The weather having been as dreary as it has been throughout this week before Christmas, I stopped by the Salvation Army center to find good cheer in the person of Lt. Meghan Brunelle, who was adding gifts to those that filled the tables of the large room.
These are times of a kind we have not known because of the size of the nation’s debt and the political struggle to begin what will be the long climb out of it, and charities are playing an increasingly demanding role.
Thankfully, Newburyport has a number of them, the most visible of which is the Salvation Army.
I had come from the annual meeting of the NAID Foundation board, called to respond to requests from a variety of local institutions seeking support.
All charitable foundations have histories. Many are formed by successful individuals and others are formed by institutions of all kinds. Newburyport is rich with them. All seek either to ease burdens or to otherwise enhance the public good.
The Newburyport Area Industrial Development Corp. did that over the better part of a half century when it closed that initiative and formed the NAID Foundation to create and preserve a charitable fund.
That was not what hundreds of individuals and businesses had in mind back in 1965-1966 when they responded to the fund drive that raised some $200,000 in kind or pledges over two years because jobs and the local economy were very much on their minds.
Not a few of the responses were for a hundred dollars or less. What was most important was the societal depth and breadth of the donors, all of whose names and pledged donations are on record at the Newburyport Public Library.
I read them once again this week in the library’s archives center to rekindle old relationships.