We hope you're warm and cozy today. 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: https://www.efficiencymaine.com/.../weatherization.../
For nearly 20 years, Project GRACE has coordinated a holiday giving program. This year, members of the Scarborough community donated more than a thousand presents (and warm socks, hats, mittens, and more) to the organization. Volunteers collected the gifts from a dozen giving trees around town including ones at the Big20 Bowling Center, Inn by the Sea, St. Maximilian Kolbe Church, Scarborough Public Library, and many families brought special presents directly to us. More volunteers sorted the gifts, wrapped and tagged them, so that the Scarborough Police Department could take them door-to-door right before Christmas to more than 200 children. It was an amazing effort of joy, good will, and cheer at the holidays, and for everyone who helped, we are grateful.We only wish you could have seen the smiles on the faces of the kids!
Thank you! So many Scarborough neighbors brought food to the pantry at our "fixings' food drive and throughout this week, too. An amazing abundance of food, friendship, and good cheer. Maine Properties, Scarborough Garden Club, West Scarborough United Methodist Church, Girl Scouts, Kids First Dental, TBD Connections, Maine Medical Partners, Scarborough VIPs, and so many other groups and families all gave so generously. Thank you, one and all!
Thanksgiving is all about sharing our bounty with family, friends, and neighbors. We enjoy trying new recipes for stuffing, sparring lightly over whether it is pumpkin or apple pie that’s the perfect slice of heaven, and deciding who will bring the favorite must-have sides to complement the turkey, the star of the show. Sharing with others is a meaningful and celebrated custom that draws us closer together during the holidays, and was the core value which led to the formation of long-standing local food drives, generous holiday donations, and six years ago, the Scarborough Community Thanksgiving Dinner.
Among Scarborough’s longstanding holiday traditions are the annual food drives and special gifts to the Scarborough Food Pantry. For the past 10 years or so, Scarborough Kiwanis Club has been donating about 100 turkeys to the Scarborough Food Pantry and School Nutrition’s “Backpack” supplemental food program at Wentworth School. Kiwanis leader, Ava Adams, says the Scarborough Kiwanis Club “always looks forward to providing turkeys to families in our community for Thanksgiving. We hope everyone has a joyful holiday.”
Local businesses and organizations get involved, too. Project GRACE organizes an annual “Fixings” food drive for the Scarborough Food Pantry. This month State Manufactured Homes' Hillcrest Retirement Community sent a bus around their neighborhood collecting donations; Infinity Credit Union stuffed an SUV to the brim with fixings, and neighbors from all over town brought boxes, bags, and bundles of good cheer and food for their neighbors. Many paused to visit, smiling and glad to be a part of something bigger, a part of a generous and compassionate community.
Throughout the holiday season we savor the time we have with those we love, and we think about others. We give, a little or a lot, whatever we can of our time, so that others do not want, so that our community is made whole through caring. This bright spirit still inspires the hosts of the annual Scarborough Community Thanksgiving Dinner. Usually served as a buffet at Wentworth School, but now shifted to curbside pickup, the many businesses, organizations, and friends in Scarborough lend a helping hand. At the heart of it all are the neighbors who come for dinner or pick up a meal for a friend. “Scarborough is a wonderful community with great fabric from the caring, giving, loving folks who volunteer and help others,” says Eddie Woodin, who was among the first to champion the idea of a community dinner.
This year 1,000 roast turkey dinners with all the traditional fixings (and pie!) will be prepared by Chef Peter Esposito and the School Nutrition team. It is an all-hands-on-deck effort, with volunteers from the Town Community Services, Public Works, Public Safety, and the community are pitching in. “I am so proud of my town and the volunteers who contribute time and talent to this annual event,” says Town Councilor Jean-Marie Caterina. “So many of my constituents would have no Thanksgiving without their efforts. Thank you. Thank you.”
Scarborough Public Safety personnel are among the quiet heroes who don chef’s aprons and help in the kitchen, spend hours keeping cars safely moving during curbside pick-up, and go door-to-door bringing a cheery greeting and meal to neighbors. “Thanksgiving is just another way we serve the community,” say Det. Eric Greenleaf and Sgt. Steve Thibodeau. “It brings us great pleasure to assist those who benefit from a home-cooked and heartfelt holiday meal.”
