Check out the “Look What’s Growing!” section on the next page. There’s an item there about Rimol Greenhouse Systems donating a greenhouse to New Horizons for New Hampshire. New Horizons is a soup kitchen, food pantry and adult homeless shelter, and it operates Angie’s Shelter for Women. The high tunnel greenhouse from Rimol will produce lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers, with the goal of cutting food costs for New Horizons, which serves between 200 and 300 meals a day.

This is part of the company’s commitment to giving back to the community and the industry. Rimol has also donated greenhouses to universities, including the University of Vermont, Ohio State University, West Virginia University Extension and, most recently, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension.

The holidays are fast approaching, and it’s a time of year that tends to make you think about extending a helping hand to others. I happen to be writing this on Halloween, so right now I’m just hoping there will be some extending of chocolate-bearing hands to me in the near future. That’s right, I said it. I want some treats, even though I’m not a kid. And I don’t have to worry about giving any out myself, because I live in the middle of nowhere, a land little children in costumes would fear to tread. And if they dared, I would probably steal their candy and cackle evilly as I melted back into the shadows.

It’s just the witch hat talking, I promise. To return from my sinister tangent to the subject at hand: How do you give back? How do you make the world a better place or brighten someone’s day or fulfill a need?

We all have the capacity to give back in our own way. A grower can donate produce to a food shelf, or help build a playground, or organize employees to volunteer at a soup kitchen. There are myriad ways to help out in your community; you just need to be creative.

It’s also important to play to your strengths. This summer I learned that I’m not that great at growing vegetables. I used to think I would never figure out how to crochet like my mom and my sister, but a few years ago I finally did, and now I’m a crochet fiend. (You should see the Frankenpig I made. He’s pretty spectacular.) In my crochet magazines, I’ve seen several opportunities for crocheting scarves, hats, mittens and more for those less fortunate. Keeping people fed may not be the way to go for me (and it’s just as well; I have a magnet on my fridge that says “If it fits in a toaster, I can cook it,” if that tells you anything), but I just may try my hand at keeping people warm.

Look around. See what other companies are doing. Identify unmet needs in your community. Think about what you have that you can share, whether it’s time, money, goods or resources. Act. And then, talk about it, tell your story. It’s good PR, for one thing, but it just may inspire others to follow in your footsteps.

Stephanie Peake