Tradition of Holiday Giving Continues at Hunkins and Eaton Insurance Agency in Littleton, New Hampshire

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A decades-old tradition of giving back to friends and neighbors at Christmas continues this year, through the efforts at one of Littleton, NH's oldest businesses.

Anita Sjolander, left, and Heather Glover of Hunkins & Eaton in Littleton wrap up a holiday tradition helping Catholic Charities fill the lists of children in the local area

Anita Sjolander, left, and Heather Glover of Hunkins & Eaton in Littleton wrap up a holiday tradition at the insurance agency, helping Catholic Charities fill the lists of children in the area so they

"We've been doing it for at least 40 years," said Greg Eastman, whose family has owned Hunkins and Eaton since 1957. "It's what we've done instead of a staff Christmas party."

Since the early 1970s, employees at the Hunkins & Eaton Insurance Agency have worked with the local office of Catholic Charities to provide toys and clothing so that children in the region who might not have presents under the tree have gifts to open on Christmas morning.        

"We've been doing it for at least 40 years," said Greg Eastman, whose family has owned Hunkins and Eaton since 1957. "It's what we've done instead of a staff Christmas party."

Donna Cruikshank, who has worked at the agency since the 1970s, remembers when a representative of Catholic Charities told of the need in the area for families who were struggling that year. "We decided to forego a holiday party and with the list Catholic Charities gave us, we went shopping," Cruikshank said. "Every year since, that's what we've been doing."        

NH Catholic Charities opened an office in Littleton in 1969 and coordinator Tony Poekert said it was only a year or two later Hunkins and Eaton began working with the agency. "It's a Main Street business that has been very faithful to our program," he said.        

On Dec. 13, Hunkins and Eaton employees Heather Glover, Anita Sjolander, Teresa Dodge and Cruikshank, in on her day off, spent a couple of hours wrapping more than two dozen presents. The gifts, Cruikshank said, are not unlike the ones she and her co-workers shopped for about 40 years ago.         "The pricing is different," she said with a laugh, "but they basically want the same things - winter boots, ski pants, hats and mittens. We buy them books and toys, but the children have always asked for very sensible things."        

Patricia Eastman, who, with her husband, Winton, bought Hunkins & Eaton Insurance Agency in 1957, always made sure there was an extra present under the tree. "Pat always gave us money so we could buy something for the mothers, something pretty, like a scarf, so they would have something under the tree, too," Cruikshank said.        

As Christmas Day approaches, Poekert said his agency will be dealing with some last minute requests to help families and donations are welcomed this week to provide for them.    

Hunkins & Eaton, founded in 1880, is one of the oldest continuing businesses in Littleton, NH providing personal and commercial insurance. It also has an agency in Lisbon, NH.        For more information, visit http://www.hunkins-eaton.com or call 603-444-3975.

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