Our journey began in 2009. Mike Steinberg, founder and then President of Relyco, approached Blue Latitudes owner Jeff Roemer with a question: can we do something together for deserved folks in our community in a way that creates an enjoyable experience and memories for both recipients and potential donors alike?
Mike’s idea was to bring in seniors from local assisted living facilities for a meal at Blue Latitudes that they otherwise might not be able to enjoy. What better meal to celebrate than Thanksgiving? The annual Thanksgiving Celebration was launched!
Mike, Jeff, and a cadre of local leaders from business and the City of Dover have worked to arrange for 350 seniors to be picked up the Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day and brought to Blue Latitudes. Guests were treated to a full Thanksgiving Day meal, served by the donors themselves. Holiday carols and a Christmas gift from Santa topped the whole experience off!
Due to the pandemic in 2020 the whole event had to be reimagined. What if instead of bringing the guests to the meal, why not bring the meal to the guests? The event shifted to a take-out meal format allowing the Thanks4Giving volunteers to deliver over 600 individual meals, almost twice the amount normally served in person!
In 2022 Thanks4Giving was able to provide participants with the option of attending in person, or having their meal delivered to them. The delivered meals are produced and packaged at Roost, Blue Latitudes’ sister restaurant, with the help of young adults and donor volunteers. Thanks4Giving now serves over 850 recipients in the greater Dover area with a meal during this event. The opportunity to have young people work side by side with community leaders has become our way of developing community participation and development for local youths. The sense of “community” enjoyed by all is a perfect way to kick off the Holiday Season!
With the continued support of our donors and volunteers, we expect our efforts to persist for years to come!
Amy is a New Hampshire native, growing up in Manchester and living on the Seacoast for the past fifteen years. After her college years spent at Boston University’s Wheelock College of Education, and the obligatory year living the wandering soul’s dream in Colorado, she returned to New Hampshire to complete her graduate studies at UNH. Amy fell in love with the seacoast and all its charms, and now lives in Portsmouth with her husband and young daughter. Amy was an elementary school teacher for nearly twenty years before transitioning to a new career in real estate in 2022. Amy loves being a part of her community, spending time volunteering with the NHSPCA, and has been a part of the Thanks4Giving charity for over a decade. When she’s not working or volunteering, Amy enjoys keeping busy by taking her daughter Emerson on adventures, baking decadent cakes and cupcakes (and then hiding them from her sugar-loving husband), reading, and trying to understand the mysteries of gardening.
David Richard is the sales manager for liquid fuels and equipment, as well as head of community outreach, for D.F. Richard Energy, a family company based in Dover, NH. He has been a part of the flagship Thanksgiving dinner event for the past three years, and was able to join the board in 2021 to continue his outreach work into the greater Dover/Seacoast community.
Jonathan Roemer is a recent mechanical engineering graduate of Boston University, and graduated from Dover High School in 2016. Jonathan grew up in Dover, and had the opportunity to serve the community through groups like the National Honor Society and Key Club. Jonathan is known for serving as a bartender for two years in Dover, and appreciates the outstanding sense of community that is here and the importance of supporting it.
Jeff Roemer is the owner and CEO of Roost and Blue Latitudes restaurants and co-founder of the Thanks 4 Giving Charity. Along with Mike Steinberg, Jeff started the Thanksgiving Celebration over 13 years ago helping to deliver thousands of Thanksgiving meals to our community seniors during that period. Jeff is also sitting Chair on the Dover Downtown TIF Advisory Board, and a board member of the Dover Industrial Business and Development Authority. A third generation Dover business owner, Jeff was born at Wentworth-Douglas and has lived most of his life in Dover. He is married to Dale Roemer and has two sons, Alex and Jack.
Kate Elwell is the general manager of local Dover restaurants Blue Latitudes and Roost, and has been working at Blue Latitudes for nearly 20 years. She has been on the Thanks4Giving board since 2021, and has been an integral part in organizing the annual Thanksgiving dinner event for the past 10 years. She lives in Milton, NH with her husband Dan, their two boys, Quinn and Declan, and their dog, Stella.
Laurie Steinberg has been a part of the Thanks4Giving organization since its inception. She is a lifelong Seacoast resident, growing up in Dover and raising her own family in Rye. Laurie spent many years working within the young community of Rye as a Title 1 teacher at the middle school, and when she saw the need arise in town, started the T-ball league for the youngest players. In more recent years, Laurie has dedicated her efforts toward the healing arts, working as a Reiki practitioner at Portsmouth Regional Hospital and as an independent consultant. In her spare time, Laurie enjoys reading, travel, and spending time with her seven grandchildren.
