Thanks to our friends, we are well on our way to winning a #GivingTuesday match challenge! In support of our mission, Art and Belinda Ledue have issued a $2,500 matching challenge for our Neighbors Helping Neighbors Fund through November 30th, 2023. For more than 20 years, Project GRACE has been helping neighbors and investing in our community through collaborative projects. There are lots of nonprofits like us who depend on your support, and whether you give a little or a lot, it all adds up for the good of our community. Thank you! https://www.paypal.com/donate/...
Small Acts of Kindness Build Resilient Communities
Excerpted from "In the Know", Scarborough Leader by Steffi Cox, Executive Director, Project GRACE
The other day a friend was encouraging Project GRACE to do a food collection, put out a box somewhere. When I mentioned the library had been doing that for us already for a long time, she was glad, but also genuinely surprised. She goes to the library often, but had never noticed the box by the bulletin boards. Sometimes the library is helping us collect school supplies, holiday presents for kids or new warm socks. Mostly the box is brimming with cans and boxes of food for the pantry. It was right there all the time, out in the open, but caught up in her own busy-ness, my friend didn’t see the opportunity.
The holiday season comes as the days are at their shortest and darkest; as the cold seeps in and takes hold, the holidays envelop us in the brightness of the hustle and bustle, the excitement of dashing about to check things off our lists, and the joy and anticipation of being reunited with our nearest and dearest. The holidays are exciting, feeding us, knitting us together, giving us the opportunity to be a part of something bigger, bolder, brighter.
Mainers look out for their neighbors. We give. A new report from the personal finance web site WalletHub.com put Maine near the top of the list of charitable states (our rank was #5!) and even higher (#2) when factoring in volunteering. We can see proof right here in our own neighborhoods. Look at the bounty under the holiday trees popping up all over town, collecting presents for children, warm hats and mittens, and more. Stand still for a moment, take in the warmth of friendly chatter of our neighbors at the many charity craft fairs, see how our neighbors transform a stitched or knitted this or that, a hand-crafted treasure or deliciously baked treat, into hard earned dollars for change and charity and community. Know that your favorite nonprofit(s) are grateful that you took the opportunity to donate to a #GivingTuesday or year-end appeal so that with your support they can continue to fulfill their missions for the greater good.
So much of the news of the world and closer to home is tragic beyond measure. It can weigh us down with shock, anger, fear, and anguish. Grief sits heavy in our hearts these days. There is a disturbing and persistent sharpness in our public voices that chafes at our ability to work together. But stop. All of that is outweighed by all the good that happens every day. The small kindnesses and acts of conscience and compassion add up, move us forward, and knit us together with common purpose. Our everyday actions of persistent good neighborliness are building a strong foundation for resilience. No matter what comes our way, we can lift the heavy load and go forward together. I see that hope nearly every day working for Project GRACE. And if you look about as you go about your every day, you can see it too. Don’t miss the opportunity.
Would you like to host a Giving Tree or start a holiday collection for us this season? Let us know! We need most gifts by December 15th/16th.
What's under a tree? So that kids around town and our neighbors have a merrier holiday, we're asking for help collecting traditional holiday gifts like: new hats and mittens, cozy socks for kids and adults, new toys for kids of all ages, craft kits and games for families, pajamas and read-aloud books, hoodies for kids and teens, shampoo and hygiene items, and spices for the food pantry.
Grocery and retail cards as well as gifts to the Keep Our Neighbors Warm fuel fund or our Neighbors Helping Neighbors fund are also very much appreciated.
Three food pantries, three communities, one united effort to feed our neighbors
Sunday NOVEMBER 12
3PM-6PM @ POND COVE IGA (Ocean House Road, Cape Elizabeth)
Friday & Saturday NOVEMBER 17 & 18
10AM-2PM @ PAPE SUBARU (2065 Broadway, South Portland)
Saturday NOVEMBER 18
11AM-1PM @ TOWN HALL / PUBLIC SAFETY (259 Route One, Scarborough)'
What's Needed? Nutritious nonperishable foods, shelf-stable proteins like canned tuna or ham or chicken, and 'fixings' for Thanksgiving dinner like stuffing, instant mashed, cranberry sauce, pie mix and canned fillings. Pantries also need CASH, CHECKS, & ONLINE DONATIONS.
At the holidays we are thankful for the bounty on our tables, we treasure our time with friends and family gathered round to celebrate. But we also know some of us are lonely or hungry or looking for a way to connect. Like others Project GRACE yearned to answer that need, through our “Food for Thought & Action” initiative, we brought like-minded people in a room together. Project GRACE was a catalyst for the first and subsequent years, a founding member of the collaborative that created and invested in the Community Thanksgiving Dinner. Like our partners at School Nutrition, Community Services, and Public Safety, we gladly contributed our time, treasure, and talent to give lift and a strong foundation for an event, now in its 8th year, that nourishes our community.
