The Chase Home, Gather and Others Fight Food Insecurity

Pictured, The Chase Home Executive Director Meme Wheeler (l) with Deb Anthony, Executive Director at Gather.

PORTSMOUTH—For at-risk youth who come to live at The Chase Home in Portsmouth while receiving services, a proper nutrition is a critical part of their treatment plan.

“It’s very important we help youth and their families understand the importance of healthy eating and its connection to better physical and mental health,” said Executive Director Meme Wheeler.

Healthy eating at The Chase Home recently received a financial boost from Northeast Delta Dental, which invested $2,500 to support its food program. This latest gift builds on a $5,000 grant from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation and Tuscan Brands to purchase organic fresh food for its youth residents.

“These investments will enable us to prepare the most nutritious food possible,” said Wheeler, who cited a partnership with nonprofit Gather as equally critical in combating food insecurity for their kids.

“Gather has been an invaluable resource and partner for us as we look for creative ways to provide the best food possible to our residents,” she added.

Last summer, Executive Director Deb Anthony said Gather and The Chase Home both worked together in several ways.

“We each helped organize a project where Liberty Mutual came to build containers into which volunteers from both agencies then planted gardens,” she said. “Gather and Chase Home volunteers also helped to maintain and harvest these gardens. Some area high school students helped, too.”

Seneca Bernard, associate executive director at Gather, said they often look to students to provide them with ideas upon which they may improve their programs, such as Meals 4 Kids.

“These students are a wonderful addition to the Gather workforce,” he added.

Anthony said some residents at The Chase Home also volunteer at Gather.

“Our regular volunteers are sad when the kids move on,” said Anthony, who said cooks and older residents at The Chase Home occasionally shop at Gather.

For Wheeler, strategic partnerships with Gather, Northeast Delta Dental, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation and Tuscan Brands underscore the importance of collaboration.

“By working together and sharing resources, we are addressing complex problems in our community,” she said. “We are grateful for each and every partnership and will continue to build strong relationships to better meet community needs.”

Founded in 1877, Chase Home serves more than 140 at-risk youth annually statewide through prevention, early intervention, residential and community-based programs. To learn more about The Chase Home, visit chasehome.org.

Founded in 1816, Gather is charged with the mission to make the Greater Seacoast a hunger-free community. To learn more, visit gathernh.org.

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