Supporting Toys for Tots


Fallon’s Furniture on Daniel Webster in Merrimack is a drop off for Toys for Tots donations.

The Christmas season is upon us and for many this is a busy, and often chaotic, time of year. Though many look forward to the holidays, there are a great number of children and families that simply do not have the resources to make it special. Instead, the holidays are stressful for those already in need, and serve as a stark reminder of the degree of their hardships.

You can change that though.

Many of us find it hard to think at length about children in need of anything – food, housing, clothing, books, and toys – because it is depressing and a lot of people just do not know specifically how they can make it better. The good news is that there is much the average person can do to help bring joy to the lives of kids in need. Today I am focusing on one organization in particular: Toys for Tots.

Toys for Tots was founded in 1947 in California. The following year, the United States Marine Corps took over the organization and expanded its reach by turning it into a nationwide campaign that operated out of Reserve Centers. It was, and still is, a community driven collection and distribution effort aimed at helping children. Currently, Philanthropy 400 considers Toys for Tots a top-tier charity. In the past couple of years alone, the organization has continued to set new records for itself with regard to donations, and children helped through its activities.

In 2015, Toys for Tots reported in their Annual Report that the organization served 7 million children and distributed approximately 18 million toys. Local campaigns spanned 782 communities throughout all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and Puerto Rico. However, due to the vast need for toys, the organization spent more than it planned to help those in need: 10 million dollars more, to be exact.

Fortunately, through continued donations and assistance from anyone willing to help, Toys for Tots keeps collecting and distributing toys to kids, but they need our help to keep up with the increasing numbers of children in need of this assistance. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Donate money to the cause, and encourage others to donate as well, by clicking on the organization’s donation page located here. This is the easiest thing you can possibly do because you do not have to purchase a toy and drop it off at a local drop location.
  2. Donate toys by identifying local campaigns. Click here to find the local campaigns closest to you.
  3. Host a local Toys for Tots event through a local campaign.
  4. Use social media and other resources to spread the word and encourage those you know to help if possible.

If you live in the Southern New Hampshire region you may drop off toys any day of the week at the Bedford Police Department, located at 55 Constitution Drive in Bedford, NH. A search of the local campaigns in the above link provides information on additional drop off locations.

Money is tight for many of us around the holidays, but Toys for Tots offers a wonderful opportunity to help children in a way that brings them hope and joy. You can make a difference in the simplest of ways and you may contribute to this cause to the extent possible, given your budget. Every donation makes a difference and so I hope you will consider supporting Toys for Tots, and other charitable organizations, this holiday season.

Merrimack PD Food Drive


Merrimack Police Department’s annual food drive

Each year, the Merrimack Police Department coordinates a food drive to help Merrimack residents in need of food. The drive begins in November and runs through the end of the year. All food donations collected at the four different drop off locations are donated to the Merrimack Food Pantry.

Please consider making a contribution to this worthy cause. Small and large donations are greatly appreciated. The Police Department accepts donations of food items at the following locations:

The Merrimack PD

Merrimack Highway Garage

Merrimack’s Transfer Station

Hairthirium (in the Harris Pond Mall)

If you have questions about the food drive, or making a donation, please contact Sgt. Gregory Walters at 603-424-3774.

Helping Troops for the Holidays

With Veterans Day right around the corner, some in New Hampshire might be wondering what they can do to provide help or assistance for those serving our country. One easy way to help is to attend various packing events coordinated each year by Operation Care for Troops, or make donations to fund packages and shipping associated with the events. The organization, based in Nashua, is a non-profit geared toward helping soldiers.

Currently the organization reports they have enough volunteers this year for their November packing event, but are still looking for people interested in participating in their February event, as well as subsequent events occurring throughout 2017. A calendar describing the dates and activities associated with the next event may be found on their website by clicking on this link.

Operation Care for Troops offers other ways to help troops besides the packing events, such as asking volunteers to write letters of support and encouragement to soldiers and units. The organization maintains a goal of including 4 to 6 letters inside each individual package and this so they are always in need of more people to write letters. Additionally, people may donate money toward the costs associated with items included in the packages and for shipping. Those wanting to help on a longer term basis may even adopt a soldier or unit.

