Known for its wild blueberry barrens and, on the coast, its rocky harbors and powerful tides, Washington County is often beautiful but harsh.

The easternmost county in the United States, Washington County is also one of the most economically impoverished regions of Maine and the nation. The county covers an area twice the size of Rhode Island with just over 32,000 residents, or about 13 people per square mile.

The Maine Seacoast Mission has served its isolated coastal towns for over 100 years.

Washington County residents often struggle to make modest livings from land and sea, frequently working seasonal jobs not paying enough to consistently afford basic necessities. Unemployment in Washington County is higher than in most of Maine. Children in the county are particularly at risk; 27 percent live in poverty and experience food insecurity.

The Mission’s education program, EdGE, and its Downeast Campus offering food, housing rehabilitation, and community services, are based in Cherryfield in western Washington County.