Held on Thanksgiving Day (11-1) at Wentworth, volunteers serve a traditional holiday meal of roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, squash, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, gravy, dinner rolls, & pie. Save your seat at the table, rsvp here.
We pause to reflect, remember and honor, and work for peace this Veterans Day. Maya Angelou says, "a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people." One of Project GRACE's dearest was Jack Callahan, a hero who honorably served his country in the Marine Corps. In the years that followed, he quietly and faithfully made this place better. Today, we remember and honor, Jack. We truly miss you and remain grateful for your service.
Tis the Season! (Almost!) We're getting ready for the holidays, and one of our favorite ways to get into the holiday spirit is to check out the charity craft fairs. The one at Bessey Commons next weekend will benefit Project GRACE this year. Find gorgeous handmade crafts, pick up a treat the bake sales, or take a chance on a raffle. You can find a few of the craft fairs and more holiday happenings on the Scarborough Community Calendar (If you don't see your event, click the green button at the top of the calendar page to post) or email us.
Maine Association of Nonprofits today shared resources and information for caring about our communities in the wake of the tragedy in Lewiston. You can find them here: https://tinyurl.com/mwsmcs33 including NAMI and StrengthenME helplines.
The last several days have been shocking, painful, and deeply distressing. We extend our deepest sympathies to our neighbors in Lewiston, and to all who are affected by this senseless tragedy. As we make our way forward together, grieve, and help our communities recover and heal from the unfathomable violence, it can all be overwhelming. There are services that can help us take care of ourselves and others, help us cope and support each other. If you or someone you know is in crisis and in need of immediate support, call the Maine Crisis Hotline at 1-888-568-1112.
The Autumn & Ales Race, hosted by MEND Health, Nonesuch River Brewing and friends, is happening on Saturday, October 21st! Race organizers are also collecting NEW socks for kids, teens, and adults at the race. For more info, visit the race site here. Project GRACE is one of the named beneficiaries, and we're grateful to all the sponsors!
Who will BEE the smartest team in town? Who will have the best team name, the best costumes to impress the judges, and who will take home the most trophies and bragging rights after an evening of lively competition with friends and neighbors?! Find out Thursday, October 26th at the 13th Annual Trivia Bee. Our marquis event is back, celebrating bee-ing good neighbors and Scarborough's wonderful community spirit!
Players in teams of three will return to Ketcha Outdoors to test their trivia knowledge. Emcee Blake Hayes along with referee Dwayne Hopkins and our panel of esteemed judges "The Nurses" will take center stage. Visit the Game Hive where you can get some "Bee Bling" and try your luck for prizes. Delicious catered treats by Churchill Events, a cash bar, and the swinging sounds of our hometown "Crooners" will set the mood for a fabulous, fun evening! You won't want to miss the return of the Bee!
Please RSVP by October 20th for "early bee" rates.
Sponsorships and event proceeds benefit Project GRACE. We're neighbors helping neighbors, and we rely on your generous support!
Thanks to a gift from our friends at Bessey Commons and a grant to spark a few of our volunteer projects, we could give lunch boxes and a freezpak, sturdy water bottles, quick-dry beach towels, sunscreen and bug spray for campers at Ketcha Outdoors. South Portland Food Cupboard and Scarborough Food Pantry chipped in with lots of snacks; a grocery gift card for fresh fruit, veggies, and fixings for lunches was also included.
Kids are heading back to school soon. Together with our friends at the food pantry, we'll be hosting a food drive on Thursday, August 10th to collect healthy school snacks like granola bars and fruit cups, jello and pudding cups that don't need to be refrigerated. Gift cards to grocery stores and snack baggies are always welcome, too!
The Scarborough Farmers' Market is a great place to pick up some delicious local produce, fresh eggs, baked treats, handcrafts, and more. Happening every Sunday 9a-1p at the lot in front of town hall, look for the nonprofit tent showcasing all the good going on in our town, too! https://www.facebook.com/scarboroughfarmersmarket/ In its second season, Scarborough's nonprofit tent is a join collaboration of the Scarborough Public Library, Project GRACE, and the Scarborough Farmers' Market.
The return to school will still have us adapting to changes, but one thing's for certain: kids will need school supplies at home as well as at school. We are gearing up to give families a helping hand. We'll need the usual items: new sturdy backpacks, pencils and pens, erasers, markers, glue and tape - check our SignUpGenius for what's most needed. (printable list by grade level).
Donation boxes will be popping up soon around town (stay tuned for a list!) or bring your donations to the Scarborough Public Library on August 14th. If you'd rather not shop, please consider making a gift today to Project GRACE to sponsor a child's backpack. Thank you!
MEND Health & Wellness of Maine and NRB (Nonesuch River Brewing) have nominated Project GRACE, Holy Cross School, and Scarborough Land Trust as beneficiaries of the Autumn & Ales 5K, 10K, 1/2 Marathon to be held in Scarborough on Saturday, September 16th. To run, donate, or sponsor, follow this link. This race is perfect for runners of all levels, whether you're a seasoned athlete or just starting out. The course starts at the Libby Mitchell American Legion Post #76 and takes runners along the Eastern Trail and through the gorgeous Scarborough Marsh. Project GRACE is grateful to be among this year's chosen beneficiaries.