A little time or money goes a long way toward helping others and so if you are looking for opportunities that are reasonable in terms of time and cost, this one is a good fit. For more on this non-profit organization’s mission, opportunities, contact information, and needs please visit their website at


Help Jackson Cote of Merrimack, NH – critically injured in bike accident

jackson picture of cast signingI am writing this to tell you about a boy and his family that need your help. Originally, we (this includes the Cote Family who started the gofundmepage, Tammy Peavey, and I) created an event page which proved successful in a manner of days, but was “private” and so many could not see it or join it. We have remedied that by starting a regular Facebook page that is open to the public as we want to reach more people willing to help. An event to visit him on the 30th has been coordinated at Crotched Mountain Rehab, 1 Verney Road
Greenfield, NH 03047, between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m.

The link to the page is here:

At a minimum we only ask that you “like” the page (The “Like” button is close to the top right of the page next to the “Send Email”) to show your support. However, there are other ways you may help as well, such as sending virtual or real messages of support (I will include more about these options below). Before I delve into how you may help, if you choose, please allow me tell you what happened to Jackson so you may understand the gravity and severity of his situation.

On June 28th, 13 year old Jackson was riding his bike home from the library when he was struck by an SUV. This was not a minor event. Though he wore a helmet, the force of the impact caused him to bounce off the vehicle and slam onto the concrete. His helmet was shredded. However, that was just the beginning of his ordeal. When you finish reading this (and I ask that you please do), you will be amazed he is even still alive. We are looking for any support we can get to help with medical bills and his morale.

Immediately after the accident, Jackson was med flighted to Mass General Hospital in Boston where he remained in critical condition and was kept in the Pediatric ICU for one week. He then was transferred to the pediatric unit for another few days. He is now in a rehab facility, but he has a long and tough road ahead of him.

During medflight, emergency personnel worked diligently to manage Jackson as his blood pressure was dropping to dangerously low levels. Some of the injuries Jackson endured include, but are not limited to: Fractures in both of his arms, his elbow detaching from his arm completely, two broken knees, a femur that snapped in half, contusions to his lungs, heart, spleen, and liver, a broken nose, broken teeth, nerve damage, and more. When his bike broke it caused a laceration on in his groin that was so deep it barely missed his femoral artery.

We need your help and there are many options that I will outline below. We would be grateful for any support at all because the family did not want to burden others with their emotional and financial burdens as a result of this accident, but they need our help. Jackson needed oxygen for a week, multiple blood transfusions, and thus far has undergone two major surgeries that each took four hours to complete. The gist of this is the medical expenses are significant, but so is the emotional toll this is taking on his family.

Jackson recently was transferred to a rehabilitation facility and must use a wheel chair to get around; However, with long term, painful, and consistent PT and OT he is likely to someday walk again. Throughout this ongoing ordeal, the family has incurred significant costs to ensure Jackson receives proper care. His road to recovery will be a long and difficult one, but every single person reading this now has the power to show support, such as:

1. Click “like” near the top of the community Facebook page, share the page with others, and/or leave a positive note on the page. You may also reach out using the contact button at the top and next to the “like” button.

2. Donating money (no matter how much or how little) to his gofundme account here:

3. Spread the word about Jackson and his plight in any way you can.

4. Send a card, postcard, or letter to him at this address:

Crotched Mountain Rehab
1 Verney Road
Greenfield, NH 03047
ATTN: Jackson Cote

Jackson needs to know we care. I cannot express how grateful his family and Jackson would be for any support you can provide – no matter how big or small.

pic on event page

THANK YOU to all that have provided assistance and to any that will going forward.

We have  private Facebook event going, but because it is private we found it limiting in terms of sharing with others.


Here are some pictures and messages left on the private event page for those that cannot view them.

pics on event page

Below is the activity and comments from the private page. We are shifting to the community page because event is limiting in terms of who can access it and how long we may run it.


Messages left on private event page for Jackson and his family!

Angela Figueroa Whiton

Stay strong Jackson! Wishing you a speedy recovery:)

Chanin Magill Peyton

I was so sorry to hear about your accident. Best wishes from Mrs. P (and Scott and Andrew) for a rapid recovery!
Amy Brodeur Niezrecki

Best wishes for continued amazing recovery and strength. Amy and Anna Niezrecki

Tammy Peavey

We’ll be visiting you again soon Jackson! Keep getting stronger!


Melissa Higgins

Jackson, thinking about you every day and hoping you are on your way to healing as quickly as possible even though I know it may seem sometimes like a long and unending journey. There are better times to come. I’ve lived long enough to know that even when it seems life will never get better, it always does.


