GREENLAND – Groceries were always a concern for a Seacoast family of five, but it always managed to get by without relying on public assistance.
The dad had a full-time job that paid all the bills for him, his wife, who was unable to work due to a disability, and their three children.
Last week, the father, like thousands of others across the country, lost his job, and just like there was no money coming into the house.
“I was going to call the city to see what options they had out there for us,” the mother said.
She then stumbled upon a post from Red’s Good Vibes on social media that caught her attention. Red’s Good Vibes was granted its nonprofit organization status last month, and is a mobile giving truck that provides support, relief and “good vibes” to those in need.
The mom reached out, and asked for help.
“I was very apprehensive,” she said. “I have never had to reach out for help. We have never been to a food pantry, so it was a little nerve wracking at first. (Good Vibes) was great from the start. They were so nice, very supportive and totally understanding.”
Within a couple of days, Red’s Good Vibes delivered a few bags of groceries, including cereal, milk, bread, pasta, spaghetti sauce, peanut butter, jelly, and noodles. The mom estimated the delivery to be around $75.
“It helped us tremendously, it was definitely a week’s worth of groceries for us,” the mom said.
Red’s Good Vibes was started by three siblings in honor of their late brother, whose nickname was Red. He died 2.5 years ago.
“He was always very active in the community and supporting those who needed relief,” said his sister, Caitlin McGrath-Levesque, a Portsmouth resident for the past 15 years. “This is us living his dream, this is in his honor, and we’re spreading the good vibes that he can’t.”
McGrath-Levesque runs Red’s Good Vibes with her sister Meghan McGrath, and their brother, Michael Dupont.
“Our mission is to provide support and relief to our local communities with a smile and no judgement,” McGrath-Levesque said. “We do no-contact deliveries to people’s homes. All we ask for is an address, the number of people in the family and any ages of kids so we can pack appropriate groceries, and we drop them off at the doorstep.”
Red’s Good Vibes delivers food within a 30-mile radius of Portsmouth.
McGrath-Levesque sends a quick email to the family once the food has been delivered to let them know it is at their doorstep.
“We know reaching out is difficult,” she said. “We try to be discreet as possible.”
Red’s Good Vibes, in the past week alone, has served more than 100 families in the Seacoast, and more than 380 people.
“We are getting new families every single day,” McGrath-Levesque said. “We need the support. We want to remain stocked up so that we can become a consistent food source for people during this pandemic. Some of the people we are serving do not have that consistent food source, so they might be coming back to us for some more support and we want to make sure we can withstand this and keep ourselves stocked. We couldn’t be doing what we are doing without the power of the community behind us.”
McKinnon’s Supermarkets, Dover High School Career Technical Center and HD Fitness in Portsmouth have been Red’s Good Vibes biggest supporters.
“McKinnon’s has been fantastic with donating food, gift cards and reusable shopping bags that we fill the groceries with and leave with the families,” McGrath-Levesque said. “We got a huge food donation from Dover High School Career Tech Center. They donated a lot of food with them closing right now. They donated 30 frozen turkeys to us, as well as snacks and all sorts of non-perishable goods.”
McGrath-Levesque also relies heavily on private monetary donations, in any amount.
“Five dollars buys a loaf of bread, peanut butter and jelly for a family,” she said. “Ten dollars buys milk, juice, cereal, and mac and cheese; every little bit helps. We have been amazed at what can be done with the support from the community.”
The three siblings are all about “spreading those good vibes.”
“Whatever our community is dealing with, whatever challenges they have, we want to be there to support them,” McGrath-Levesque said.
If anyone needs help, private, confidential emails can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, or messages can be sent to Red’s Facebook page, Red’s Good Vibes.