MANCHESTER – Now in its third year, Shire Sharing fed a record-breaking 1,371 people on the weekend prior to Thanksgiving in the towns of Concord, Manchester, Grafton, Salem and Nashua. Founded in 2011, Shire Sharing is “a collaborative effort among liberty activists to address social ills through voluntary action and private charity. We raise funds, collect goods, coordinate deliveries and connect with our community.”
The all-volunteer organization was founded by Amanda Bouldin, a Free State Project early mover from Dallas, TX. Bouldin’s father died unexpectedly in the spring of 2011, and that fall she decided to honor his memory by replicating his “basket brigade” project of providing a free Thanksgiving dinner to needy families. In its first year, Shire Sharing raised over $1,000 and an anonymous donor provided all of the turkeys. A volunteer team of approximately twenty people went door to door to deliver 174 preassembled holiday meals to impoverished families in Concord.
On Christmas Day 2011 Shire Sharing volunteers delivered 24 backpacks to homeless individuals in Manchester. In January 2012 an additional 27 backpacks were delivered. Each backpack included essentials such as blankets, first aid kits, hats and gloves, personal hygiene items, and hand warmers.
In the spring of 2012 Shire Sharing raised over $500 in less than 24 hours to purchase a new wheelchair for a local liberty activist, a Shire Sharing volunteer and donor who in 2011 had an accidental fall that left her paralyzed.
Shire Sharing set its sights much higher for Thanksgiving 2012, and expanded its reach from Concord to include the towns of Nashua, Weare and Manchester. They delivered meals to about 660 individuals, exceeding their goal of 600 people. A team of over 50 liberty activists turned out to help package and organize all the deliveries; more than a dozen separate cars were used, along with a U-Haul van and a bus.
In a heartfelt thank you message to donors and volunteers, Ms. Bouldin recapped the results of the 2013 Thanksgiving dinner deliver. About 150 volunteers and nearly 100 individual donors teamed up over a period of months to make it possible to provide 373 families from Concord, Manchester, Grafton, Salem, and Nashua with a holiday meal; all in all this amounted to about 1,371 individual people from various backgrounds. Many of the recipients were political refugees. Others were disabled, elderly, single mothers, and peoples of assorted religions. Vegetarian meals were provided to families of cultures who don’t eat meat.
Every bag of food included a colorful note card with the following message handwritten on it:
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.”
“Thank you for daring the freezing cold, the biting winds, to deliver on the day we promised to deliver, instead of staying in your warm homes. Not a single person bailed on the project despite the frostbite-inducing weather. Thank you for making your own private decision to do something that matters, and thank you for working together! This community is overflowing with intelligent, hard-working, reliable, committed and caring individuals. ” said Ms. Bouldin on the Shire Sharing website.