LACONIA — The Greater Lakes Region Charitable Fund for Children distributed $157,500 in checks to 17 different organizations in a ceremony held at Lakes Region General Hospital Monday morning, Mike Seymour, chairman of the charitable fund which earlier this year took over ownership of the Greater Lakes Region Children’s Auction, said that the funds were distributed to those organizations that are meeting immediate needs of families and children in the Lakes Region.
“It was the 33rd year of the Children’s Auction but our first as an organization owned and operated by the members of the community. It was local people making local decisions. It was a very challenging year, but we saw how generous and committed people in the Lakes Region are to good causes,” said Seymour.
He said that in its first year under the new organization’s leadership the Children’s Auction raised $469,609, the third-highest total ever.
He praised the good work being done by the organizations which received checks and said they reflect the depth of concern and caring which is evident across the entire area.
The largest recipient was the Got Lunch! program of Laconia, which received $33,000, and was started to meet the summer nutrition needs of students in the Laconai schools in 2011.
Paula Gile, associate minister of the Laconia Congregational Church, who helped found the program, said it was inspiring to see how the program became the model for similar programs in 14 or 15 New Hampshire communities, many of them right in the Lakes Region.
“We saw a need to go out there and do something,” said Gile.
Other Got Lunch! Programs to receive funds were Inter-Lakes $6,000, Gilford $5,000, Ashland-Holderness $2,000 and Campton-Thornton, $2,000.
The second largest sum went to the Santa Funds of the Greater Lakes Region, which received $25,000. Saint Vincent DePaul food pantry and thrift shop received $20,000.
The Tilton-Northfield-Sanbornton Christmas Fund received $15,000, which Christine Raffaelly, in her first year at the helm of the charity, said represents about half of the funds raised by the organization.
Other recipients included the Salvation Army, $12,000; the Laconia Police Relief Association, $10,000; the Inter-Lakes Christmas Fund, $7,500; the Lakes Region Food Pantry, $5,000; Health First Family Care Center, $5,000; Christmas Village, $3,000; Hands Across the Table, $2,000; People Investing in Community and Kids (PICK), $1,500 and Operation Warm, a program to provide winter coats to children which is supported by the local firefighters union, $1,500.
The Greater Lakes Region Charitable Fund for Children had received over 60 requests from community organizations for a total of nearly $700,000 in funds.