Mark Kane is a member of the Dover, New Hampshire community, and a lifelong resident of the area. As an agency principal at Fife & AllKane Insurance, he has worked to provide top-quality insurance services to his clients while also giving back to his community in various ways. Mark has been involved in the Thanks4giving event since its inception. This annual event is a community wide effort to provide Thanksgiving meals to those in need in the Dover area. Mark believes that community is the spirit of life, and he’s committed to doing his part to make his community a better place. When he’s not working or volunteering, Mark enjoys taking advantage of the winter season by snowboarding in the local mountains, and spending time with family and friends. He is grateful for his wife, Monique, and for the many opportunities to serve his community and enjoy the beauty of the natural world.
Mark Leno has been with the Dover Community Thanksgiving (Thanks4Giving) Committee since the very beginning, and has enjoyed taking part in this great worthwhile organization. He is a retired Dover Police Officer, and presently work for the Dover Housing Authority as the Resident Service Coordinator. He and his wife Monica have raised ten awesome children in the Dover area, and now have seven grandchildren to spoil. Outside of his work and community outreach endeavors, Mark loves history and is the author of four local history books. Currently, Mark is working on a fifth book about the history of the Mount Washington Hotel and Tourism in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
Mary Jo Gauthier
Mary Jo Gauthier is an integral part of the Thanks4Giving organization, coming on board in 2010. Among her many roles, Mary Jo’s primary responsibilities include providing administrative support, recruiting and training volunteers, and spearheading the fundraising outreach. She has honed these skills as the Office Manager at Relyco for the last 16 years, and prior to that through her work in the non-profit sector. Mary Jo has lived in Dover for over 45 years, raising her family here. Aside from her work and volunteer efforts, Mary Jo enjoys spending her time researching local genealogy and history.
Melissa Launder joined the Thanks4Giving Board in November of 2022. Her first job out of college was working for an after-school program in a low-income community where Melissa saw first-hand the importance of building a strong community. She worked with her staff to create programs that would give the students a sense of inclusivity as well as provide them with a support network they needed. Today, through her work with the Dover Chamber of Commerce, Melissa works with local businesses to continue to build that interconnected community. In her free time, Melissa volunteers with her local parish's one-table dinner, where the entire congregation is invited to enjoy a meal together at one continuous table. She also enjoys fostering through a local rescue, and helping her fur-babies find their fur-ever homes.
Michael Steinberg is the founder and former CEO of Relyco, an international supplier of specialty papers and payment solutions, based in Dover, NH. Mike is well known within the community for his generosity and willingness to lend a hand. In addition to serving as Treasurer on the Wentworth Douglass Hospital Board of Trustees, he has also served on the Strategic Planning Committee for the Dover Police Department, the Children’s Museum of NH’s Fundraising Committee, the Woodman Institute Museum’s Finance Committee, and he coached for area sports programs. To recognize his efforts, Mike was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the UNH Center of Family Business in 2018, also the Dover Citizen of the Year award in 2019. Mike had the idea to begin feed the food insecure for the Dover Community for Thanksgiving which began in 2009. That annual dinner sparked the idea for the Thanks4Giving Charity which was incorporated in 2021.
Rob Franger is a CPA with local Dover accounting Firm Leone, McDonnell & Roberts, P.A. Rob joined the Thanks4Giving Board in February of 2023 as the Board Treasurer. In addition to the Thanksgiving Celebration, he enjoys volunteer basketball coaching at the high school level.
Sheila Kageleiry has been a donor and a volunteer for the Thanksgiving dinner for over 10 years, and a board member of Thanks4giving Charity since it was officially formed in early 2021. She is a native of NH and lives in Dover with her family.
Shelley MacGregor has been a member of the Dover community for over twenty-two years. She is a graduate of both the University of New Hampshire and the University of New England, where she completed her Masters degree in Social Work. Shelley has dedicated her time and energy to raising her four sons with her husband Doug, volunteering her time in the Dover schools, running local youth baseball tournaments, and heading up the Dover High School baseball Boosters Club. She has been a volunteer with the flagship Thanksgiving Celebration since its inception in 2009, and is now a board member at large of the Thanks4Giving Charity.
Bill Breault has been a police officer with the City of Dover for 25 years and has been the Chief of the department since 2018. Bill has been part of the Community Thanksgiving (Thanks4Giving) Committee since 2017. Additionally, Bill serves as president of Dover Police Charities, president of the Strafford County Chiefs of Police, as a member of the Great Bay Community College Criminal Justice Advisory Committee, a member of the State oversight Commission on Children's Services, as well as the board of the National Alliance on Mental Illness N.H. Bill previously served on the board of the Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce. Bill and his family live in Dover.