Soldiers Helpers

 

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serving those who serve since 2003

Chris and Alice Greenleaf, Founders
21 Fox Lane, Rochester, NH 03867
pudgyaunt99@aol.com ---- 603-781-4195

Soldiers Helpers In New England, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax exempt charitable organization

WE HAVE RECENTLY HAD A PERSON DUPLICATE OUR WEBSITE - THIS IS THE OFFICIAL SOLDIERS HELPERS WEBSITE

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Who We Are

In November 2003, about a dozen people in the small town of Milton, NH, got together to sign Christmas cards at a little restaurant called the “Ding-a-Ling”, which was owned by Judy Vachon.  Judy spent many hours putting a candy cane and yellow ribbon on the envelope of each card. We had the name of one sailor on the Nimitz and he agreed to pass cards out to his fellow sailors. We mailed about 1000 cards to the ship. The following year we met a member of the Army National Guard from New Jersey whose father had served with Alice’s under Patton in the Battle of the Bulge. He put us in touch with his Chaplain, who oversaw a local Iraqi orphanage that was run by nuns. Most of the children had severe disabilities. That Christmas we mailed items and cards to the soldiers and also items to the Chaplain for the orphans. By having contact with a chaplain we could mail religious items that he could put out in their "chapel" for his troops to take if they desire. Chaplain Ducharme spread the word about our help and we started to receive names of soldiers and other chaplains who needed items and letters. Sometimes the soldiers are far from a PX or they do not have the money to purchase basic items that they need, so they depend on these care packages. We have small mailings going out on a continuous basis and several large mailings each year. A dozen volunteers has turned into 200+ helpers. Not all of them give at any one time, but all have given in one way or another.

We send many homemade items to the troops. We have several groups who knit stocking caps, scarves, and slippers. Groups also make sand scarves and cool ties (for the summer months). Some of the other handmade items are no sew blankets, wheelchair or walker bags which are sent to the military hospitals, the VA hospitals and nursing homes, as well as veterans homeless shelters. One of the more popular handmade items that we send to all chaplains are cross in the pockets. The soldiers take them on missions, and it lets them know that someone at home is thinking of them and praying for them.  

We have a large letter writing group. Every 2-3 weeks a new list is sent out. Names are received from relatives, friends and the chaplains.  

We work with Cell Phones for Soldiers. We collect old cell phones and, in turn, these phones are recycled or refurbished and phones cards are purchased with that money and then we can provide the chaplains and soldiers with the phone cards. These are a much needed item, so our brave men and women can stay in touch with their friends and loved ones.  

Alice also belongs to a group called “Heaven’s Heroes”. They write condolence letters to the families of the fallen. It is very humbling to receive a thank you note for a short letter and a cross in the pocket from someone who has lost a loved one in the war.

Several years ago we started asking people to save their pennies or loose change because most are hard pressed to donate large sums of money. We are still very “small town” oriented and we depend on these small donations. The Quincy College Chapter of Gamma Beta Pi Society has donated over $300 in pennies three years in a row! We also have several veterans groups that donate money to us for shipping. We also raise money throughout the year with small fundraisers, raffles, and sale of our handmade patriotic items. 

We provide our chaplains with any items they may need for their worship services and to help them help the troops. We have provided them with items for the altar, books for their Bible studies, many handmade items, as well as lots of religious cards and pamphlets. 

We distribute beanie babies and other small patriotic items to the veterans’ homes and to homeless veterans. We also donate phone cards to these groups as needed and any hats or scarves that are not the correct color to send overseas.  

We also work with Holy Joe’s Café to provide the chaplains with all the coffee and coffee makers that they need. It is a great organization based out of a church in Connecticut. 

We have been providing light refreshments for a number of events, such as parades, deployments and homecomings. We also help out at special events at the NH Veterans Cemetery and other military or veteran events that can use our help.  

For the past 3 years, we have held fundraisers to purchase baseball caps for all the WWII veterans who go on the Honor Flight New England trip to Washington, DC. We also provide refreshments to the guardian classes for this group. It is very rewarding to see the veterans so excited about their trip to see the WWII memorial. They definitely deserve this trip.  

In January 2011, Chris and Alice were honored by the Celtics as a recipient of the Heroes Among Us award. But this award does not belong to us. It belongs to all our helpers. We could never do all we do without them. This is a group effort we are all very committed to our soldiers and vets and we try to show them how much we care about them and that they are in our thoughts and prayers.

Our group has grown considerably since those days at the Ding-a-Ling in 2003, but we always need more volunteers. If you can help in any way, please contact us via the form on the contact page or by email (pudgyaunt99@aol.com).  Thank you very much, Alice and Chris Greenleaf, Soldiers Helpers

On the Events page you will find many pictures featuring the events we have attended and participated in over the years.  The pictures also highlight many of the other items mentioned above.

The article below was published in the Rochester Times in late 2004.  It tells a lot about our humble beginnings.

 

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