Blog : Volunteering

900 Degrees of Giving Back to the Community

By Katelyn | Dec 5, 2015 | in

By Michael McCord

The award-winning 900 Degrees Neopolitan Pizzerias restaurants in Manchester and Epping have already gained recognition for consumer popularity and for leadership in green business practices. But owner Priscilla Lane-Rondeau said that giving back to the community has been a core of the business she started in 2007 and the program of Raising Dough has been a success that has benefited hundreds of large and small organizations.

“The main reason we started it is that it’s wonderful to connect with people who support 900 Degrees everyday,” Lane-Rondeau said. “It’s one of the cool things about owning a restaurant, the ability to give back to the community on a whole new level.”

Recently, 900 Degrees hosted an evening fund-raiser in Epping for the Mark Kay Foundation, the national organization which was founded in 1996 and dedicated to eliminating women’s cancers and domestic abuse. The organization has awarded more than $60 million to various programs over the past two decades. Though the 900 Degrees proceeds for the event were modest in comparison, Lane-Rondeau said that the reasons for all the events boil down to simple formula.

“We raise awareness and money for great causes and our customers have a great time and a great meal,” she said. “So many groups have reached out to us and they are usually over the moon with how the events have turned out. They have really taken charge with publicity and spreading the word.”

The Blue Ocean Society to Host Beach Clean-Ups Throughout the Seacoast

By Katelyn | Sep 16, 2015 | in

Fall is approaching quickly, but there’s still plenty of time to get outdoors and hit the beach. On Saturday, September 19, join Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation and volunteers from across the seacoast for the New Hampshire Coastal Cleanup.

Blue Ocean Society is a non-profit organization, based in Portsmouth, working to protect marine animals in the Gulf of Maine through education, research, and conservation to both adults and students. Blue Ocean Society organizes the New Hampshire Coastal Cleanup in conjunction with the International Coastal Cleanup now in its 30th year.

This year’s cleanup will be conducted at approximately 25 sites along the New Hampshire coastline, and volunteers are needed to assist from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. During the cleanup, each piece of trash collected is recorded, and the data is used to implement city and state projects to reduce waste on New Hampshire beaches.

Last year, the event was successful with more than 1,120 volunteers cleaning 26 miles of New Hampshire’s coastlines and waterways. Volunteers collected 2,207 pounds of trash and the most common item collected was cigarette butts, of which more than 25,000 were collected. Jen Kennedy, Director of Blue Ocean Society said she is hoping for a larger volunteer turn out to make this year the most successful New Hampshire cleanup yet.

The Kittery Community Market Seeks Volunteers for the Summer

By Katelyn | May 18, 2015 | in

The Kittery Community Market is a weekly outdoor farmers' market for local farmers, fishermen, artisans, food producers and citizens in collaboration with the Kittery Maine Improvement Foundation; a not-for-profit corporation incorporated in the State of Maine. Their the goal to provide healthy, fresh foods, horticultural products, local prepared foods and local artisans' work to Kittery, Maine and surrounding areas, and to encourage commerce, entertainment, and trade.

This summer, the Kittery Community Market will be held each Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. from June 7 to October 4 at 10 Shapleigh Rd, Post Office Square in Kittery. In order to make the market a success and impact as many people as possible, the Kittery Community Market is seeking volunteers to help with all aspects of making the day run smoothly.

Gundalow Gatherings: One Night. Many Events. Hundreds of Stories

By Corey | Mar 31, 2015 | in

For one night, experience delightful foods and drinks of the seacoast and engage in maritime conversation at The Gundalow Company's 4th Annual Gundalow Gatherings event. On April 25th, attendees of this fundraising event will have the difficult task of choosing between nine dinner locations in Portsmouth, Kittery, and York. Gundalow Gatherings is this non-profit's largest fundraising event of the entire year, with last year's dinners being sold out and tickets quickly snatched. All the proceeds support the Gundalow Company's 2015 education programs which have supported the education of the Seacoast's maritime history through their many events.

