Amherst Starter Program

Congregational Church of Amherst, UCC

      AMHERST – Remember furnishing your first apartment? Mom and Dad probably supplied some furniture, kitchen items, and maybe you found things at thrift stores. You probably were young, healthy, had a job and possibly a car. Not everyone is so lucky.  When you’re Robert, a disabled Nashua man who was homeless and had no possessions, the hurdles seem overwhelming. The Front Door Agency, a non-profit with a mission to end homelessness, found Robert an apartment he could afford and reached out to our Home Starter program for help. We delivered basic kitchen and bath kits and all the furnishings he needed, from a bed to couches, tables, lamps and more. Robert now has a solid foundation on which to begin life anew, thanks to the generosity of those in the local community. 

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Reopening bathroom day kits

      How does this happen? It happens because non-profit organizations like the Front Door Agency, Stepping Stones, and Bridges offer a leg up for homeless youth and adults, abused women, and others in desperate need. What they can’t offer is furnishings. Our World Service team saw the need and formed the Home Starter program. 

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Kitchen kits assembly

      It began in 2019 with the simple idea of supplying kitchen kits for young people who had been in foster care and were now on their own. Then the need for bathroom kits became apparent. At one point, our volunteers working with Sleep in Heavenly Peace delivered a bunk bed to a family and realized that was the only piece of furniture in the apartment. There were greater needs out there.

      Then COVID hit and people started cleaning out basements and attics or downsizing and wanted to donate items for a good cause. We saw the opportunity to share donations with those who truly needed them. Donations have increased so much that we now have a storage unit in Nashua.

      Collecting and delivering donations requires fielding phone calls from donors who have furniture, coordinating with clients in need to figure out what they could use, and arranging  volunteers to move items in and out the storage unit and to the clients. 

      Our greatest challenge is storage costs and recruiting people who can help transport/move items. With a long list of volunteers, one would

only need to be called once in awhile. Actual moves are usually nearby and take only a few hours. A big thank you to our local community: MIBOX, and Black Forest Café, who allows us to store our donated MIBOX unit on their property, and Right Space Storage in Nashua, who provides us storage at a reduced fee.

      Members of the team find this challenge “exciting, rewarding, unbelievable, and emotionally fulfilling.” Visit our website to learn more about the Home Starter program including what types of furniture are needed, become a volunteer, or make a financial donation to cover storage costs, or contact us at

      You too might find your efforts exciting, rewarding, unbelievable and emotionally fulfilling! 


Home starter delivery by volunteer

Submitted by Nancy Protzmann on behalf of the Congregational Church of Amherst, UCC World Service Team

Southern NH Branch of AAUW 

Lisa Maatz - Women's Health Equity Advocate
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Lisa Maatz

      The Southern NH Branch of AAUW (American Association of University Women) is pleased to present Women's Health Equity and Public Policy, the second program in the 2021-22 series on Women's Health. It will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, January 26, 2022 via Zoom. The program is free and open to all.  Please contact Program Chair Johanna Tigert for the Zoom link.

       The three-person panel in October

highlighted issues surrounding women's health and concluded with the question 'What can we do to effect change?' Lisa Maatz, former AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations, will share insights on women's health from a policy perspective. She represented AAUW and women’s equity issues on Capitol Hill for 15 years from 2002-2017. She is a strong advocate with a reputation for her strategic and creative approach to government relations.

      Lisa is currently with Ohio Citizen Action, a nonprofit organization that mobilizes people to engage in actions that protect public health, improve environmental quality, and benefit consumers.

      Lisa is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Ohio University, has two master's degrees from Ohio State University, and held an adjunct appointment with the Women and Politics Institute at American University. She is a long time

member of AAUW. 

      AAUW’s mission is to advance gender equity for women and girls through research, education, and advocacy with a vision of equity for all.

 In working toward these goals, the Southern New Hampshire Branch provides scholarships for young women who are pursuing college degrees with the intent to follow STEM careers after graduation. This year's recipients were two young women who graduated in June from Souhegan High School. In addition, the branch hosts the Annual Candidates Night in late February/early March giving voters in Amherst a chance to hear the positions of candidates running for town and school offices. The branch does not endorse any particular candidate or party. It also hosts a book discussion group and plans social gatherings. The January 26, 2022 program will be followed by the third and last program in April and will continue the focus on women's health. Date to be announced.      The organization whose roots date back to the 1880s has two branches in NH. The Southern New Hampshire Branch was established in the 1970s. Current members live in the following communities: Amherst, Dover, Exeter, Hanover, Hollis, Manchester, Merrimack, Milford, Mont Vernon, Nashua, Wilton, and Wolfeboro.      For more information about AAUW contact Membership Chair Ingrid Michaelis at 603-494-6671 or For a membership application e-mail: A graduate  holding an associate degree, an RN, a baccalaureate,

or a higher degree from a regionally accredited institution is eligible and welcome.