Catherine had no money to repair furnace

After she paid a company several times to repair her furnace, with no success, Catherine Bastek turned to Rockingham Community Action for help.

The failed attempts to repair her furnace left her with no more money for repairs, and no way to replace the furnace.

“I have only lived here for two years,” said Bastek, 80, a Hampstead resident. “I lived in a condo in Massachusetts for 28 years, but the stairs were getting to be too much for me. I was looking for something on one floor that I could handle better. I found this place in New Hampshire and fell in love with it. I never knew the state was so beautiful and the people so friendly.”

Her furnace issues began last winter.

“I kept calling my provider because I had no heat,” she said. “They would fix it for a bit and then it would break again. A friend said I should look into what services might be able to help here in New Hampshire. We knew there were services in Massachusetts, but I knew nothing about here. My son did some research on the internet, and we found community action.”

Bastek said she was amazed at the help she received. In addition to a new furnace, Rockingham Community Action offered fuel assistance, electricity help and did weatherization on her mobile home.

“I couldn’t believe how much they wanted to help me stay warm,” she said. “They were marvelous, and so friendly and helpful to me. They even brought me portable heaters to keep me warm while they were doing the work.”

Since she received help last winter, Bastek said she has recommended Rockingham Community Action to several people in her neighborhood. She said the community action staff always made her feel welcome.

“People I told about it didn’t know about it,” she said. “I would recommend (Rockingham Community Action) to anyone who needs help and this year, I think more people could probably use help. Everything keeps getting more expensive.”

How to donate to Gift of Warmth

Donations are gratefully accepted, and will be distributed among Rockingham and Strafford county community action programs to make a real difference in the lives of local people.

This year, we ask that checks donated to Gift of Warmth be made out directly to either Rockingham Community Action or the Community Action Partnership of Strafford County. Please write “Gift of Warmth” in the check memo line to ensure the money goes for fuel assistance.

Checks can be mailed to Gift of Warmth, Seacoast Media Group, 111 New Hampshire Ave., Portsmouth, NH 03801. We will tally the checks, record the names of each week’s contributors and then forward the checks on to the two county community action programs. Each week throughout the campaign, Seacoast Media Group will publish the names of that week’s donors.

Again, please make the checks out to either the Rockingham Community Action Program or the Community Action Partnership of Strafford County and write Gift of Warmth in the memo line.

Gift of Warmth begins in 2022:Gift of Warmth begins: How to help your neighbors heat their homes as fuel prices surge

If you need help

To apply for fuel assistance, call Rockingham Community Action at (603) 431-2911. People experiencing any significant hardship or financial crisis can also call and they will be referred to the appropriate person. For more information, visit  For Community Action Partnership of Strafford County, call (603) 435-2500 or visit

Generous readers donate $6,150 in first few days

Anonymous, $100

Christine Silverman, $150

New Castle Congregational Church Board of Deacons, $500

Dennis Willis, $100

Carole and Tom Bunting, $750

Michael, Jason, Kathryn, $300

Stephen and Greta Munton, $200

Anonymous, $500

John W. and Susan Mitchell Living Trust, $50

Ann and Robert Mayer, $350

The Alice K. Mansfield Revocable Trust, $100

Richard D. Antal, M.D., $250

Mary Carey Foley, $100

David and Sue Allen, $100

Annette Roylos, $100

Linda and David Underhill, $350

Anne Romney, $100

Catherine Youngs, $100

Robert Larkin and Nancy Hobitz, $100

Bob Andelman and Kathie Lynch, $1,500

Sherrill Nixon, $250

Bruce and Julie Lindsay, $100