Founded in 2002, the Gundalow Company continues to aim to connect residents of the Seacoast and beyond with the historic icon of river commerce, while instilling a sense of environmental stewardship for the Pisataqua region's waterways. With the addition of the Piscataqua gundalow being built in 2011, the Gundalow Company has provided a floating classroom for schools and youth groups. Each year, Gundalow hosts over 100 field trips for over 2,000 students on the Piscataqua. Their educational programs are designed to teach the value of environmental stewardship and provides community outreach aimed to raise environmental awareness. Children who participate in their maritime learning activities allow for them to engage in hand-on learning on the tidal rivers of New Hampshire and southern Maine. Activities include interactive learning stations covering human impact, sense of place and investigative science on the water, as well as sailing concepts incorporating math and engineering for older students. Gundalow also offers a variety of special sails including concerts, lectures, private charters, and free trips for kids on Saturday mornings. 

Think About Giving Back This Holiday Season

By Patrick Haigis | Dec 17, 2014 | in

The holidays aren't only about getting together with friends and family and exchanging presents, they are also about helping out those in need. If you are available in the coming weeks we urge you to help out and spread the holiday spirit at St. John's Episcopal Church and Crossroads House.

St. John's Episcopal Church is looking for volunteers to help out with their weekly Common Table Food Ministry. The meal is served each Thursday (excluding Christmas) from 12:00 - 1:00 p.m. They are also accepting food and clothing donations to provide for those in need. Call 603-436-8283 or email administrator@stjohnsnh.org for more information on how to help!

Blue Ocean Society Coastal Cleanup

By Madalyn | Sep 11, 2014 | in

The Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation is holding the 28th Annual International Coastal Cleanup on Saturday, September 20 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. The Coastal Cleanup will take place at approximately 25 different sites along the New Hampshire coastline focusing on trash removal and maintaining wildlife habitats.

The International Coastal Cleanup is the largest one-day, worldwide volunteering event of its kind. The Blue Ocean Society is thrilled to host the cleanup for another year, and has helped coordinate the New Hampshire Coastal Cleanup since 2005. Blue Ocean Society strives to spread awareness about the marine environment and the importance of properly disposing of trash. Blue Ocean Society has strong stance on refuse materials: items such as trash, plastic, and other manmade refuse have a much bigger impact on the coastal envrionment than we can possibly imagine. The trash debris that is removed during the cleanup is potentially harmful to surrounding populations of wildlife and people. 

Charting the Ocean: Blue Ocean Society Discover NH Sea Life

By Sam | Sep 4, 2014 | in

By Ali Plankey

The ocean is a vast mystery. Marine naturalists Jen Kennedy and Dianna Schulte watched as the ocean – which makes up 70 percent of the Earth - was polluted and littered, overfished, and slowly degraded, until they could no longer sit back and consciously let the destruction continue. In 2001, they set out to raise awareness about local ocean life.

Kennedy and Schulte founded the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation and made it their own personal missions to protect marine mammals in the Gulf of Maine. With the power of education they have slowly, but steadily, increased research and conservation efforts in the Gulf of Maine.

“We wanted to start the Blue Ocean Society so we could produce our own data, and have an outreach component, really try to get that data to the public in as close to real time as possible,” says Kennedy.

Travis Aho Benefit Yard Sale

By Magill | Aug 6, 2014 | in

On July 26th, Ultra Geothermal worked with the Green Alliance to host a Yard Sale to Benefit the Travis Aho Leukemia Fund. After lots of hard work and dedication, Melissa Aho, owner of Ultra Geothermal, announced that they raised a total of $1080 for her brother Travis. Melissa and family collected many donations from friends and business partners and set them up the previous day in preparation for an early 7 a.m. start to the yard sale. Many Green Alliance members came to donate items for the yard sale in response to the Green Alliance's promotion of the event. There were lots of childrens clothes donated along with furniture and other odds and ends. One local who came by to shop claimed that the yard sale was full of treasures and she couldn't believe they were still there. The yard sale was a great way to help the environment through recycling in addition to helping Travis in his struggle with Leukemia.

Big Brothers Big Sisters Little Match Up

By Ali | Jun 27, 2014 | in

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the seacoast area have devoted themselves to matching children to volunteers, fund raising, and giving the children that come to their facility the attention and education that they need. They have school based programs in over twelve school districts throughout New Hampshire’s coast. BBBS promises to never charge a fee to the families in need. All of their fundraising goes immediately into making more matches, and providing for the matches they already have.

