Manchester Resident Amanda Bouldin and 20 others deliver 52 food baskets to Needy Families in Concord
CONCORD, N.H.—When Manchester resident Amanda Bouldin wanted to honor the memory of her father who suddenly died this year, she cooked up the idea to run a Thanksgiving week Basket Brigade drive just like the one her dad ran in Carrollton, Texas, a suburb of Dallas.
“I decided to do this because I wanted to honor my dad, Kent Bouldin, who died unexpectedly in April,” Bouldin said. “He had organized a Basket Brigade in Dallas for the last decade or so—it was his passion. A couple months ago it occurred to me that all his friends and coworkers would be doing the Basket Brigade without him this year, even though he’s the one that encouraged them to participate in the first place. I was saddened. Then I got to thinking: ‘I could start my own. Here!’”
At first, Bouldin noted that New Hampshire doesn’t have an outfit participating in the Anthony Robbins Foundation’s International Basket Brigade, and since she just moved to New Hampshire in 2009, she didn’t know where to start looking for help organizing the event. But then she realized that she was already connected with hundreds of people in New Hampshire through the network that brought her here in the first place: The Free State Project.
Free State Project President Carla Gericke advised Bouldin to contact Lutheran Social Services in New Hampshire, which welcomed her idea and with other agencies ultimately connected her to 52 needy Concord families—29 of them refugees from the nation of Bhutan, a country in Southeast Asia. During a period of four hours this past weekend, Bouldin and 20 other volunteers associated with the Free State Project delivered baskets full of holiday cheer to these families, which included 174 people.
“I called some food banks and churches in Manchester to see if they had a charity program, but none would identify who we could help, so I finally called Carla and she set me up with Lutheran Social Services,” Bouldin said. “They were very interested and got me in touch with a woman who works in the refugee department. An English teacher passed around a sign-up sheet in her class for refugees. It was part of their assignment to fill in their name, address, the number of people in their household and their phone number.”
The Free State Project was a perfect fit for the International Basket Brigade, Bouldin said. The project is a movement to attract like-minded people to New Hampshire, where they will work to restore a society in which the maximum role of government is the protection of life, liberty and property. Participants in the movement believe that privately funded charity has a more positive impact on society than government welfare because people who freely give of themselves also benefit from the exchange.
Bouldin, who raised more than $1,000 before heading to the grocery store, worked with Lutheran Social Services to ensure the refugees would receive foods that accommodated their native diets. Vegetarian families received rice, beans, lentils and fresh fruit and vegetables, while about 20 families received a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, including frozen turkeys, aluminum foil, a pan and a recipe. Each bag included cooking oil, butter, eggs, brownie mix, and a pumpkin, cherry or apple pie. Each bag also included a note that read, “This comes to you from someone who cares about you. All we ask is that you take care of yourself well enough to be able to do this for someone else someday.”
About 36 families also received a Free State Project copper round, which is engraved with the project’s mission statement.
“We made a point to put the copper rounds in the refugee baskets, because we felt a special kinship with them,” Bouldin said. “They’ve experienced a government that exceeded its role in their lives, and we’re working to prevent such a government here in New Hampshire. Both the refugees and us Free Staters came here for freedom.
“There were also volunteers who mentioned a parallel with the first Thanksgiving here in America,” she added. “Just like the natives gave food to the immigrants then, now we are the natives giving of ourselves to the new immigrants.”