By APRIL GUILMET
Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY -- The warm hearts of Londonderry’s students have helped keep many of their less fortunate neighbors out of the cold this winter.
Dollar Days, a partnership fundraising campaign between the Londonderry School District and the local Warm Homes charity, raised nearly $3,000. The proceeds will be used toward Warm Homes’ fuel assistance efforts throughout the winter season.
Dollar Days were held within all of the district’s schools from late November through Dec. 17, though donations are accepted for Warm Homes on an ongoing basis.
A division of Londonderry Comforts, the volunteer-driven Warm Homes program aims at assisting as many residents as possible, be it an elderly person struggling to make ends meet, a family coping with serious illness, a professional who has recently lost a job, or a single mom or dad needing just a little extra help.
Recipients are entitled to a one-time delivery of 100 gallons of heating fuel — oil, gas or the equivalent dollar amount towards electric heat or wood. The organization will also refer to other resources for those in need of continued assistance.
According to Warm Homes co-founder Kathy Wagner, the partnership with the school district began around five years ago, and though donations tend to go up and down along with school enrollment, the eventtypically raises around $5,000 for Warm Homes, making it one of its biggest fundraisers of the year.
Though this year’s donation tally wasn’t quite so high, program officials are far from discouraged.
“It’s just a bit less than last year, which, considering the economy, is amazing,” said Karen Robinson, Warm Homes spokesman.
Due to the constant fluctuation of oil prices, Wagner said, it’s difficult to put a head count on the exact number of residents this year’s Dollar Days would help.
However, she noted that Warm Homes had already assisted around 40 households this winter and calls for assistance requests continue to come in.
“The value of this donation from the children of the Londonderry School District is beyond words,” Wagner said. “With the cost of home heating products rising at a rate unseen in years, and with no signs of prices lowering, this will help many families that are in need.”
With that, Wagner urged her fellow residents to follow in the students’ footsteps, and keep watch on neighbors who might be in need.
“If you know of someone that may not be willing to ask for help, please encourage them to call Warm Homes,” Wagner said, noting that all calls made to the charity are completely confidential.
Donations to Warm Homes may be sent to: Warm Homes, P.O. Box 329, Londonderry, New Hampshire 03053.
Those in need of heating assistance this winter are encouraged to call the charity’s “Warm Line” at 232-9131.