. It’s hard to fathom the sheer dedication and commitment work like that takes.

And every year area churches and their members participate in the Monadnock Region Annual Church World Service Christian Rural Oversees Program Hunger Walk. This year’s was the 35th Annual Monadnock CROP walk. Tom Gundlach of Jaffrey has served as the coordinator of the local walk, which raises an average of $12,000 a year, for the past 10 years. The proceeds benefit Church World Service and nine Monadnock region food banks.

Stories like these are common here in the Monadnock region and yet everyone of them tugs at the heartstrings, and stirs us each in some way. Some of us are inspired to establish beneficial programs of our own, while others are drawn to find more stories such as these to share with the world. However we are called to action, how we answer is what matters.

So this holiday season, we want to thank all the countless people who donate their time, money and their know-how to making the world a better place.

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