Christmas Elves Bring Joy to the Kearsarge Community

Thanks to the generosity of so many, 75 families from throughout the Kearsarge community now have gifts to open on Christmas day. The gifts were gathered through the Kearsarge Community Kids’ Christmas Project, an annual event coordinated through Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice (LSRVNA) in collaboration with area churches, businesses, civic organizations and individuals.

This year’s volunteer elves were Lauri Smerald and Sheila Wallace, both of Sunapee, and Debbie Seyfried of Springfield. They handled all the paperwork, communication and organization of gifts from the more than 30 sponsors who adopted families, as well as 45 cash donations used to purchase gift cards and any unmet requests. “From answering the Elf Line to last-minute shopping and distribution of gifts in space provided by Tracy Memorial Library, our elves did a great job,” says Cathy Raymond, Development Officer at LSRVNA. This was also evident through the sentiments of families receiving gifts. One parent said, “Thank you in advance for my kids’ smiles on Christmas.” Another stated, “It’s not easy to ask for help. We are grateful to be part of such a wonderful community.”

Community members also donated many extra items that families could choose from when they picked up their gifts. “We had donations of winter hats and mittens, books, stuffed animals, classic wooden toys and more,” says Raymond. “We are so grateful to all the ‘elves’ who make this such a special and successful event each year. It is a heart-warming, community-wide effort.”

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Hospice Dinner Celebrates 30th Anniversary

On November 14, 2018, more than 100 guests gathered to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Lake Sunapee Region VNA (LSRVNA) Hospice Dinner at The Millstone at 74 Main, raising funds and awareness for compassionate end-of-life care. In 1980, Tom Mills and family opened The Millstone Restaurant; in 1989 he established the Hospice Dinner to benefit the LSRVNA Hospice Program. Tom supports a number of local organizations with special interests, including youth, education, veterans and health initiatives. He believes it is important to partner with local organizations that significantly impact our community. 

When Rich Stockwell, a long-time restauranteur, bought The Millstone Restaurant in 2014 (renamed The Millstone at 74 Main at that time), he said it was a “no brainer” to continue the Hospice Dinner tradition. “Rich and his entire team are terrific to work with and always deliver a well-organized event and exceptional meal,” said Cathy Raymond, LSRVNA Development Officer. Both Rich and Tom have had personal experiences with family members cared for by LSRVNA. “I can’t imagine there are very many people in our area who have not experienced the VNA in some way,” Tom shared. Tom Mills, who at one point ran three area restaurants, still owns the Flying Goose Brew Pub in New London. In addition to The Millstone at 74 Main, Rich recently opened the Little Brother Burger Company on Main Street in New London. “We remain deeply grateful for community leaders like Tom and Rich,” says Raymond. For more information about LSRVNA, call 603-526-4077 or visit

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“Handling the Holidays After a Loss” to be held December 6

Holidays after losing a loved one can be challenging and sometimes difficult. That’s why Lake Sunapee VNA is offering a free grief support program entitled “Handling the Holidays After a Loss” to help grieving community members explore ways to proactively plan and maneuver through major holidays.

The program will be held on Thursday, December 6 from 3:00 to 4:30pm at TLC Family Resource Center (109 Pleasant Street, Claremont) and will be facilitated by a Lake Sunapee VNA bereavement counselor. RSVPs are requested by calling 603-526-4077.

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Volunteer “Elves” Spread Holiday Joy!

Three very special volunteers have taken on the cheerful task of serving as this year’s “Volunteer Elves” for the Kearsarge Kids Christmas Program. Sheila Wallace, Debbie Seyfried and Betsy Kloeppel—all who volunteer in other capacities for LSRVNA, including in the office and at the Good Day Respite Program—have stepped up to help bring joy to area families in need during the holiday season.

The priority is on the children, ensuring that they receive some “necessity items” such as clothing, as well as a few “wish list” items such as toys. Generous donations from caring individuals, organizations and businesses sustain this program. Some "adopt" families, buying and wrapping gifts that have been requested. Others donate gift cards or make financial contributions. Sheila, Debbie and Betsy make sure ads and mailings go out, communicate with area school nurses and welfare officers, match families with sponsors, field calls on our “Elf Line” and coordinate the drop-off and pick-up of gifts. Sometimes they even go shopping. And the families who benefit are enormously grateful…and tell us so every year!

 “This is truly a blessing to my life this year. It amazes me how this community comes together to help one another!”  

 “I am very grateful. My son was so very excited for Christmas day to come!”

 “Words cannot express how wonderful this whole experience has been.”

For more information or to get involved, call the "Elf Line" at 603-526-4077 x356 by October 30.

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Successful Partnerships Lead to School-Based Flu Clinics

The Greater Sullivan County Public Health Network, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Valley Regional Healthcare, New London Hospital, Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice, Fall Mountain Regional School District, and the Medical Reserve Corps. met on October 2 at the Fall Mountain Regional High school to kick off the first school-based flu clinic of the season providing 101 students with their annual flu immunization. The agencies collaborate to offer school-based flu immunizations to potentially thousands of local students during the fall months.

