Supporting NH Food Bank’s Winter Harvest at Strawbery Banke

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Direct Capital is a big supporter of the New Hampshire community, including many initiatives throughout the year to benefit the New Hampshire Food Bank. When the opportunity struck to participate again in another New Hampshire event, we took it.

This weekend marks the beginning of the First Annual Winter Harvest at Strawbery Banke. Starting this Friday, November 27, the rink at Strawbery Banke will be opened and the partnership with the New Hampshire Food Bank will be announced.

Strawbery Banke realized the need for this partnership for two reasons. The first was to drive additional revenue to the rink and help offset costs of the museum off-season. The second was to help the New Hampshire community with food insecurity during the winter.

Jeffrey Morris, Director of Development at Strawbery Banke Museum, said, “The more publicity, the more you can push the traffic. The people that skate, the revenue goes to the rink and the food [they bring] goes to the Bank. It’s a win-win.”

But how did the idea to partner with 15 food banks around the state come about? Morris said, “I spent three years of the board of the Seacoast Family Food Pantry so I understand the food insecurity issues. When I had been discussing the idea with CEO Larry Yerdon we thought, ‘Let’s take it up a notch.’

“Instead of just the local food pantry, let’s talk to the New Hampshire Food Bank and make this a much bigger food drive; a sustained one that could last a couple of months. And that’s where it all started coming together.”

Non-profit budgets are tight, Morris said, and it was challenging to get the kind of marketing for the event and the skating rink that they hoped for. Because of that, they enlisted the help of University of New Hampshire students. As part of their Entrepreneurial Studies Program, students of the Peter T. Paul College of Business & Economics have helped Strawbery Banke create a plan.

He said, “They brought some insights and new perspectives that we may have overlooked. And especially with their demographic, they were the key to making decisions.”

The marketing they generate, however, isn’t always enough to cover the costs of operations. That’s why they enlist the help of corporate sponsors like Direct Capital. “Corporate sponsorships help go for rink operations and for the staffing,” Morris said.

He continued, “I’d say the primary driver would be to offset the operations of the rink because it’s expensive. We brought in a couple thousand last year and broke even. But at some point we know it will surpass that and bring in some revenue for the museum. It provides a great family venue for winter entertainment and helps increase the economic impact of the non-profit world.”

And even though this is only in its first year, Morris said he hopes to keep the Winter Harvest going. “I think the food bank really needs this because these winter months are really tough for folks. I’d love to see it continue in the future.”

This year and in years ahead, Direct Capital is proud to support Strawbery Banke and New Hampshire families with our donation. Go check out the Winter Harvest Event at Strawbery Banke this weekend through the end of March. Bring a bag of food and receive a free admission ticket to the Museum, plus be entered to win a book of ten skating passes to the rink!