Since just last year BBBS has expanded and are serving 20 percent more children. As a result of their hard work and dedication they have been nominated by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America to receive Agency of the Year! Because of the BBBS community of volunteers, donors, families and friends they are making a difference in the lives of children—for the better, forever.

Melanie Sachs, Get it Going's Latest GiGStar

By Magill | Jun 5, 2014 | in

Get it Going is recognizing Melanie Sachs, child advocate and SASS 5K participant as their latest GiGStar!  Mel had a life changing interview at a young age that inspired her to make the best of a bad situation and “Get it Going” by becoming deeply involved in child advocacy and charity work.  After being sexual abused, Mel was interviewed by a woman named Kristie P. who helped her through the traumatizing experience and taught her that the abuse did not define her.  This meeting changed Mel’s life and sparked a desire to help other victims so they too could overcome their nightmares.  Mel is a recent graduate from Keene State and her work at the Child Advocacy Center has led her to become a certified member of the AmeriCorps Victim Assistance Program.  She is currently supporting survivors at A Safe Place, in Salem NH. 

Recently, her dedication to community involvement has pushed her to run her first ever 5K!  Prior to training Mel had never run a full mile without stopping but for abuse survivors she was willing to literally go the extra mile.  On June 8th she will be running the SASS’ 5K to Keep Kids Safe.  One of Mel’s closest friends who has been training with her for the 5K says, “She does so much for so many different causes.  Mel motivated me to sign up for the SASS 5K, and now I’ve discovered that I love running.  She is such a positive and uplifting person.”  Get it Going is inspired by Mel’s story of hope and her positive impact on the community and they hope her advocacy work will encourage others to get involved.  

Help Community Toolbox Keep Homes Safe and Healthy

By Madelaine | Apr 15, 2014 | in

PORTSMOUTH — Community Toolbox is non-profit organization dedicated to helping homeowners keep their homes safe and healthy. Its outlet store accepts donations of new and used home and building supplies to sell at discounted prices. The store’s revenue funds its “Fix-It program,” which allows volunteers to complete home repairs for people in need.

The Fix-It program assists those who need important home repairs but may not be able to afford services from another company. With Community Toolbox, clients only need to pay for the products used in the repair. Volunteers donate their time and skills to complete the projects.

There are many ways to help Community Toolbox’s effort. Volunteer positions are open for those who want to donate their time and skills to working on home improvement projects in local homes. Cash and in kind donations are another way to help out. The average cost for a home repair is $400. Any amount to help defray that cost will make a big difference to a homeowner. You can submit a tax-deductible donation by mail or online. In kind donations include building materials, supplies, or services. These can be directly used for home repairs, and reduce costs for homeowners.

Profile of a Little waiting to be matched

By Madelaine | Mar 20, 2014 | in

The Big Brother Big Sisters of the Greater Seacoast's mission is to provide children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported 1-to-1 relationships with adults that change the children’s lives for the better, forever. Each month, they highlight a child who is on their Waiting List.

Craig is 15 years old and lives in Rochester. He is involved in ROTC and band at school, enjoys music, going to concerts, reading, wrestling, camping, hiking, and likes animals. Craig was referred to our program through our partnership with My Breast Cancer Support, as his mom was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago. Craig lives with his mom and dad. He has on older brother, who is a drug addict, and currently lives out of the home, as he is not the best influence. Mom had a Big Sister growing up and really enjoyed it. She feels that Craig could benefit from some support outside of the family. Craig says he would like a Big Brother because he has a hard time talking with most males in his life. There has been a lot of stress in his life over the past few years, so Craig is looking forward to having someone to talk to and try new things with. 

Bowl for Kids' Sake 2014

By Madelaine | Feb 18, 2014 | in

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Seacoast has been serving our community for 35 years. It believes that every child can benefit from the attention and understanding of a caring adult. It matches at-risk children with carefully screened volunteers to mentor them. It believes that all children can succeed, and it provides the tools to help them along the way. Mentors provide support for kids to do better in school, avoid risky behaviors, and professional guidance.

