Kearsarge Neighborhood Partners Continues to Help Neighbors in Need

Gives immediate help; addresses underlying issues

By Cindy Benson
Andover resident Paul Currier, far right, works with other local KNP volunteers to stack wood for delivery to families in need for heating this winter. Many hands make light work! They stacked seven and a half cords in 90 minutes! Caption: Cindy Benson. Photo:

Three years ago, Kearsarge Neighborhood Partners was born as an organization where neighbors can help each other flourish, and where people in need have some hope of moving away from crisis and toward wholeness and stability in their lives.  A group in the Kearsarge region realized that much of the charity available to people deals with meeting a crisis.  We began to look into the root causes that lead people to have to seek emergency help again and again, and created a non-profit where we could both attend to people’s immediate needs, and begin to address the bedrock issues at the base of their emergencies.  Volunteers are matched with needs through an efficient database and email system which sends requests based on a volunteer’s interests when a specific need arises. There is no time commitment or pressure to respond, only a willingness to consider helping out if it fits your schedule and skills.

KNP serves the area of the Kearsarge, Andover, and Sunapee school districts, with a small reach into the surrounding towns.  We take the “Partners” in Kearsarge Neighborhood Partners very seriously!  We have three levels of partnerships: 

• Neighbors to Neighbors — Volunteers can help with a small home repair, a load of heating wood, groceries or a hot meal or a simple phone check-in for someone who is isolated.

• Neighbors to Organizations — Our Advocates work with people longer-term to help them access social services and government assistance, food resources, jobs, transportation or medical care.

• Organizations to Organizations — We collaborate with other organizations to do an analysis of needs in the region then work together to address them.  Colby-Sawyer College, the New London Hospital, Warner Connects, Town Welfare Offices, the Kearsarge Food Hub and KREM are among our active community partners.  Together, we have worked on systemic issues such as housing, heat and food security and creating a web of support for the Kearsarge Region.

Two local volunteer organizations, Kearsarge Neighborhood Partners (KNP) and Kearsarge Regional Ecumenical Ministries (KREM), joined forces on a much-needed venture to help folks in the Kearsarge community access transportation. The partnership, KARS FOR KEARSARGE: Paving the Road to Independence, has three goals:

• Obtaining used vehicles gifted from community members, to transfer to people in need
• Helping people buy dependable, affordable used vehicles
• Partnering with local garages to help people evaluate and access repairs on existing vehicles

A vehicle can mean all the difference in someone’s ability to work or to seek a job and to live independently.  We’re proud to say that in the past 11 months, through Kars for Kearsarge, six families now have safe, reliable transportation.

Andover resident Paul Currier has been involved in KNP since it first started three years ago. “Volunteering with KNP has enabled me to get involved in people’s lives who need help,” says Currier. “The kinds of things I’ve done include minor home repairs, yard work, wood stacking, transporting people to doctor’s appointments and things like that. I’ve become the regular ride for one Andover neighbor who I’ve gotten to know better over the course of this year.” Since retirement, Paul has the flexibility in his schedule to be available when a need arises. There is no pressure to sign up for something, but he likes “the feeling of building community and helping people out.” His latest opportunity involved helping a handicapped neighbor who had been self-reliant in the past but could no longer get their yard ready for winter. “They were so grateful for our work. It was rewarding to spend a couple hours with another volunteer doing something that meant so much to someone. Being involved in KNP has made me realize that there are people under the radar that are really in need of the kind of help that KNP can offer – longer term assistance that can help people live independently and have their basic needs met.”

Please see our website for more information about KNP, where you will find yellow buttons on our homepage to seek help and/or to become a volunteer.  There is also a donation button with an option to donate to KNP or Kars for Kearsarge.  Look at our website and FaceBook page for an opportunity to purchase alternative gifting cards as a holiday donation in someone’s honor. When you volunteer for KNP, you will be joining a growing community of engaged neighbors working together to build relationships and strengthen connections so everyone can flourish.