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CIRCLING THE SQUARE: Gifts of Hope campaign begins

Time:2016-11-30 06:24wine - Red wine life health Click:

begins gifts campaign Hope CIRCLING

I want to inform all our wonderful readers that the Danvers Herald is once again sponsoring the annual Gifts of Hope campaign, which benefits the Danvers Community Council.

And what better way to inform you of the importance of this organization then by telling you how the council stepped in 10 years ago when there was the big Danversport Explosion at 2:46 a.m. Nov. 22.

To commemorate this decade-old event, people like Janet and Mark Lettich and others in the Port community relived the experiences they shared with explosion alumni, including the folks in the New England Homes for the Deaf.

Somewhere between 75 and 100 folks showed up at the NEH community room, according to Janet. Many of them came with cookies and other desserts and whatever was left went to the NEHD for their residents.

Many folks brought pictures and other memorabilia like the Lettich’s kitchen clock that fell on the floor, the hands still frozen at the 2:46 explosion time.

Photographer Barbara Lynch, one of the Port survivors, had documented the aftermath of the tragedy, which fortunately took no lives but certainly had a terrible impact on the neighborhood and its houses. No one could get back to their homes until a week or weeks later, only very briefly and accompanied by an officer.

Those of us who were awakened by the blast turned on the TV to see huge flames erupting from the site that solvent and ink manufacturer CAI Inc. shared with paint manufacturer Arnel. It’s something we will never forget.

Former Danvers Herald editor Cathryn Keefe O’Hare and I spent most of that day at the high school, which served as a triage station and shelter.

Volunteers and businesses showed up with food and other needs. There were crying babies and bewildered children and their parents. Some folks came with their pets and others hadn’t been able to find theirs.

Janet and Mark Lettich’s dog Luka, now 13, part Siberian husky, had bolted from the house and the couple had to leave their home before they could find her. Fortunately, she was discovered huddled in a makeshift shelter she had hollowed out beneath a shrub for protection.

I will never forget the look on Mark and Janet’s face when Betty Heckman, animal control officer, showed up at DHS where Luka’s family was waiting for her. It was a very emotional reunion.

Remember, these people were left with nothing but slippers on their feet (if they were lucky enough), and most in their PJ’s. Eyeglasses, medications, and clothing were all left behind.

And that’s where the Danvers Community Council stepped in as angels in disguise.

“If it wasn’t for the Community Council, we all would have been in big trouble,” Janet said. “They helped us right away.”

The council allocated funds for folks who had to purchase everything from underwear, to shoes to jackets, etc. The Danvers Food Pantry, part of the Community Council, was right there with food.

Council volunteers interviewed people and referred them to the right sources for other help. The Maple Street Church hosted weekly dinners with the menu provided by different churches and organizations in town.

And DCC members were always aboard to speak to those who showed up and to help them access other resources.

Since then, Mark and Janet Lettich became an active part of the council, where they still volunteer. Janet has served on the board for the past seven years and Mark has been an enthusiastic pantry volunteer.

Though an explosion that caused so much devastation is thankfully not always the case, the Danvers Community Council and the Danvers Food Pantry are still the main resources for many of our own Danvers residents who have come upon hard times.

Were it not for them, they and their children wouldn’t have the food that the pantry supplies, and turkeys and all the fixings for Thanksgiving, Christmas and other major holidays. Children of pantry clients wouldn’t have Christmas presents or back-to-school needs. And the list goes on and on.

But, the Danvers Community Council, an all-volunteer organization as is the pantry, wouldn’t be able to help these people without your assistance.

So once again you can be part of this worthy organization by sending your checks, made out to the Danvers Community Council, to the Danvers Herald, 75 Sylvan St., Danvers, MA 01923.

The campaign will end Jan. 2, 2017.


Well, it’s started, the fast-paced bargain frenzy. It didn’t even wait for Black Friday since that was pushed a week ahead as most of you know.

I believe the motto the past two weeks has been “If you snooze, you lose.” And that’s just what happened to me.

I guess I didn’t read the small print in an ad that said, “As long as supplies last.”


Sorry, I don’t mean to sound so mysterious, it’s just that I’m so ticked off at myself and this is why. Like many of us who lived in the old days, though they don’t seem old to me) before computers, iPhones, tablets and Androids, before APPS and down loading and Blue Tooth was something that happened when you ate a blueberry Pop Tart, we had records — 45s, 33 1/3s and 78s.

Gosh that sounds like the beginning of a math problem.

Anyway, we used to have one of those FM radio and phonograph combinations that came with two speakers. It was one of the top brands and it was terrific for years.

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