Food Shelves and Refrigeration Upgrade for Milbridge Food Cupboard

The current Milbridge School Cupboard storage space filled with food. (Photo by Wendy Harrington)

Cherryfield, ME — Good news from Downeast Campus Director Wendy Harrington. Milbridge School Cupboard received a $1,000 grant from Good Shepherd Foord Bank for refrigeration and shelving. The Milbridge Elementary School Cupboard is a Maine Seacoast Mission program funded by Sewall.

Laura Thomas oversees the pantry. In December 2016 the Maine Education Association named Laura Thomas an “Inspiring Educator” for her work in Milbridge.

Celebrating the 6th Anniversary of the Mission’s Downeast Table of Plenty

CHERRYFIELD — Wendy Harrington,  the Mission’s Downeast Campus Director sent this news and photo saying, “I’ve attached a photo of some of the founders of the Table of Plenty at the 6th Anniversary dinner.

“On Sunday, December 4th, the Downeast Table of Plenty’s 6th anniversary, we celebrated the Table of Plenty and the wonderful people who make it so special.

“We celebrated the people who cook the meals, those who set up and clean up, the loyal patrons who come every week, the musicians who share their gifts each week.”

Learn More about our Downeast Table of Plenty.

Downeast Table of Plenty 6th Anniversary

L-R: Linda Rees, Bonnie Johnson, Bunny Look, Alice Duston, Wendy Harrington, Jillian

Wanted: Thanksgiving Fixings for Weald Bethel Food Pantry

Fixings need for Weald Bethel Food Pantry
Cherryfield – Weald Bethel Food Pantry volunteers Morna and Elsie will do anything to help the Mission’s Weald Bethel Food Pantry and feed people. They were at BaySide & 4 Corners Shop and Save in the Town of Milbridge to help raise funds to buy turkeys for the Washington County Food Pantries. The fundraiser was very successful and the pantry has turkeys.

Thanks for helping your neighbors. Now we need the fixings. Will you please help with a donation of food or funds. We need pie filling, evaporated milk, stuffing mix, gravy, flour, sugar and/or stevia.

Our Weald Bethel Food Pantry is set up like a general store to offer nutritious food such as meat, dairy, eggs, whole-grain bread, and fresh fruits and vegetables that are often local and organic.

Last year we served over 4,000 individuals (1,700 households) who had an immediate need for food. Our service area includes the towns on either side of Route One from Steuben to Columbia Falls.

The pantry is located on our Downeast Campus just off Route One in Cherryfield. It is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. On Tuesdays, it is also open from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information or in an emergency, call 546-5853. Learn More: http://wp.me/P7LgU1-8K

The Magic of New Beginnings: One Mother’s Story About the Mission’s Housing Rehab Program

Story by Nancy Saunders
Photos by Scott Shaw

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The Maine Seacoast Mission’s housing rehabilitation program based at our Downeast Campus addresses fixes up or rebuilds twenty houses a year. Repairs and renovations range from painting to insulated mobile home skirting to new roofs. Every year we completely rebuild two mobile homes or houses for local families. The families contribute sweat equity to the rebuilding projects and often have one or more children active in the EdGE program.

Downeast Campus Director of Service Programs Wendy Harrington sent this profile, written by Nancy Saunders, of a mother and daughter who reached out to the Mission’s Housing Rehab Program — and the result. The before-and-after photos are from Housing Repair Program Coordinator Scott Shaw.

“And suddenly you know that it’s time to trust in the magic of new beginnings.” This inspiring quotation, framed and hanging in the hallway of Tara Small’s newly rehabbed mobile home, expresses the sense of marvel she and her daughter feel as they settle into their warm, safe, structurally sound, and attractive home.

The significance to Tara and her daughter of the transformation of their home can be appreciated more fully by stepping back in time less than one year. Their home had leaks in the roof, mold, decaying floor boards, dilapidated siding, little insulation, and an interior dating back to 1968. Tara says her normally outgoing daughter felt unable to invite friends to their home because of its condition.

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Tara’s home before.

Tara herself, after coping with a severe, chronic illness requiring multiple surgeries and hospitalizations from the time she was fifteen years old, as well as a difficult divorce, had all but given up. She became very depressed, tearful, unable to sleep at night nor function during the day. She says “I felt like a turtle, unable to leave my shell.”

Tara applied to the Maine Seacoast Mission’s Housing Rehab Program. This program’s efforts are based on the Housing First philosophy, which asserts that people can improve their lives (i.e, seek employment or education, and become more engaged in the community) only after they have a home that is safe, warm and dry. The Mission’s Housing Rehab Program applicants must be able to demonstrate both financial and housing need, be involved in their community, and agree to contribute 200 hours of “sweat equity”.

Tara was selected this Spring, and work began in the Summer by the many volunteers who come to the Mission for a week at a time, and donate their time and skill to the extensive rehab process. Tara and her daughter became very attached to these groups over the summer. One of them even knitted prayer shawls to match the colors of the new rooms.

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Tara’s home after.

And what colors they are! Tara’s daughter’s bedroom is painted “passionfruit pink with cupcake brown trim.” She placed her bed at an angle, and using PVC pipe, arranged the curtains to create a canopy. One of the groups made a grow stick for her wall. She provided her own decorative stickers and put her porcelain dolls on her dresser.

Tara’s room is purple, which is the awareness color of her medical condition, and it reminds her to be positive and hopeful. She has pictures of butterflies on the walls — delicate symbols of transformation, and a framed quotation which reads: “a dream is a wish the heart makes”.

Their living room is green and its theme is hunting and fishing, which both Tara and her daughter enjoy. The kitchen is blue and will feature light houses and lobster boats. The new cabinets, stove, and hanging pots and pans invite cooking and social gatherings.

The “transformation hallway” features pictures of the volunteer groups, as well as Scott and Wendy. “We will never forget any of them”, says Tara. “It is from the bottom of my heart that I say ‘thank you'”.

Learn More about the Mission’s Housing Rehab Program