The Self-Expression and Leadership program project of Wendy Beetle, a resident of Laconia in New Hampshire's Lake's region, was recently covered by the Citizen of Laconia Newspaper. Her project led to increased support of goods, volunteerism and money to the local Salvation army.
Give 5 Drive Supports Families
August 31, 2008 – Laconia, NH
What started out as an assignment for a Landmark Education leadership course for Wendy Beetle ended up making a huge impact on families.
Like others in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, Beetle donated outgrown clothes, household items and toys over many years to the Salvation Army Thrift Store. She had never realized how much the donations helped her neighbors. Yet after reading a news article about the Carey House, the only homeless shelter in Belknap County which offers temporary shelter to homeless families and individuals, she learned that proceeds from the Thrift Store extend to individuals served by the Salvation Army's Carey House, Food Pantry, Friendly Kitchen, and summer camp.
Beetle wanted to support parents who were not sure where they would get their next meal or where their children would be sleeping at night – some sleep in a car or outside in the cold weather. Her goal was to make a long lasting difference in the community.
That focus led Beetle to start what later was called the Give 5 Drive.
The Give 5 Drive was Beetle's way to help others become aware of the Thrift Store, the merchandise it offered and how donations benefit others in the community.
She took her goal to another level, thinking, "Everyone has at least five things they could donate — clothing, household items, toys, volunteer hours, or cash."
"I can help others realize that giving doesn't always mean reaching into your pocket, but they could donate by simply cleaning a closet or volunteering a few hours to hang donated clothing."
After developing a coupon book to promote the Give 5 Drive and receiving donations from family members and friends, Beetle tallied the results. More than 1,200 items, 60 volunteer hours and more than $350 in cash donations were donated to the Thrift Store in just six weeks.
Butch Taggart and his family and coworkers at Osram Sylvania donated more than 350 items. Taggart said, "It was so easy to make this happen. I just showed the coupon book to family, friends and co-workers, and they all wanted to help. They offered things they didn't need but were too good to throw away. And Wendy's drive started a wave that will continue to get more donations later."
Thrift Store Manager Joel Merritz has seen an influx of new customers as well as an increase in the number and quality of donations. Merritz noted, "The store has undergone many changes over the past few months. I encourage everyone to stop by and find a bargain, while helping those who are served by the Salvation Army."
To donate, shop, volunteer or otherwise get involved, call 603-528-1358 or go to the Thrift Store at 36 Rowe Court, off Court Street, next to Winnisquam Printing. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 am to 5 pm.