60 Volunteers from RiverWoods & St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) team-up to build an epic float for Exeter parade

click to view parade article and view photos on seacoastonline.comGroup hopes to raise awareness for SVdP and the people they serve

Volunteers from RiverWoods and St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) have been planning the winter-themed float since late summer. It's part of a two-year charitable partnership which was recently (and enthusiastically!) extended for another two years. In recent months, RiverWoods and SVdP have teamed up for various need drives including food and supply drives, public education sessions and a poverty simulation hosted at RiverWoods. The most successful collaboration to date was the 2014 RiverWoods Gala Auction to Benefit SVdP which raised a record $100,000 for SVdP. RiverWoods will host another gala fundraising event for SVdP on October 15, 2016.

This most recent parade float project not only strengthens the bond between RiverWoods and SVdP, but also gives back to the greater Exeter community, and community involvement has always been important for both organizations.

Why Saint Vincent de Paul? Quite simply- they help people. With hundreds of volunteers, the SVdP Community Center & Food Pantry in Exeter helps families and individuals in poverty 5 days a week in a variety of ways including; a food pantry, providing emergency financial aid, homeless assistance, budget counseling, dental and medical services as well as a job resource center. SVdP collaborates with other area agencies to provide on-site; tax preparation, NH Employment Security, Medicaid enrollment, fuel assistance and homeless outreach.

A few facts about the parade float:

Conceptual image of the float being built by RiverWoods and St. Vincent de Paul.

  • The parade float motorcade features 40 volunteers (many in penguin costumes) from RiverWoods and Saint Vincent de Paul.
  • The main float will be hauled by a truck and trailer generously on loan from Bell and Flynn.MJ Bailey sporting one of the penguin costumes
  • The 73 foot flatbed features a Christmas tree, simulated campfire for simulated marshmallow roasting, simulated ice fishing pond for simulated fishing, and homemade, multi-color lighted igloo made by volunteers from RiverWoods and SVdP using some 600 one gallon jugs donated to the group in recent months.
  • The float will be flanked by the new SVdP van which was donated to SVdP at the 2014 RiverWoods Gala, along with two RiverWoods shuttles with residents and volunteers on board.