Tammy Peavey

Great words Melissa!!



Betsy Schartner Schalk

Sending Jackson prayers for his recovery. My daughter goes to school with Jackson and sends her thoughts and prayers as well. You got this, stay strong!



Melissa Cote

JUL 30


Come visit Jack!

Sat 10 AM · Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center · Greenfield

Betsy Schartner Schalk

I will see if we can go.

Sean Powers

Can you all share Melissa’s link to get kids going?


Tammy Peavey

If anyone was having issues with the gofundme site not working earlier, it should be all set now! Thanks so much for letting me know! Thank you all for the generous well wishes, cards, and donations for Jackson. It has been amazing!



Karen Kieltyka Brown

Hi Jackson. We don’t know each other, but we have something in common, I was also struck by a car. I know the challenges you face and all the work it’s going to take to restore your health. YOU CAN DO THIS!!! On the hard, bad days, just get through them! You can start fresh again the next day. It will get easier, I promise.



Tammy Peavey

Karen! I didn’t know. Thanks for the supporting words for Jackson!



Pam Crocker

Best wishes for a speedy recovery. 🙏



Troy Church

Hey Jackson i know we arent friends and we dont particularly like eachother at all, but nobody deserves this and hope for a speedy recovery dude!


Tammy Peavey

You’re a great kid Troy. Good for you for sending such a positive message.

Marie Cote

Your kind words touched all of our hearts. Thank you Troy.

Kelly Ann

Hey Jackson I know we don’t talk very often but you are one of the nicest and Happiest kids I know and I hope you recover quickly!🙏🏻

Olivia Gage

Jackson, I know we were never extremely close but it is horrible to see a friend go though this. We’ve known eachother since about 5th grade and you have been one of the crazy chorus kids like me! You’ve always stood out in a crowd. You help people where you can and try to make things better. All of your hard work has shown through, and now all of the people you’ve helped and made an impact on are coming back to help you. You’re in our(me and my family’s) thoughts and prayers, hoping you’ll get better. I hope you’re able to safely come back to MHS for the beginning of school! I’m pretty sure most of the 9th grade will want to help you out as needed! I hope you are doing well and PT/OT does hurt too much. Best of luck to you! And I hope this photo of your musical friends makes you smile!


Marie Cote

Thank you Olivia. Jackson always speaks highly of you and was so happy to hear you had reached out to him!


Olivia Gage

I’m happy to know I was able to help him out and bring his spirits up a bit! Marie Cote


Julie Smith Gage

You can overcome this. Keep working and I know that you will be back home with your family and friends soon! Best wishes and prayers to Jackson and his family.



Andy Straussberg

Best wishes for a speedy recovery. You are in our thoughts.



Melissa Higgins

Quick update: Donations are up to $2,900 as of this writing! Thank you to everyone assisting by attending the event to show support, sending cards, leaving positive notes, and donating. Please feel free to share the event link with your friends as well using the invite button on the right hand side of the page under the picture. Here’s the link to the gofundme account:

Click here to support Jackson Cote by Ryan Cote

Becky Pollock·

Sending healing thoughts and well wishes from California.

Amy Keiser Bellizia

Jackson, I am praying for you and your family. I hope you know how very brave and strong you are. As someone who spent most of her childhood in hospitals, I know it sucks, but you keep fighting. You’re an inspiration!!!


Melissa Higgins

Thank you Amy for such a kind message!

Alan Robinson

God bless you and everyone else who is involved with this great love amazing amen

Diane McDougall

I Pray you are well now Jackson in Jesus name x

Robert Gilbert

We will pray for you.

Debbie Asher Hickman

Best wishes Jackson, feel better soon, your in my thoughts

Al Thomas Jr.

You are in my prayers !!!!!!



Jennifer Lee

Keep your head up! Best wishes for a fast full recovery 💕

Brandi Wreyn

Hang in there! Here’s to a speedy recovery 🙂



Jenna Fino

Anthony and I are sending many thoughts and prayers to Jack and the Cote family! We love you guys and hope Jack will have a speedy recovery! Please let us know if there is anything else you guys need. We are always willing to help!



Chelsea Patierno

Sending happy thoughts and positive vibes for the long recovery! I will have the boys mail a postcard! What a nice idea 🙂