The first day of school looms large in a child's life, and we all want to see kids head back to school with a smile and ready to learn. Which is why Project GRACE and its partners come together in the waning days of summer to help families who might otherwise go without. This year we gave away a whopping 190 school backpacks!! We are very thankful for all who volunteered their time, brought in a full pack, gave supplies, sponsored a child's backpack, or hosted a collection drive or drop-off site. We also wanted to offer a special thank you to Abbott, Scarborough Dems, and Landry/French who contributed dozens and dozens of full packs, and to our friends at Scarborough Public Library, Katahdin Trust, cPort Credit Union, Gorham Savings Bank, Biddeford Savings who graciously received so many donations on our behalf. And to Staples who featured us in their back to school drive, too! Also a very hearty thank you to St. Max for inviting us to use their hall. Thank you, one and all.
Each and every backpack gave a child a fresh start to the new school year. We are grateful, and so are the parents and kids. One parent told us, the packs 'had everything they needed, and more" and a mom said, "I can't tell you how thankful we are; as a single parent, I couldn't have done this myself." And another said, “A backpack is simple but yet makes my heart happy that they got one with all they need, and the choices were great and well packed. The ease of getting them without feeling like a loser as a parent was good too. The volunteers were very friendly and as excited as I to give the bags. Thank you.”
We have exciting news: Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial will match up to $2,500 in Bee sponsorships! WOW! Can you help us earn this challenge gift?!! Please consider becoming a sponsor at any level. Proceeds from this marquis event help us keep our neighbors warm, feed hungry families, and lend a hand to a neighbor going through a temporary rough patch. (Click to download sponsor info.)
Each summer, local children from low-income families can go to area day camps through stipends made possible by charitable gifts to Project GRACE. We in turn give that money to area camps, including a $2,500 gift to Scarborough Community Services.
We make that investment because at camp, children are in an environment that fosters belonging, acceptance, independence and relationships. This experience not only develops social skills, self-esteem and emotional intelligence, it builds future leaders. And kids get healthy meals and snacks to help keep them on track.
Kids will be heading back to school soon, but many families will struggle to provide the basics like backpacks, notebooks, paper, pens and pencils, rulers and glue sticks. With your help, we can ensure all kids start the first day of school ready to learn, prepared to succeed.
Easy as 1, 2,3 -- you can help a child start the school year prepared to succeed:
Drop off Locations
Scarborough Public Library
cPort Credit Union
Gorham Savings Bank
St Max Church (Monday, August 19th, 4-6 pm)
SUMMERFEST! FIREWORKS! FUN!
Friday, August 16th (5-10 pm)
We are a community who has always been quick to lend a hand to our neighbors experiencing a crisis or temporary setback. If you or a neighbor are a Scarborough resident and are without a paycheck because of the federal government shutdown, and need help with fuel assistance, food, or other essentials, please give us a call at 883-5111. (For resources for neighbors in other towns, call 211 Maine.)
- Use curtains or window shades -- open them when it's sunny so you can get solar gain, close them when the sun goes down or during extremely cold spells to add an extra layer of insulation between you and the frigid air outside -- need a quick, inexpensive fix? Try a pvc/plastic shower curtain liner! It can also help to put curtains on a tension rod on doors leading to the outside.
- Close closet doors to keep more of the heat in the room.
- Wear layers - a fleece vest, sweater, or extra pair of warm socks can keep your body warmer, which is easier than keeping a whole room or house warmer.
- Allow air to circulate around baseboards and radiators -- make sure you aren't blocking all that heat by having a sofa or comfy armchair or bunch of stuff between the heat and the rest of the room and you.
- Keep your baseboards and radiators clean -- dusting and vacuuming regularly helps the heat move more easily.
- Be quick about entering or leaving your house -- and make sure you have all your things so you don't have to go back multiple times -- every time you open the door, you've made a 21 square-foot hole in the wall!
- Be heat smart -- if you want heat, raise the setting on the thermostat slowly and stop when you hear your furnace start -- sometimes a little blast of warmth is all you need.
- It's never too late to find out if there are air-leaks that can be fixed with a small investment -- adding foam insulation, caulking cracks, and well-placed insulation can add up over time to more heat and a smaller fuel bill, too.
- Using low-flow shower heads and installing programmable thermostats can also help you save on fuel and funds.
- Install a door sweep -- or make a door 'snake' -- to keep air from escaping under the sill (DIY: sew a long thin cloth tube of scrap fabric, fill it with dried rice, beans, or sand -- something heavy enough to keep it in place). It's amazing how even a small draft can make a room a lot colder, so if you can cut that bit of air out it immediately makes a difference.
- Keep blankets and lap rugs handy and use them. When we sit, our circulation slows down. Keeping a throw blanket over your lap while you're knitting or watching TV can improve your comfort levels without turning up the thermostat.
- Watch your thermostat, and put it down at night or when you leave the house -- some studies show turning your thermostat down by 1° could cut your heating bill by as much as 5%.
Here are a couple tips that might keep your pipes from freezing:
Together we can help our neighbors have a more joyful holiday season. We are hearing from families who are worried about how they'll keep their homes warm, put food on the table, and make sure their kids find a few items under the tree. We also collect items like soaps and shampoos, gift cards, and mittens... Can we count on your help this holiday season?
DATES: Thanksgiving Baskets needed Mon. 11/19
Christmas presents for kids needed Mon. 12/10
Please RSVP HERE TO TELL US HOW YOU CAN HELP
There are several ways to lend a hand: build a Thanksgiving food basket, fulfill a child's holiday wish, sponsor a giving tree, keep a neighbor's home warm this Winter.
The Hive is Buzzzzzing...
Thank you, Sponsors!
Through their Better Neighbor Fund, Town & Country Federal Credit Union makes grants to non-profits, charitable organizations and community groups across Southern Maine to support initiatives that improve the community. Grant recipients are nominated and selected by the public through an online voting process -- and Project GRACE was just voted one of 25 finalists!!
VOTING STARTS OCTOBER 1st
The Town & Country’s Better Neighbor Fund gives away a total of $25,000 to eight non-profits across Cumberland and York Counties to support good works in the community. Since 2010, Town & Country has given away $200,000 to support 64 local initiatives through the Better Neighbor Fund.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
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