Community Organizations Collaborate To Feed Area Children As Schools Close Due To COVID19

MARCH 18, 2020 – Area nonprofit and community organizers are working together to ensure that children are fed as schools close across Strafford County and the rest of the country due to the coronavirus outbreak. For students that rely on the meals they receive throughout the school day to combat food-insecurity, school closure often means, those children do not eat.

A current list of who is providing food, a list of area food pantries, school district meal plans, churches and other organizations in the area who are modifying how they are feeding kids, seniors, homeless and others in need can be found at

Also at risk are seniors who are considered high-risk of developing severe complications if exposed to COVID-19 according to the CDC. For older people who are also low-income or homebound, ensuring they have access to food without putting them at greater risk is paramount.

Organizations including Community Action Partnership of Strafford County (CAPSC), Region 6 IDN, End 68 Hours of Hunger, Gather, City Welfare, area Food Pantries, School Districts and Churches, have come together to document who needs food, where they are and how they will be fed.

Local food providers need more resources and are to working together to keep people fed, but also safe and healthy. If people want to help, please make a monetary donation to your local food program so that they can purchase food in bulk from vendors and distributors or give gift cards to help clients buy milk, eggs, and other proteins.  Specific requests can be found on local program social media and websites.

This list will be updated every Tuesday. Please check back on the website for updates.

Strafford County Public Health

Unity Recovery, WEconnect Health, Alano Club of Portland, & SOS Recovery Offering Free Online Substance Use and Mental Health Support during COVID-19

Unity Recovery, WEconnect Health, Alano Club of Portland, & SOS Recovery Offering Free Online Substance Use and Mental Health Support during COVID-19

Virtual support groups, led by peer and family recovery specialists, occurring daily

Philadelphia—Individuals and family members dealing with substance use, mental health, disordered eating, and other behavioral health disorders will be able to participate in free online recovery support meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unity Recovery, a non-profit recovery community organization in Philadelphia, WEconnect Health, an evidence-based digital app based in Seattle, Alano Club of Portland and SOS Recovery, recovery support providers, are providing the daily service since public health officials have urged people to avoid gatherings or have shut down cities due to the pandemic. The daily online recovery support meetings are available immediately and are led by certified peer who are in recovery themselves.

To attend a meeting or learn more, individuals and family members can visit:

In just the last 72 hours, more than 2,000 individuals from 50 states and 10 countries have participated in the meetings which run at 9AM, 12PM, 3PM, 6PM, 8PM. and 9PM EST. “As recovery meetings have continued to close around the country and world, the need for connection and ongoing mutual aid is larger than ever”, said Robert Ashford, person in recovery and Unity Recovery Executive Director, “people are connecting in creative ways and maintaining their recovery in the most trying of times.” “The need for support doesn’t go away during this time. It only grows as people socially distance and there aren’t any options for those in or seeking recovery to get the support they need,” said WEconnect Health cofounder and CEO Daniela Tudor, who is in recovery herself. “Family members and loved ones need just as much support as individuals during this time, and being able to offer both types of recovery meetings is so important,” said Brent Canode, Executive Director of the Alano Club of Portland.

As of 2019, there are more than 66,000 12-step meetings in the U.S. alone and thousands of similar type of support groups. Particularly for those new in recovery and just leaving treatment, having no access to recovery meetings or therapy during this time exponentially increases the likelihood of recurrence of substance use, overdose and even death.

ABOUT Unity Recovery
Unity Recovery is a community-based, non-profit recovery community organization based in Philadelphia. At Unity Recovery, we partner with the entire community to bring comprehensive community-based recovery support to those that need them – from recovery meetings, peer recovery specialists, education and vocational training. As a hybrid recovery community organization, we support individuals in all types of recovery utilizing various pathways, all for no fees and no strings.

ABOUT WEconnect Health
WEconnect Health provides the most effective digital solution for substance use. Cofounded by Daniela Tudor and French Open Tennis champion Murphy Jensen, both in recovery, they have made it their mission to save lives, provide accurate outcomes data, and support healthcare ecosystems, communities and families.