Anita Chandler (right) president of Altrusa International Foundation of Portland presented the annual "Volunteer of the Year" award to Sharyn Shearer at their club dinner recently. Attending were Project GRACE board president, Alberta Follansbee, and executive director, Steffi Cox.
About 80 area nonprofits were invited to submit nominations, and we're thrilled Altrusa choose Sharyn to receive their esteemed award.
"Sharyn is an exceptional representative of the hundreds of volunteers who are at the very center of our mission to help our neighbors through difficult times, inspire our community to come together for common cause, and do so with dignity, compassion, and grace," said executive director, Steffi Cox.
Project GRACE receives dozens and dozens of thank you notes from recipients of our services; and though addressed to Project GRACE, they are intended for the volunteers like Sharyn. In addition to volunteering for Project GRACE, Sharyn has helped with activities at her church, St. Maximilian-Kolbe, been very active with the South Portland Food Cupboard, and over the years has quietly and steadily made our community a much more caring place.
"Throughout her more than twenty years with Project GRACE, Sharyn has been a steady source of wisdom, helping us keep true to our founders’ vision of a neighbor helping neighbor group that lifts up, rather than enables, that is welcoming and friendly, and gives with generosity," said board president, Alberta Follansbee.
We are grateful to the Altrusa International Foundation for giving us the opportunity to shine a light on the good work being done by Sharyn and our many volunteers. Please join us in congratulating, Sharyn!
Who will BEE the smartest team in town? We'll find out soon! We will BEE returning to the Hive at Ketcha Outdoors (Camp Ketcha) onThursday, October 26th 2023! Please mark your calendars and plan to join us for fun and fabulousness for Scarborough's funniest fundraiser. Team registration and sponsorship information coming soon!
Scholarships, Jobs, Apprenticeships, & Careers
Teens and recent high school grads are invited to stop by the Scarborough Public Library on Wednesday, May 17th (4:30-7pm) to find out about job and careen resources, meet up with employers, learn about scholarships and financial aid for continuing education. All teen attendees 15-19 years of age are eligible to enter a drawing to win a $250 scholarship and gift cards and door prizes, too.
Attention Employers! We're developing a 'job board' for teens to click a qr code with a link to your website or other job board lists to see available opportunities. If you have an opening or internship, please complete our employer registration form here. We'd love for our local talent to find a fit with your company!
SPONSORS & AttendeeS
Maine Department of Labor Career Center, Finance Authority of Maine (FAME), Penobscot Job Corps, Scarborough Grounds, Scarborough Community Services, Ketcha Outdoors, Ron Forest & Sons Fence Co., Black Point Inn, Scarborough Public Safety, Goodwill Northern New England, US Army / National Guard, Journey-Magazine, and more!
A new heating assistance fund called Keeping Cumberland County Warm is available to income eligible Scarborough residents. This one-time grant program is federally funded and allocates $50,000 for each municipality in Cumberland County. Project GRACE is supporting the grant program administration in Scarborough by facilitating the application process. The application period is open from now through April 10. Find all of the program details and a downloadable application here. Paper applications are available at Town Hall or Scarborough Public Library. Project GRACE is also available to initiate an application over the phone; call (207) 883-5111 or visit our volunteers in person at scheduled dates at the Scarborough Public Library.
We hope you're warm and cozy today. There's a lot you can do to make your home warmer, to save you money and fuel. To snug a drafty window or door, draft stoppers are easy to make, but if DIY is not your thing, a rolled up towel works just as well. Or put a layer of shrink film, plastic shower curtain, sheet, etc. between the window and drapes. (If your budget is too tight for supplies, give us a call at 883-5111.) You can pick up a copy of Efficiency Maine's new tip booklet at the Scarborough Library (they're over by the bulletin boards). For long-term fixes, Efficiency Maine can help weatherize your home. FMI here: www.efficiencymaine.org
Have you tried any of these easy and inexpensive fixes? Got any other ideas for us? We'd love to hear'em!
Come one, come all to the 11th Annual Rally to Keep Our Neighbors Warm!
Saturday, February 11th Project GRACE, the Town of Scarborough, Public Safety and the Fire Department, Scarborough Library and Friends of the Library, Scarborough Kiwanis, Rotary, and Lions, along with the Historical Society and Audubon Nature Center will be at Town Hall and the Public Safety Building. Join us! Visit with your neighbors and help us raise $20,000 for fuel assistance. Stop in 10-Noon at the Town Hall or make a donation curbside.
There will be a bake sale, book sale, informational tables and live music! Bottle drive and a warm sock drive, too! Preorder delicious chili and chowder made by Bread & Butter Catering Co and pick it up at the Rally.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
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