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Editorial: Giving back during the giving season

Two years ago, we started our Spirit of Giving profile series in an effort to link some of the area’s valuable resources — namely our locally based nonprofits — to our readership. We’ve done this by telling personal stories about the people leading the mission, and those who have been impacted by the services provided. Readers have done the rest, stepping up to offer their own assistance with personal checks sent directly to an organization we profiled. It’s often hard to say exactly how many of the donations came because of a story that appeared on the front page of our paper, but hopefully the increased exposure helps readers in the towns we cover better understand what people are doing behind the scenes to better their own communities.

This year proved to be especially tough when considering which organizations most needed to get the word out, and which would stand to gain the most from some in-depth exposure. Ultimately, we settled on four locally based nonprofit agencies, and we will feature those groups in the next few weeks.

Peterborough Food Pantry: Like all our region’s mission-driven food pantries, this is the time of year when the need is the greatest. This all-volunteer organization serves an estimated 350 households per month from the 18 towns that make up the greater Peterborough area. The food pantry itself is located in the Peterborough Community Center on Elm Street. The site includes a new community garden built under the direction of the Cornucopia Project and represent’s the group’s effort to incorporate locally grown food.

Home Healthcare, Hospice and Community Services: In 1907, the group that would eventually become HCS formed in Peterborough. Now, 105 years later, the organization with offices in Keene and Peterborough is still helping area residents when they are at their most vulnerable. HCS provides home care and hospice services to residents throughout the Monadnock region, and it recently expanded its role by bringing under its guidance a group of Meals-on-Wheels volunteers that has delivered meals to homebound seniors over the past four decades.

Betty J. Borry Breast Cancer Retreats: This nonprofit was founded by Betty Borry, a former assistant principal in Antrim, and continues to thrive in her memory. The program’s volunteers run an adventure-based retreat in Hancock where women diagnosed with breast cancer share their struggles, push themselves physically and ultimately learn what is possible.

Windy Row Learning Center: Based in Peterborough but with a reach across the Monadnock region, this after-school and summer tutoring program helps children with dyslexia reach their full potential. Dyslexia and dyscalculia (the math equivalent of dyslexia) can be overcome by retraining the brain to recognize words, letters and figures, but without proper teaching methods, many of these children will never be able to read beyond a second-grade level.

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