ABOUT SOS Recovery Community Organization
SOS Recovery Community Organization is a recovery community organization based in
Somersworth, NH with recovery community centers in Dover, Rochester and Hampton, NH.
The mission of SOS Recovery Community Organization is to reduce stigma and harm associated with substance use and misuse by providing safe space and peer based supports for people in all stages of recovery. SOS is a program of Greater Seacoast Community Health is a 501c3 non-profit federally qualified health center.

Strafford County Addiction Summit to focus on trauma-informed communities

SOMERSWORTH — The Strafford County Public Health Network’s 2019 Strafford County Addiction Summit will take place Wednesday, Nov. 20 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital’s Garrison Wing. The theme of this year’s event is Building Trauma-Informed Communities.

The summit aims to educate and provide community members with the knowledge, skills and tools to address challenges such as adverse childhood experiences (ACE) by utilizing trauma-informed care (TIC) principles in their everyday lives and work. By hearing concrete examples, learning about funding opportunities, and listening to experts across fields, attendees will learn how to cultivate resilient communities that are built on a foundation of trauma-informed care.

Attendees can expect to gain valuable insight on the core principles of trauma-informed care, practices that can be utilized in the workplace, enhancing communication skills, and how to apply trauma-informed best practices into your life.

The keynote addresses include ACES in Action: Building Trauma-Informed Communities by Dr. Larry McCullough, executive director and founder of Pinetree Institute, and Tomorrow’s Funding by Tym Rourke, director of New Hampshire Tomorrow with the NH Charitable Foundation. The event will also include six breakout sessions and a panel of experts discussing “Examples of Trauma-Informed Work in Our Communities.”

There is a $20 registration fee per person. The event includes breakfast and lunch. Financial assistance is available for those who qualify, please contact SCPHN for more information. Continuing education credits are available.

This is the eighth annual Addiction Summit coordinated by the Strafford County Public Health Network. This event is coordinated with support from Greater Seacoast Community Health, Dover Coalition for Youth, the Pinetree Institute and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. More information can be found at or by contacting or (603) 994-6357.


Read article on Foster’s Daily Democrat

Rochester property owners urged to attend free lead removal seminar


ROCHESTER, November6, 2019 – The City of Rochester and the Strafford County Public Health Network are hosting a free educational program for property owners and managers in Rochester whose properties may contain lead.  Residents owning property built before 1978 are strongly encouraged to attend this free program and dinner at the new Mitchell Hill BBQ, 50 North Main Street, Rochester, at 5:30pm on Tuesday, November 12.

Attendees will hear from NH state experts, Gail Gettens and Ross Malcolm from the NH of Division of Public Health Services on the dangers of lead as well as financial programs that will assist with removing lead. Attendees will learn about new laws like the one passed in 2018 in New Hampshire passed requiring providers to conduct blood lead level tests for all 1 and 2 year olds.  It will also connect attendees with resources and information on things property managers and homeowners can do to test their homes for lead that may exist in interior paint, exterior paint and their water.

“In 2017 652 NH children were poisoned by lead.  Lead is a toxic poison. It can slow growth and impair brain development, especially among children; the effects can be permanent and continue into adulthood. One of the most common source of lead exposure for children is lead paint and lead−contaminated dust in older homes, said Ashley Desrochers, Prevention Coordinator, Strafford County Public Health Network.  “It only takes a speck of lead dust the size of a grain of salt to poison a child. We are working with some of NH’s highest risk communities so that we can prevent further lead poisoning in our children.”

The Strafford County Public Health Network, whose mission is to improve the health of all the individuals in Strafford County, is seeking individuals interested in joining both its Rochester and Somersworth Lead Safety teams.  Anyone interested can contact Ashley Desrochers at 603-749-2346 x2579 or For more information about the free dinner and seminar, contact Julian Long at


Media Contact:  Lara Willard, 603-516-2558

National Suicide Prevention Week

September 10th-16th is National Suicide Prevention Week. Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States, and the number of suicides has been steadily increasing since 2000. In 2016, there were more than twice as many suicides as there were murders in the United States. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10-34.


