Manchester, NH- Benswann.com’s Annabelle Bamforth recently spoke with New Hampshire resident Amanda Bouldin to discuss Shire Sharing, a charity organization founded in 2011 with a mission to deliver hundreds of Thanksgiving meals to needy families in the areas of Manchester, Nashua, Concord, Keene and the Upper Valley.
Bouldin moved to New Hampshire in 2009 as an early participant of the Free State Project. She founded Shire Sharing in honor of her father Kent, who passed away in the spring of 2011. When Amanda was growing up in Texas, Kent had organized a project called Basket Brigade where volunteers delivered meals at Thanksgiving to families in need. Amanda decided to organize her own New Hampshire version of the “Basket Brigade” and launched Shire Sharing about six months after her father’s death as the Thanksgiving season was approaching.
In 2011 Bouldin set up a webpage for donations to the cause. She was able to raise enough money that year to purchase dinners for 52 homes. In 2012, the organization gained momentum and Shire Sharing delivered meals to almost 200 homes. The video below documents the Shire Sharing volunteers in action during the 2012 season.
2013’s effort showed even greater success with nearly 400 homes receiving Thanksgiving meals. Bouldin said that each household has an average of 3.5 people, which equates to at least 1,300 people in the Manchester area being able to enjoy a holiday meal last year.
Bouldin said that the organization is run entirely by volunteers and private donations for expenses such as web hosting for the Shiresharing.org website and buying food for the Thanksgiving baskets. Space to store food and assemble bags is also donated, and a yearly comedy night fundraiser is held to receive additional donations. Bouldin said that the school her daughter attends showed interest in the organization, and will be participating this year by having student volunteers assemble food bags.
Shire Sharing’s efforts illustrate what can be made possible through voluntary action. One impressive aspect of Shire Sharing is that nearly all of the pre-delivery organizing occurs within their Facebook group among the largely self-motivated volunteers. Bouldin, with the help of dedicated volunteers, has utilized the close-knit yet expansive network of liberty activists participating in the Free State Project and other pro-liberty groups to gather the food, assemble food baskets, and travel in cars and buses to deliver the meals. Bouldin said that she reaches out to social service groups in the area to locate families in need.
Bouldin said that while the Shire Sharing Facebook group focuses mostly on delivering Thanksgiving meals there have been smaller fundraising initiatives accomplished, such as raising funds to purchase a wheelchair for a person in need, handing out backpacks filled with warm clothing and first aid supplies to the homeless during the Christmas season, and raising money for a family experiencing a difficult financial situation.
The Facebook group, which now exceeds 500 members, is full of enthusiastic, ambitious volunteers. Shire Sharing’s goal this year is to deliver to 500 homes. Bouldin said that so far about $7,000 has been raised, but at least $10,500 is needed to reach this year’s goal.
To donate online, visit Shire Sharing’s donation page here. For information about volunteering or making a food or cash donation, email ShireSharing@gmail.com.