Local teen provides blankets to the Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter

NASHUA – Most 13-year-olds today spend their free time playing video games, chatting with friends, or just relaxing.

Kieran Hummer, however, takes a different approach. This is his eighth year collecting and distributing blankets for those in need via “Kieran’s Kovers.”

Hummer and his family have traveled a lot. His mother, Marion, said he is acutely aware of his surroundings when it comes to those in need. She said it really bothered him when he would see people in boxes who owned so little and who had nowhere to go.

The Hummer family started organizing the blanket drive when Kieran was in first grade, after they had returned from New York City after watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Hummer’s mother, Marion, recalled that after witnessing the many homeless individuals on the streets of New York, her son suggested that they buy blankets and distribute them.

When the family returned from New York in 2012, Marion decided to help her first-grade son organize a blanket drive with the assistance of Kyle Langille, who was the principal at the Bicentennial Elementary School. That year, the drive yielded 98 blankets.

The program has since grown and Kieran’s Kover blanket drive now has drop centers at two YMCA locations – Nashua and Merrimack – as well as the Bicentennial Elementary School and Presentation of Mary Academy in Hudson, where Hummer currently attends school.

“It started out small and I think that we just thought he would do it for a few years and contribute,” Hummer’s mother said about the start of the program. She said she now believes that her son will run the program well into adulthood.

As the program has grown and Hummer has moved on to attend Presentation of Mary Academy, he cited his schooling as one of the reasons he continues to organize the blanket drive.

Through his religion classes, Hummer said he is learning more about morals. Hummer said it is not hard to give to those who don’t have anything.

“It really helps thinking about that stuff because we talks about how Jesus told us to see what we have,” Hummer said. “We only need a simple life, which is just enough to keep us alive.”

Hummer said he has been fortunate enough to enjoy much of life’s privilege, so he sees donating the blankets to those in need as just a small part of his day. He said it doesn’t take much time, as long as he can help those in need.

“I can see how much I have and how easy it is to just give a little to other people,” Hummer said.

Through the years, Hummer’s work has not gone unnoticed. In his second year of running the program, he received a Youth Service Award at the 2013 Spirit of New Hampshire Awards in Concord.

Hummer now teams with the Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter to provide blankets to homeless residents and others in need.

In addition to collecting the blankets, Hummer and his mother said they also get winter clothing, such as coats, hats, gloves and mittens for the shelter. She said the shelter will then make Christmas baskets for the residents during the holiday.

“We’re very grateful for the work,” Soup Kitchen Director of Resource Development Carol Weeks said. “It takes a big effort, because you have to find a place that agrees, and you have to pick them up and drop them off.”

Weeks said Hummer has handed out blankets during previous drives. She expressed a great appreciation for the blanket drive and the work Hummer has done through the years.

Hummer and his family also drop off extra items at the Southern New Hampshire Rescue Mission. Hummer and his mother said they want to make sure any donated item is used, be it new or well worn.

In the past years, Hummer and his family took blankets to New York and donated them to the Coalition of the Homeless. There, they set up a table and distribute them to individuals heading in and out of the shelter.

Prior to the beginning of this year’s blanket drive, Hummer and his family collected and donated approximately 3,000 blankets to the Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter. The drive is wrapping up at the Bicentennial Elementary School, but the YMCA locations will be collecting blankets until Dec. 21.