Who is affected?

Everyone is at risk for mental illness and suicide. There are many factors that play an important role in suicide risk. People who live with mental health and substance use disorders are at a higher risk for suicide, as well as those who are experiencing a lot of stress or hard experiences in their lives. Although anyone can be at risk for suicide, middle aged white men have the highest rates of dying by suicide.


What are some warning signs?

Suicide has no specific single cause. There are many risks that can lead to suicide. However, some warning signs include:

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
  • Talking about feeling hopeless, trapped, or feeling like a burden to others
  • Increasing use of alcohol and/or drugs
  • Isolation from family/friends
  • Withdrawing from social activities
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Too little or too much sleep


What can I do to help?

If you are worried that someone you know may be experiencing emotional crisis or suicidal thoughts, there are many steps you can take to help.

If you believe that a person is in immediate danger of suicide, call 911 or contact a medical professional right away.

If the person is not in immediate danger of ending their life, you can start a conversation and talk about your concerns. There is a lot of stigma around suicide, so it is helpful to talk to the person with an open mind and concern for their health without minimizing their problems or shaming the person for feeling suicidal.

You can give emotional support and a trustworthy relationship where the person can feel comfortable talking about their feelings.

If you don’t know how to start the conversation, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 can help you figure out how to help a friend or loved one. You do not need to be suicidal to call them to ask for help. The lifeline also gives support for suicidal people, so you can help your friend or loved one to call the phone number.


National Diabetes Awareness Month

There are few diseases that affect as many Americans as diabetes. In fact, 1 in 11 Americans has diabetes, but 25% of those with diabetes don’t know they have it. During National Diabetes Month, the nation comes together to spread the word about diabetes.


What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a long-lasting disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. According to the CDC, “Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into your bloodstream. Your pancreas makes a hormone called insulin, which acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.

If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream, which over time can cause serious health problems…”


What are the types of diabetes?

There are three types of diabetes.

Type 1 happens when the body accidentally attacks the liver and stops the body from making insulin. It is usually diagnosed in children and teens. There is no way to prevent type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 happens when the body can’s use insulin very well and can’t keep blood sugar at normal levels. It is usually diagnosed in adults. Type 2 diabetes can be prevented by getting to or staying at a healthy weight, eating healthy foods, and exercising.

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that can develop in pregnant women who have never had diabetes. It usually goes away after the baby is born.


What are the health effects of diabetes?

Diabetes was the seventh leading case of death in the US in 2015. This is because diabetes can affect many different parts of the body.

People with diabetes are 2 times more likely to die of a heart attack than people without diabetes.

Diabetes can also damage the kidneys and make them unable to filter waste. If the kidneys fail, a person must use dialysis (a blood filtering machine).

Having high blood sugar for a long time can damage the blood vessels that feed nerves. This damage to the nerves can feel like numbness, pain, and weakness arms, hands, legs, and feet. When a person has foot numbness, it is much easier to damage the feet and can lead to amputation of a toe, foot, or leg.

The eyes can be affected by diabetes. High blood sugar can make blood vessels in the eyes swell and leak in the eye, which causes blurry vision and sometimes blindness.


How do I know if I have (or I am at risk for) diabetes?

To find out if you are at risk for diabetes or prediabetes, take the Prediabetes Risk Test HERE. Only your doctor or medical professional can say for sure if you have diabetes. If you believe you may be at risk, ask your medical professional for tests to determine if you have diabetes.



World Breastfeeding Week

World Breastfeeding Week

World Breastfeeding Week is August 1st to August 7th, 2018. This week promotes the universal benefits of breastfeeding and encourages mothers to feed their children breastmilk and connect with resources to support their breastfeeding efforts. Visit the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action to learn more about the efforts to encourage breastfeeding.


Why is breastfeeding important?

Breastfeeding gives babies all of the nutrients that they need, which prevents malnutrition. It ensures that babies have food security, even in times of crisis like during a natural disaster. Breast milk carries antibodies from the mother to the baby which keeps the baby healthy from disease.


What resources are available for nursing mothers?

