The dust is about to settle on another summer tourist season here in Central New Hampshire. Traffic is lighter, restaurants are less busy, the waterways not as frightening to navigate and the shopping carts at the local supermarket are tucked neatly into their corrals.
Some businesses which depend strictly on the summer season are already sweeping the floors and getting ready to shut down till next year. Others will stick it out till Columbus Day weekend before turning out the lights.
To me, Labor Day Weekend brings a special feeling as I, along with the rest of the staff here, prepare to say our goodbyes to all of those who we helped to enjoy a summer they may have never had the chance to experience; and for that reason we are all very proud.
Of course I am talking about the non-profit I head up “The Air Is A Little Bit Better Here Than Where I Come From Fund”. The acronym is of course TAISLBBHTWICFF, which is impossible to pronounce but recognizable all the same.
I created the fund over ten years ago now. Its purpose to give the opportunity to those who have been deprived of finding suitable accommodations in the Lakes Region during the summer season.
As our brochure explains: “Trapped in the confines of the stifling air in upper middle-class, white collar neighborhoods throughout the Northeast, forced to spend another hot, boring summer smelling salt water day after day along the North Shore of Long Island or the crowded sands of Cape Cod, these underprivileged families, who attempted to make their reservations for a lake front home on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee, but were too late, have no recourse for change.”
I had heard the horror stories; seen the haggard faces of those who had to endure yet another summer vacation at home while those around them embarked on week long trips to rented homes on Nantucket as well as here in the Lakes Region.
Of course, as many of you know, the suffering comes not from being denied a vacation but having to later face your peers and neighbors and painfully explain that “No, we didn’t go anywhere this year, we stayed home.” There are many who have never experienced this inner pain and will never understand.
That is where TAISLBBHTWICFF comes in. We listen, we understand. We have been helping these unfortunate families for years find a place here in the Lakes Region.
The work is hard. Finding an acceptable, five bedroom, four bathroom, fully equipped, centrally air-conditioned, lakefront home is no easy task. Sure, anyone can find a waterfront cabin to spend a week, but we understand often that just isn’t always good enough. We realize the environment these folks will be going back to once their vacation is over so we want to make sure that they will have no shame to face.
Now in its tenth years, we have helped a total of eleven families so far. (Yes, appropriate accommodations aren’t always easy to find.)
Being a non-profit, we are always looking for financial help on keeping our mission alive. The staff at TAISLBBHTWICFF works tirelessly, two months a year (prime renting season), three hours a day (except for occasional naps), searching for the perfect place for one of these unfortunate families to vacation at.
After paying a few salaries (not to mention our fantastic Christmas party) the rest of the funds for the year go to bribing local officials around the lake to make sure planning restrictions are relaxed on new, magnificent homes on the water, each one giving us a new opportunity to help a needy upper-middle class family enjoy a week on Lake Winnipesaukee.
This year was another success as we helped one family from Marblehead, Mass, enjoy a week on the lake in the style that they are used to. This weekend we will say goodbye to them, if they will talk to us.
It will be hard for me, as it is every year, to watch them pack up their Escalade and head off back to their homes, secure in the fact that they won’t have to face the shame of not vacationing in luxury like their peers.
Of course, none of this could happen without our help. It is your generous contributions that have kept TAISLBBHTWICFF alive.
Still, it is with a humble heart that I ask you once again to open your hearts and checkbooks to help bring a deserving Upper-Middle Class family to the Lakes Region next summer.
We could also use the help for our Christmas Party this year.
It’s going to be a doozy.