Linda Halleran, Community Engagement Manager at Town & Country Federal Credit Union, reflecting on their annual gift, says, “Scarborough’s annual Thanksgiving Dinner has grown into a wonderful tradition bringing together local businesses, municipal government, non-profit groups and neighbors to serve the community. In the spirit of our ‘Local Helping Local’ initiative, Town & Country Federal Credit Union is pleased to be a sponsor of this event.”
BlueWave Solar is a new sponsor who stepped forward this year to match the leadership gifts offered by Woodin & Co. and Ameriprise of Scarborough. “One of our core values is ‘we do it together,’ and believe in showing up as a member of the communities we live in, work in, and support,” says Alan Robertson, Managing Director of Solar Development at BlueWave. “We are proud to work with Project GRACE and all the partners to ensure all members of the Scarborough community are able to celebrate Thanksgiving with a holiday meal.”
With the warmest of wishes to all our neighbors, with the greatest of gratitude for the love and caring that shines so brightly this time of year, we wish one and all a very Happy Thanksgiving.
Saco Biddeford Savings Institution, Scarborough Kiwanis Club, La-Z-Boy of Scarborough, South Portland Police Patrolman's Association, Prescott Jamieson Murphy Law Group, Inc., Mitchell Family, Carpenter Family, MedCor Professionals, Scarborough Muffler, Scarborough Hannaford, Nancy Erb Coaching, Glidden Roofing, Ron Forest Fence, Friends & Family of Edward Needham, Friends & Family of Lindsay Manseau, Higgins Beach Association, Prouts Neck Association,Town of Scarborough, and many generous friends and families.
Winter and those colder temperatures are coming. Now's the time to get ready to save fuel and funds. Have you tried any of these easy and inexpensive fixes? Got any other ideas for us? We'd love to hear'em!
Who will BEE the smartest team in town? Well, we'll just have to wait and see...(again). After careful consideration, we have canceled the 13th Annual Trivia Bee scheduled for October 28th. This was a tough call to make, as the BEE is our marquis fundraiser and it'll pinch our budget a bit. Mostly, we're disappointed to miss the chance to kick back and have some fun, recognize our loyal sponsors, volunteers, and supporters who make this event sparkle and shine every year. But we'll BEE back in 2022! Trivia champs: you've got extra time to get your team of three ready to compete for trophies and bragging rights! https://triviabee.weebly.com/updates
Please join us and your neighbors for the 6th Annual Scarborough Community Thanksgiving Dinner. Again this year, the community dinner will be a curbside to-go affair and it will feature roast turkey with all the traditional fixings of the holiday - and pie! Scarborough School Nutrition, Scarborough Public Safety, Scarborough Community Services, and Project GRACE are the partners hosting the dinner, together with many generous sponsors and friends. Mark your calendar, we're saving you some pie!
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 (list of what's needed by grade level).
You can bring your donations to the Scarborough Public Library anytime, or come to our drive-thru drop off on Saturday, August 21st 4-6 p.m. in the Oak Hill area by Infinity Credit Union and NT&T at 25 Plaza Drive. Or make a gift today to Project GRACE to sponsor a child's backpack. Thank you!
July has been wet and weedy, but thanks to help from several talented and dedicated volunteers, we've revealed the peppers, chard, celery, and broccoli and cabbages ready to harvest for the food pantry. We appreciate all the help in the St Nick's Community Garden so far this season. Meanwhile gardeners are growing herbs and greens and other delicious veggies at Hillcrest for the pantry each week. Blue Point gardeners are growing, too. Thanks!
Project GRACE's founder, Karen Packhem, is part of the group behind the inspirational VOICES OF HOPE documentary about chemical dependency and Substance Use Disorder in our communities. Initiated by Scarborough S.E.E.D. students, the 12-episode series airs on Channel-13 WGME Saturdays at 7pm. FMI or to find links to episodes, visit https://voicesofhopeandrecovery.org or https://www.facebook.com/VoicesOfHopeME/ There are also opportunities for students to get involved with the project, including social media and film production support.
