Celebrating the Spirit of “Giving” in the Lakes Region

Lakes Region Towns Stand Out For Their Spirit of Giving

Nestled in the picturesque landscapes of New Hampshire, the Lakes Region stands out not only for its natural beauty but also for the tight-knit communities that thrive within it. The community spirit in this region is palpable, with residents actively participating in various fundraising initiatives that benefit local causes. There are many charitable events, fundraisers, and community outreach programs in our region that help to meet the needs of so many individuals and families in our communities. Practicing real estate in such a vibrant community with so much participation is so rewarding. It was reported in 2022 that Americans gave $499.33 billion to charities; the largest source in this figure was from individuals who contributed $319.04 billion or 64% of total giving. It is interesting to note that according to a report by Century Link, for two consecutive years now (2022 & 2023), New Hampshire has been labeled the #1 state in the country with the most Christmas spirit, based on residents’ attitudes and habits around the holiday season, as published on Newsweek.com. New Hampshire has 9,124 tax exempt organizations, that gives you an idea of the immense support and services provided to families, individuals and causes throughout the state.

Here in our Lakes Region, the largest charity event is the Greater Lakes Region Children’s Auction, which was founded by Warren Bailey 42 years ago. Back when it began, they raised $2,100 and in 2023 they set a fundraising record of $711,495. Included in this year’s figure was a total of $356,456 raised from the Community Challenge, which is the successor of Pub Mania, founded by Allan & Jennifer Beetle, owners of Patrick’s Pub & Eatery.

During the holiday season, one of the great causes the community unites to support is Toys for Tots, a program that ensures every child receives a gift during Christmas. Roche Realty Group is pleased to announce the resounding success of our Toys for Tots Drive, made possible by the incredible generosity and community spirit that defines our supporters.

Pet lovers in the Lakes Region rally behind Funds4Paws, an initiative dedicated to supporting local animal shelters and rescue organizations. Through creative events and campaigns, the community raises funds to provide care, shelter, and medical attention to animals in need. Funds4Paws not only aids our furry friends but also fosters a sense of responsibility and compassion within the community.

The Meredith Rotary Club plays a pivotal role in community service, addressing a variety of local needs. From organizing fundraisers, such as the Greater Meredith Ice Fishing Derby, to supporting educational initiatives and community development projects, the Rotary serves as a beacon of community leadership. Its commitment to the Lakes Region reflects the power of collective action in creating positive change. The Gilford Rotary Club is another example, with their Christmas tree fundraising annually pulling in lots of support.

Mix Cash & Cans, put on by Mix 94.1 FM Radio, is a unique initiative that combines the spirit of giving with a fun and engaging approach. This campaign encourages residents to donate both monetary contributions and non-perishable food items. The collected funds and goods are then distributed to local food banks, ensuring that families facing economic challenges receive the support they need.

Lend a Helping Can, put on by Rock 101 FM, is a grassroots effort that focuses on those in need and the homeless. This initiative emphasizes the importance of neighbors helping neighbors during times of need. In 2022, Lend a Helping Can teamed up with Northwoods Brewery to create a seasonal beer, only available to purchase during the holiday season, with a portion of those beer sales getting donated back to the Lend a Helping Can.

The Fishing Derby is an annual event that not only showcases the region’s love for outdoor activities but also serves as a major fundraiser. Participants come together to enjoy a day of fishing while contributing to causes such as conservation efforts, youth programs, and community development projects. The Fishing Derby is a testament to the Lakes Region’s ability to merge recreation with philanthropy.

The Lakes Region Food Pantry, Interlakes Community Caregivers, the Salvation Army, St. Vincent De Paul, and a multitude of other food pantries throughout the region help those in need of food assistance.

The Carey House (operated by the Salvation Army), the Belknap House, New Beginnings, and the Isaiah 61 Café provide temporary shelter and outreach services to the homeless.

Alex Ray and the Common Man restaurant chain family has given priority to being a cornerstone in our communities. Alex’s mantra, “Do Good,” encourages all his employees to host fundraisers at each location and raise funds for all types of organizations and charities. Alex and the Common Man family also provides a Ukraine Relief Fund with volunteers and humanitarian aid.

P.K. Zyla, a REALTOR® at Roche Realty Group, has used his auctioneer skills to raise funds at 20+ auctions a year for the United Way, NH Humane Society, Cancer Society, Lions Club, Rotary Sled Dogs, and many others.

Kevin Shaw, a Realtor at Roche Realty Group, founded 603 United, a non-profit organization that is an adult extension of Unified Sports (another organization he is involved with). 603 United joins adults 18+ with and without intellectual disabilities together, providing social inclusion activities to build friendships and connection, healthy lifestyles, and understanding in the community.

The Makris family & the Naswa Resort support many charities, including Easterseals, Veterans Count, and the Laconia Fire Department’s Life-Saving Fund.

Lakes Region Community Services is a comprehensive family support agency with a primary focus of providing support to individuals with developmental disabilities and/or acquired brain disorders.

The Make a Wish Foundation organizes many fundraisers to create “life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses.” The Rafting for Wishes Fundraiser on Meredith Bay is one local example.

The New Hampshire Speedway Children’s Charities distributed $131,750 to thirty non-profits throughout New Hampshire this year.

The Lakes Region United Way has been servicing the communities of Central NH since 1957. Their goal has always been to advance the common good through thoughtful and sustainable social investment.

Gilda’s Club NH raised funds at Weirs Beach on Lake Winnipesaukee with teams of 16 paddlers in 40’ canoes racing 200 meters. This charity provides support for those with cancer and their loved ones.

In the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, community spirit is not just a concept but a way of life. The numerous fundraising efforts, from The Children’s Auction to Toys for Tots, highlight the genuine care and concern residents have for each other. Through these initiatives, the Lakes Region has built a legacy of generosity, compassion, and collective action, proving that a community working together can create a positive impact that resonates far beyond its borders.

There are so many other organizations, charities and fundraisers not mentioned in this article that create the fabric of “giving” in our communities throughout the Lakes Region. We are so lucky to be living in such a special place. Happy holidays, and the best of health to everyone in the New Year!

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