“This is a fantastic program and Valley Regional is proud to be a part of it,” said Peter Wright, President and CEO of Valley Regional Healthcare. “We have a long tradition of partnering with the schools in our community to keep our children healthy so they can maximize their learning opportunities. Good health and a top education go hand-in-hand!”

The school-based clinics offer free flu immunizations to students in the hopes of reducing influenza outbreaks and increasing access to care. “Flu vaccinations are an extremely important component of community health,” said Jim Culhane, President and CEO at Lake Sunapee Region VNA and Hospice. “Each partner brings such value to the communities, and together, that value is exponentially greater.”

The school-based flu clinics began in 2013 thanks to a grant from the NH Department of Health and Human Services to the Greater Sullivan County Public Health Network. The first year the program vaccinated 200 students in 9 schools. Over the last five years the program has grown as a result of increased partnerships with Valley Regional Healthcare, New London Hospital, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, and local schools including school nurses, and administration. As a result of these partnerships, over 700 students annually receive vaccinations in upwards of 21 schools across the region.

The Greater Sullivan County Public Health Network appreciates the time and efforts of all agencies involved in the school-based clinics. “NLH is proud to join our partners for this preventative initiative. A flu outbreak can place a tremendous amount of strain on a community and a hospital,” said Bruce King, President and CEO at New London Hospital. “We view our participation in the school based flu clinics as a responsibility to the families in our region.”

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Lake Sunapee VNA Selected as Hannaford Helps Beneficiary

Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice (LSRVNA) has been selected as a beneficiary of the Hannaford Helps Reusable Bag Program for the month of October. Launched in 2015, the program is designed to support local non-profits through the sale of the reusable bags. For every bag purchased at the New London Hannaford during October, LSRVNA will receive a $1 donation.

“We are pleased to have been chosen for this special support by our local Hannaford supermarket,” says Cathy Raymond, development officer. “Look for the Hannaford Helps reusable bag rack next time you’re at the New London Hannaford!”

For more information about the services provided by LSRVNA, call 603-526-4077.

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2018 Kearsarge Community Kids' Christmas Project

Be a Sponsor of the Kids’ Christmas Project

Once again, Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice (LSRVNA) is coordinating the Kearsarge Community Kids’ Christmas Project, and there are two ways you can help bring joy during the holidays by supporting local families in need:

  • Make a cash donation to help fulfill the wish lists of area children and families by mailing a check payable to LSRVNA Elf Fund to: LSRVNA, PO Box 2209, New London, NH 03257.
  • Adopt a family and fulfill their wish list. Please call the "Elf Line" at 603-526-4077 ext. 356 to let us know your desire to help.

If you are interested in participating in either way, please contact LSRVNA no later than October 30th.

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Clinicians and Their Laptops…Perfect Together

The Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice annual summer party held on August 22nd at the New London Historical Society was a grand success because of the generosity of so many guests, donors and sponsors. A relaxing evening of perfect matches featured food and drink, family and friends, and a special video presentation starring LSRVNA staff and their laptops! The three-minute video (read on to find the link) was a light-hearted, fun way to present the need for laptop technology, an essential tool for caregivers and clinicians.

  • Clinical field staff including Nurses, Therapists and Social Workers are equipped with laptops to collect patient data, track outcomes, coordinate care with other providers, ensure compliance with regulations and conduct billing. Accurately capturing, tracking and sharing data is essential.
  • Laptops are used in the care plans of more than 2/3 of the 600+ patients on service on any given day.
  • The total number of laptops in use is currently 65-70, each with a lifespan of 3-4 years. 20 units are replaced annually in order to remain compatible with required system updates and ensure that reliable equipment is in service. The cost per laptop is $2,100 plus the licensing fee for each.
  • Our Dell Latitude Rugged laptops feature “touchscreen” technology making data entry more efficient, a longer battery life, a heavy-duty casing to stand up to rugged use over time, and sufficient memory to handle the substantial data demands of health care practitioners today.

To view the video, go to

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New Diabetic Support Group to Begin September 4

Lake Sunapee VNA will offer a new Diabetic Support Group in two locations beginning on September 4. It will be held on the first Tuesday of every month in Valley Regional Hospital’s Library Conference Room from 10:00-11:00am and in Newport Health Center’s Community Room from 12:00-1:00pm.

Lake Sunapee VNA nurse and certified diabetic educator, Lauri Smerald, will facilitate the group.

“I will be there to address questions about things like diet, medications and foot care, but I hope participants will learn from each others’ experiences as well,” says Smerald.

Family members and caregivers of those with diabetes are also welcome to attend. RSVPs are appreciated by calling Lake Sunapee VNA at 603-526-4077.

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Jim Culhane Elected to Lead NH Board

Jim Culhane, President & CEO of Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice and resident of Contoocook, has been elected Board President of the newly formed Home Care, Hospice & Palliative Care Alliance of NH.

A merger of the former Home Care Association of NH and the NH Hospice & Palliative Care Organization, the Alliance is a non-profit membership organization that enhances the ability of member agencies to deliver quality services to NH residents. The Alliance carries out this mission through education, networking, leadership and public policy advocacy.

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