It's never too late to apply for "Free & Reduced" school meals ... and even though all Maine kids will get free meals this coming school year, it's good to fill out an application to see if you qualify. Brenda at Scarborough School Nutrition can answer any questions (email@example.com or 730-4700).
Have you heard? Feeding hungry kids just got a little easier. School meals will be free for all students this coming school year. Also, Pandemic relief EBT cards are available to qualifying families. Any family that qualifies for free/reduced meals is eligible for P-EBT cards with up to $375 per schoolchild for food purchased at any participating grocery store in Maine, including curbside/online. Apply by August 31st at https://sites.google.com/.../nutrition.../free-reduced-meals. Applying for the 'Free & Reduced' program also helps school districts get their share of federal funding. Call Brenda at Scarborough School Nutrition at 730-4700 for more info or help applying.
Community Services recently reported that the "Meals to Go" program in partnership with the Agency on Aging has provided over 3,300 frozen meals to seniors in our community since July 2020. (Wow!)
Thanks to a generous gift, beginning last February, Project GRACE covered the costs for fresh meals for the seniors participating in the twice-monthly pick ups. We extend our heartfelt thanks to the staff at Scarborough School Nutrition, including Brenda who had the idea of serving meals to seniors and Leslie and her team at the High School for making the fresh 'heat and serve' meals every month. And we salute Sgt. Thibodeau and his colleagues at the SPD for helping to get the meals from the High School over to the Hub. We also thank the caring and creative staff at Community Services who put this great program together for seniors. Nice work, everyone!
Project GRACE has received a gift from a family to provide extras to our neighbors who struggle to make ends meet. We're working with the Scarborough Food Pantry to provide totes of household cleaners during the month of June and July. Neutral or lightly scented cleaners are preferred. Items needed include:
During the month of May, the Scarborough Food Pantry is giving taco dinner kits, and Project GRACE is contributing fresh limes, onions, and sweet peppers. If you'd like to help us build a kit, follow this link to our SignUpGenius. You can bring your donation to the pantry on any Tuesday afternoon (1-4) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if that timing isn't convenient. Don't want to shop? You can also donate to sponsor a meal kit.
What's in a kit? Taco shells, MILD seasoning and sauce, rice, shredded cheese, beans, onion, lime, sweet bell pepper, and ground beef. (PLEASE DO NOT DONATE MEAT, instead give a gift card or the other items.)
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 local camp programs to help offset fees and extend scholarship programs. Earlier this month, Project GRACE's board of directors unanimously and enthusiastically voted in favor of a $1,500 grant to Scarborough Community Services for children's summer camps.
"We make this annual 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." says board president, Alberta Follansbee.
Slip and slide. It's a hoot on a hot summer's day.
Unfortunately, it’s also what happens to a child’s social and academic skills when school doors close for the summer. Ask any teacher, they’ll tell you kids lose as much as two months of reading and math skills in the weeks between the last and first days of school. Research shows most kids lose a bit over the summer, but low-income kids lose the most because they lack engaging summer activities. Many of those same kids also miss out on healthy meals.
But with a camp scholarship, all families can afford for their kids to have a safe, happy, healthy summer.
Did you know, Project GRACE started with an Easter basket giving project? Some 20 years on and we still love eggs! Fresh eggs! A couple years ago or so we bought a new fridge for the Scarborough Food Pantry, and we still give them money for fresh eggs to share with our neighbors each week. It's an 'eggscellent' partnership, and we thank all the dedicated pantry volunteers.
Living on the coast of Maine as we do, we know about ebb and flow. We also know how to weather a storm, make do, and get by. Winter passes eventually; it’s just a question of how long must we wait for the thaw, the first welcome sightings of the harbingers of easier days ahead. As we mark the return of robins and red-winged blackbirds, and the appearance of the sap buckets on the sugar maples, we’re also looking hopefully for signs that we will get back to normal soon.
This pandemic is testing our resilience. We are reminded how much we depend upon our friends, family, and community. After so many months of deprivation, loneliness, and loss, our hunger for community and connection is great, and our compassion for one another is still strong. Perhaps that’s why Scarborough’s fuel rally was a terrific success this year, exceeding all our goals and expectations. >>MORE
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