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Give Back NH: Plymouth Area Community Closet

Martha Richards serves as president of the board of directors for Plymouth Area Community Closet. Their annual Keep the Heat On event is January 26, 2022.
Frances Taylor
Martha Richards serves as president of the board of directors for Plymouth Area Community Closet. Their annual Keep the Heat On event is January 26, 2022.

Give Back New Hampshire is a bi-weekly segment that spotlights New Hampshire nonprofit organizations. It airs every other Saturday at 9:35 during Weekend Edition.

Every nonprofit organization has a unique mission and a different story to tell. If you have a suggestion for a nonprofit organization that you'd like us to spotlight, email

Segment Transcript

Bob Gannett (Board Member of PACC): Yeah, the Community Closet started in 1951, and it got its name because originally the ladies who started it had a storage closet in the Old Congregational Church in downtown Plymouth. And over the years it turned into --they started a food pantry, which is still going now. They started a thrift shop, which unfortunately COVID put an end to. One of the big things now is the fuel assistance during the heating season. Plymouth Community Closet has always been very close to my heart and I'm happy to be where I am right now with them.

Martha Richards (President of the PACC): We have a lot of vulnerable people up in this rural area that are really in need of help with rising costs to heat their homes, and they're just very grateful for this help. They can come in one time in the winter to get 150 gallons of oil. So when somebody calls Bob, he'll ask them ‘how full is your tank? And if it still half full, he does urge them to let it go down more so they can get the full one hundred and fifty gallons. And we even have one coal customer. We do a lot of wood pellets, a lot of cordwood…

Deb Reynolds (Board Member of PACC): Of the people heating with fuel oil in the United States, the cost will be increasing a minimum of 43 percent for fuel oil. The same is similar to heating with propane. I can't think of a more Christmas-like gift that anybody listening to this could give would be to offer to help people who just simply cannot afford to heat their homes adequately. And I can't say enough about [the event] Keep the Heat On-- of course, this is just one segment of what PACC does.

Martha Richards: Well, my partner in crime is here with Deb Reynolds, and way back in our youth, I think it was 2005--I thought, ‘Well, let's have a Christmas party’. And Deb, I remember specifically piped right up and said a set of doing that. “How about we hold some kind of fundraiser for people like maybe fuel assistance?”

Well, that certainly took on a life of its own. And this is its 17th year, this year, where we have a large, silent auction and a live auction. And we've probably now in these 17 years brought in between $400- $500K-- all donated to the Plymouth Community Closet with the fuel assistance program.

I like to think that people care about their needy neighbors in this cold weather. And, you know, I'm sure yourself you get a wonderful feeling when you're helping vulnerable people and we feel so lucky ourselves and grateful for our lifestyles. But I want to be able to share that with others, and I'm sure Deb and Bob feel that way, too.

Plymouth Area Community Closet provides emergency services, (food, clothing, household goods) for residents in 15 towns, including Plymouth, Holderness, Ashland, Rumney, Dorchester, Warren, Wentworth, Campton, Thornton, Hebron, Ellsworth, Groton, Waterville Valley, Bridgewater, and Alexandria.

Their next Keep the Heat On fundraising UNevent is January 26, 2022 at 7PM. This event is virtual. For more information visit Keep The Heat On page on Facebook.

Fuel assistance is (603) 536-1101

Food Pantry is (603) 536-9889


Before becoming Program Director, Quirk served as NHPR's production manager. During that time she's voiced and crafted the 'sound of the station,' coordinated countless on-air fundraisers, produced segments for Give Back NH, Something Wild, New Hampshire Calling, and developed NHPR's own NHPR Music vertical with features such as Live from Studio D, and long-loved favorites like Holidays By Request.
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