BBBS provides the community with many opportunities to get involved and help its cause. One of its signature fundraising campaigns is Bowl for Kids Sake. This year it is adding even more dates, times, and locations to choose from. Teams, individuals, donors, and sponsors are all welcome to get involved. Groups can include up to six participants. Once you get your group together, you can register online and start raising money. After you’ve registered your team and begun raising funds, you will be invited to a bowling party as a thank you. The celebratory party will include free bowling, food, beverages, and a Bowl for Kids’ Sake t-shirt.

With Lamprey Energy, Simply Green Finds Bigger Community Footing

By Jim Cavan | Jan 31, 2014 | in

As December’s record-setting blizzard reached maximum impact in cities and towns throughout the Northeast, down on the Seacoast of New Hampshire and Maine, Simply Green drivers remained on task, ensuring that heating fuel got to the people who needed it.

Launched in 2007, Simply Green Biofuels has long been at the forefront of providing bio-based home-heating options to area residents and businesses. In the process they have kept millions of pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

Now, after partnering with Lamprey Energy in early January, Simply Green’s well-worn efforts have taken on another, equally important, form: giving back to the community.

Star Island Corporation, the Music Hall, Blue Ocean Society, Strawbery Banke, Angel Walk for Wishes, the Gundalow Company, North Hampton Public School – the list of Lamprey-Simply Green’s beneficiaries is a who’s-who of local non-profit organizations, historical societies, charitable initiatives, and environmental groups.

For Guy Marshall, President and Owner of Lamprey Energy and Simply Green, both companies’ commitment to community is inextricably linked with their local-business practices.

“One of the things we tell potential customers of both Simply Green and Lamprey is that we do know they have a choice: they can buy local and see their dollars stay put in the community or they can save a few cents and profit the big out-of-state companies,” says Marshall. “It’s like choosing between shopping downtown in Portsmouth, Exeter, Newmarket, or going to the big box stores at the mall. You can use Irving or Downeast but where’s your money going? How much of it is staying here?”

Perhaps nowhere is this confluence of community and business more pronounced than on Star Island. The second largest—and most visited—of New Hampshire’s Isles of Shoals, Star Island has spent the better part of the last two years making its handful of amenities more sustainable.

Cuzin Richard Spearheads 13th Comedy Benefit

By Jim Cavan | Jan 24, 2014 | in

They say that laughter is the best medicine, but for two Seacoast nonprofit organizations, it can also make for a fantastic fundraiser.

On Valentine’s Day, comedian Michael McDonald and Cuzin Richard Entertainment Associates (CREA) will host the 13th Annual Comedy Xxtravaganza at the Music Hall in Portsmouth.

A percentage of the proceeds from the show will benefit a pair of local causes: the Seacoast Family Food Pantry and Cross Roads House, a transitional shelter and outreach center for individuals and families.

McDonald, who returns for his 12th straight year at the show’s helm, highlights an impressive cast of nationally renowned comedians including Tony V, Mike Whitman, and Dave Rattigan.

If the last dozen events are any indication, the Xxtravaganza is sure to be as successful at selling tickets as they are providing much-needed boosts – moral as well as financial – to two organizations that genuinely need it.

“Basically, it’s like having seasons tickets for the Green Bay Packers – the only way to get in is if someone dies,” says Mike McDonald, who has headlined the show since its initial incarnation. “There’s definitely a loyal fanbase that turns out, the comics are all top-notch, and it’s all for a good community cause.”

Asked if hosting the show on Valentine’s Day will hinder attendance, McDonald is unequivocal.

“Whether it’s Valentine’s Day or any other occasion – what’s better than giving someone an experience you both can share?” McDonald posits “Nothing says I love you more than comedy. It certainly beats gas station roses.”

As for the show itself, McDonald says this year’s lineup was built with a single goal in mind: to knock it out of the park from the second the stage lights flash.

“We tried to put together a lineup that, top to bottom, is going to rip it up,” he says.

Dave Rattigan – another of the event’s headlining acts – is looking forward to collecting some money of his own.

"Portsmouth is one of my favorite places and the Music Hall is a fantastic place to see a show, or perform in," said Rattigan. "I especially love performing with Tony V., because he owes me money and this will be another chance to collect."