The La Leche League of Maine and New Hampshire provides education, encouragement, and community to breastfeeding mothers in Maine and New Hampshire. The New Hampshire Breastfeeding Taskforce has a resource guide that lists many sources of support for nursing mothers about different aspects of breastfeeding. The federal Women’s Health website has a full brochure on how to breastfeed and the problems that someone may run into.


How can I support breastfeeding efforts?

Encourage your workplace to have policies that allow women to breastfeed or to pump milk when they return from maternity leave. You can also support an organization that assists women with breastfeeding.


National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. In the United States, about 1 in 6 children has obesity and 1 in 3 is overweight or obese. Obesity is a serious health condition that has no simple solution, but everyone can help work towards ending obesity.

Why is childhood obesity important?

The rate of childhood obesity is more than 4 times higher than it was four decades ago. People with obesity are at risk for type 2 diabetes, asthma, bone and joint problems, and sleep apnea. Also, children with obesity are more likely to have obesity as adults.

What influences childhood obesity?

There are many things that can contribute to childhood obesity. These can include eating and exercise, genetics, home environment, and community factors. For many children, these are large factors for obesity:

  • too much time spent being inactive
  • lack of sleep
  • lack of places to go in the community to get physical activity
  • easy access to inexpensive, high calorie foods and sugary beverages
  • lack of access to affordable, healthier foods

How can I help childhood obesity?

There are many things that you can do to help a child have a healthy weight. These can include:

  • Giving a child healthy, lower calorie foods like fruits and vegetables and avoiding sugary drinks.
  • Joining a child in fun physical activity. This could be a walk around the neighborhood, a sports game in a park, or even fun dances inside of a house. The possibilities are endless!
  • Talk with the child’s healthcare professional about their weight and strategies to keep a child healthy.


National Immunization Awareness Month

August is National Immunization Awareness Month. Immunizations, also knows as vaccines or shots, are one of the greatest public health successes of the 20th century. Vaccines give parents the power to protect their children from serious diseases. One of the most important things a parent can do to protect their child’s health is to get their child vaccinated according to the recommended immunization schedule. There are vaccines that people should get when they are babies, children, teenagers, and when they are adults.

Why are vaccines important?

Vaccines give parents the safe, proven power to protect their children from 14 serious diseases. Vaccinating your children according to the recommended schedule is one of the best ways you can protect them from harmful and even deadly diseases like measles and whooping cough (pertussis). Also, thousands of adults in the U.S. become ill even die from infectious diseases like the flu that could be prevented by vaccines.

Are these diseases still a problem?

Many vaccine-preventable diseases are still common in many parts of the world. For example, measles is brought into the United States by unvaccinated travelers who are infected while in other countries. The CDC estimates that the flu has caused over 10 million illnesses, up to 700,000 hospitalizations, and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths every year since 2010.


Are vaccines safe?

Vaccines are very safe. Vaccines are thoroughly tested before they are used on patients, and carefully monitored after they are used, to look for any rare safety risks. Side effects from vaccines are usually mild and temporary. There are national systems that doctors use to track any side effects and monitor the safety of vaccines.


When do I need a vaccine?

Vaccinations happen at different times during your life. They are not only for small children, adults need some as well. For children and teens, most parents (9/10) choose to vaccinate their children according to the recommended immunization schedule. For adults, the CDC’s vaccine quiz can help you figure out what immunization you need at your age. The CDC’s childhood immunization schedule can be found here The adult immunization schedule can be found here




This post adapted from the National Immunization Awareness Month 2018 Toolkit.

National Night Out 2018

National Night Out is “an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.”

Dover will be hosting their National Night Out on Tuesday, August 7th from 4:30-7:30 pm in Henry Law Park. For more information, click here.

Rochester will be hosting their National Night Out on Tuesday, August 7th from 5:30-8:30 pm at the Rochester Commons. For more information, visit the Facebook Event or the Rochester Town Website.

Somersworth will be hosting their National Night Out on Tuesday, August 7th from 5:30-7:30 pm in the Jules Bisson Park. For more information, visit the Facebook Event.