Show some love to your community

Valentine’s Day, romantic love, and all that goes with it – candy, flowers, and cards – is no doubt the focus in February.     

But in addition to spending time with your sweetheart, why not show your community some love by volunteering or donating to an organization that’s making life better for children and families? There’s no better way to beat the winter doldrums than by getting involved or attending a fun fundraising event to give a few Granite State groups some TLC. After all, love makes the world go round.

CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) represents the best interests of abused and neglected children in the court system. CASA is always in need of volunteers who can be a child’s voice during the most difficult time of their young life. It also holds fundraisers throughout the year including the 19th annual Snowfest at Loon Mountain on Feb. 1 and On Tap for CASA on March 23, a 12-hour team challenge with activities and games.

The New Hampshire Food Bank feeds the hungry 365 days a year. In addition to volunteering or donating food, you can get your family, friends and co-workers together to organize a community food drive. Don’t miss one of its biggest fundraisers of the year March 11 – the Steel Chef Challenge, a local chef competition hosted by the Food Network’s Alex Guarnaschelli. Also this month, Goodwill Northern New England will collect non-perishable food donations at their New Hampshire stores for the food bank.

Donate to or shop at OutFITters Thrift Store in Manchester. All proceeds go to support Families in Transition-New Horizons, a nonprofit that provides hunger relief, affordable housing, and services to homeless families and individuals. OutFITters Thrift Store sells new and gently used furniture, housewares, books and clothing for the whole family.

The Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire helps more than 2,200 cats, dogs, and small animals each year. The ARLNH also employs one of only three shelter-based Animal Cruelty Investigators in the state and offers low-cost spay/neuter clinics. Donate, volunteer or attend one of its many events, including Bunny Yoga, a 90-minute yoga class where you will be joined by fuzzy, cute adoptable bunnies on Feb. 22.  

The American Red Cross is at the forefront of disaster relief – whether it is on a large scale, like helping those affected by hurricanes and floods, or on a smaller scale when a family loses their home to fire. Make an appointment to give blood or go to a blood drive. In February, drives are being held in Manchester, Nashua, Portsmouth, Keene, Laconia and Concord, and more.

Also don’t miss the following events raising money for great causes:

Pink in the Rink, Feb. 9: The Manchester Monarchs and Catholic Medical Center are again teaming up to support CMC’s Breast Care Center. Join CMC as the Manchester Monarchs take on the Cincinnati Cyclones while raising breast cancer awareness. Proceeds benefit CMC’s Breast Care Center.

8th annual Pink Ride, Feb. 9: The Pink Ride is an annual fundraising snowmobile ride and event hosted by the Hollis Nor’Easters, which brings together snowmobile clubs and trail users to ride on southern New Hampshire trails. Proceeds benefit the St. Joseph Hospital Breast Care Center.

Battle of the Badges Hockey Championship, March 16: Teams of police officers and firefighters will face off for CHaD kids at SNHU Arena in Manchester on March 16. Proceeds benefit kids who receive care at Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

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