Mission Stays in Touch with Downeast and Island Families with Project ReachOut

by | Apr 21, 2020 | COVID-19 Updates, Maine Seacoast Mission, News

April 21, 2020

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Mission Stays in Touch with Downeast and Island Families with Project ReachOut

BAR HARBOR, ME — Very positive. All good. Appreciative. These are a few ways people are responding to a new Maine Seacoast Mission initiative called Project ReachOut. It is an initiative Mission President John Zavodny said “is based on a simple idea. We are all better off when we connect.”

In response to coronavirus physical distancing, the Mission suspended several popular activities where community members gathered at the Downeast campus in Cherryfield or on the islands to share a public supper, a morning coffee and conversation, musical evenings, and other events. Knowing how important social interactions are in keeping communities strong, the Mission redirected its creativity, finding new ways to do its work. ReachOut is one example.

President Zavodny explained, “Through Project ReachOut, Mission staff and volunteers call Mission friends and neighbors to check in, offer a word of support, and find out how we can help. Sometimes the call is enough. Sometimes we can help in other ways. Always, the personal connection is important.”

Isaac Marnik’s duties as Assistant Director of the Mission’s EdGE programs are temporarily redirected, in part, to oversee Project ReachOut. Several Mission staff, whose daily work is also changed in response to the coronavirus, are making phone calls to about 1500 families involved with the Mission in Downeast coastal and unbridged island communities.

In addition, the Mission is asking for volunteer help to make these phone calls. Volunteers are asked to complete an application and, after training, are provided a list of people to call and a basic call script. As of Monday, April 20, Mission staff and volunteers had reached around 300 families and individuals, said Isaac. Those called include families in the EdGE program, seniors, residents of the unbridged islands, and other households in the Mission service area.

“Everyone is appreciative of the call,” he said. We always ask if the person we’re calling would like us to call again. Many of them say, No, we appreciate your call, but we’re good. Other people ask us to call weekly. And we’ve reached several people with pressing needs such as food or an appliance or car repair,” Isaac said.

If you want to help connect, to make phone calls for Project ReachOut on behalf of the Mission, please fill out and submit your volunteer application online here. You can also email [email protected] or call 207-546-5860 and ask for a volunteer application.

“By staying connected, by helping out, and by focusing on the beautiful response of good people in a time of crisis, we can make more good memories than bad ones. Let’s do that,” said Mission President Zavodny.


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