Longtime Dover resident Mary Crane was driving from one real estate appointment to another in Dover when she came upon an elderly man lying in the street. She immediately went to him and learned that he takes a daily short walk from his home and that on this day he had lost his balance and was not sure he could get back up. The police were called, and they relocated the gentleman back into his home where Mary noticed a broken windowpane in the cold kitchen. She went into the basement to check on the heat and found the gentleman’s tank was empty.
That evening at dinner, Mary and Eric Morse decided to fill the gentleman’s oil tank, repair his window, and research what resources existed in Dover to help those needing financial assistance. They learned that the churches in town all do a very fine job as does the Council on Aging (CoA), but that virtually every contiguous town to Dover had a volunteer organization to help the needy. They spoke to the CoA as well as to the organizations in the other towns. With counsel from Dover attorneys Jonathan Fryer and Vin O’Brien, The Dover Neighbors Fund was formed to provide one-time temporary financial assistance to residents needing a helping hand.
Interestingly, there would have been no way to anticipate that “the gentleman in the street” would provide the impetus to form the DNF. His home is neither the nicest nor the least nice house in town. On his daily stroll he likely would not mention that he lives alone since his wife’s passing and that the relative living closest to him (in another state) visits infrequently. Or that Winter is approaching, and he needs his tank filled for the cold weather.
The DNF is an all-volunteer 501c3 organization which sends out an annual solicitation for donations. DNF receives referral inquiries from the churches in town, from the CoA, and directly from Dover residents. All correspondence and grants are done with complete anonymity and confidentiality. It is not easy to admit that one needs help. DNF understands that as well as acknowledging that residents of all ages have trouble due to unforeseen family or work issues, health challenges, and other circumstances. The neighbor who you wave to today may be suffering. They are less likely to admit that to you, than they would be to reach out in confidence to the DNF.
Neighbors helping neighbors is a simple, yet powerful concept. Compared to organizations in other towns doing similar work, the DNF is just beginning its work. But in a relatively short period of time, the concept has been validated. The need is real. Even here in our lovely Dover. The DNF relies upon the generosity of Dover families and businesses to raise funds each year for neighbors in need. Your participation is sincerely appreciated.