Rochester, NH 1393

Rochester, NH Lodge News

Rochester Elks #1393 Donate $2000 to the Vouchers for Veterans Program

On Wednesday, December 21st, 2022, the Rochester Elks presented a $2000 check to the Vouchers for Veterans Organization. The donation was made possible through an Elks National Foundation Gratitude Grant, awarded to the Rochester Lodge #1393. Gratitude Grants awarded to Elks Lodges must be used to support local charitable activities. For a Lodge to receive this Grant, it must meet or exceed the National President’s per capita goal for Elks National Foundation donations.

Representing the Elks were Matthew Sanborn, Exalted Ruler and Norman Gervais, Past Exalted Ruler, Lodge Secretary and Elks National Foundation Chairman. Representing the Vouchers for Veterans Organization were the following volunteers:  Alan Brock, Ann French, Christine Hounsell, Dolores Booth, Dolly Burnell and Jeanne Grover, President.

The premise and original concept of the VFV program was simple - provide fresh food to Strafford County Veterans in the month of September at the Rochester Farmers Market. The response was so tremendous to the initial offerings that it quickly expanded. Vouchers for Veterans incorporated and became a 501©3 organization in 2018. In 2022, they now provide Maine and New Hampshire Veterans with fresh, locally sourced food 23 weeks out of the year. Not only do Veterans attend the farmers markets to obtain fresh food, many of them attend to socialize with their comrades to have healing, cathartic conversations. In addition, a Military Affairs/Veterans Services Representative is on site to help Veterans with their questions about eligibility of benefits.

This group also purchases gift cards from a local supermarket chain and gives them to vets in need when there are no farmers markets available. In 2022, they ran a “Hand Up” program and provided $20,000 dollars worth of safety approved heaters, propane tanks, bus passes, gift cards and warm coats to struggling, homeless Veterans. Recently, the organization helped a Rochester Veteran who had been burned out of his home. They found him immediate shelter, opened an account at a local credit union for donations and helped this individual find another permanent home. The voucher program has been accessed 3,000 times in 2022.

For more info about this wonderful program, please visit: www.vouchersforveterans.org and to see what the Elks do for their communities, please go their website: www.elks.org

Picture Caption, l to r, Matthew Sanborn, Exalted Ruler, Rochester Elks; Vouchers for Veterans volunteers: Alan Brock, Ann French (front), Christine Hounsell (back), Dolores Booth, Dolly Burnell, Jeanne Grover, President, Norm Gervais, Past Exalted Ruler, Lodge Secretary and ENF Chair, Rochester Elks.