Lori Hardwick-Way of Francestown collects items for 13 families

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 12/3/2021 4:55:56 PM

Francestown resident Lori Hardwick-Way has volunteered during the holidays for years to help those who are less fortunate get necessities and special items for the season, but this year she is shouldering the task almost entirely on her own.

Previously, she did her work through the Community Church in Francestown, but after it shut down this year due to building issues and the congregation disbanded, that network was gone.

“I just felt there was still a need,” Hardwick-Way said. “So I continue doing it.”

She is gathering food for Christmas baskets and gifts for the Giving Tree for 13 families in Francestown. The baskets will contain food, perishable and non-perishable. The gifts, much like a regular Giving Tree program, will be for the children of the families who signed up. Hardwick-Way will give people interested in buying these gifts the age and sex of the child, and a list of items they want if applicable.

She is seeking community help in gathering these food and gift items, with a deadline of Saturday, Dec. 11 for dropoff.

“I’m really counting on the community to pull together and help me out,” she said. “I could not do any of it without all the people who donate, without everybody in town.”

Hardwick-Way performed a similar service during Thanksgiving, and has been involved in similar programs – including the town’s Welcome Baskets – for years. She introduced the Christmas basket idea to the church’s offerings a few years ago, she said, when she took over the Giving Tree program. 

“I said, ‘Gee, what else could we do to help these folks that would be a little more useful?’” she said. “I remember as a young adult receiving a big box full of foods and holiday treats from my folks when I was a young adult out on my own, and I remember thinking how awesome that was.”

This year, without the church’s support, things have been a little more difficult.

“It’s just me, just trying to get folks to step up and say, ‘What can we do?’” Hardwick-Way said. She has help from her husband and son, she said, who will help her gather donated items and distribute them.

She is also hoping that people will donate gift cards to help her purchase the inevitable items that will be left over once the collecting is done.

“There’s always a lot of running around last minute,” she said.

Despite these difficulties, Hardwick-Way said she is determined to keep these programs going for Francestown.

“I just want to continue to do it because we have a small community,” she said. “Other towns have a much larger need than we do, definitely, but we still have a need, and people tend to overlook that need.”

Plus, Hardwick-Way said, this is simply who she is.

“I’ve always been somebody that just wanted to do for others,” she said. “I don’t know, I just love doing stuff for other people, I love helping. I’ve been down and out before, I know what it’s like not to have things. So this is something I can do to provide a service for the town.”

Hardwick-Way’s Facebook page has lists of items she is requesting, all to be dropped off by Saturday, Dec. 11 at the latest. Anybody interested in donating or reaching out with questions can reach her at lhardwickway@gmail.com. 


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