Have you heard? Project GRACE is one of 25 nonprofit finalists for Town & Country Federal Credit Union's annual Better Neighbor Fund. We are very gratified to be nominated along with many other worthy Maine nonprofits, including our friends and neighbors at the Scarborough Land Trust!
With just a few clicks, you can help us be one of the 8 nonprofits chosen to win a $5,000 or a $2,000 grant from Town & Country -- please vote for us (every day now through Halloween!) and please share with your friends and neighbors. https://www.tcfcu.com/.../bet.../better-neighbor-fund-voting If we win, the grant will help us help our neighbors with basics like food, clothing, heat, and more... Thank you!
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
Plans are coming together for the 6th Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner, sponsored by Scarborough School Nutrition, Scarborough Community Services, and Project GRACE. We'll be going curbside again this year. Stay tuned for more info and details, including registration links, soon. For sponsorship opportunities, please contact Project GRACE at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 883-5111.
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
Hate and violence are intolerable. Injustice will not just go away. We must all speak up, act to bring about change. Racism is lethal, and thrives in silence.
PROPERTY TAX RELIEF: spring is the time to apply for property tax relief. Visit the assessing page for info about the State of Maine's Homestead, Veteran’s, and Blind Persons Exemptions. Applications must be submitted to the Town by May 17th 2021 (deadline extended). The Town also has its own Property Tax Assistance Program for eligible residents 62 and older who have been Scarborough residents for at least 10 years as of the application deadline, have household adjusted gross income (AGI) of less than $50,000, and have an annual property tax burden in excess of 5% of the household AGI.
COVID UPDATE: The Maine CDC is asking age-eligible Maine residents to make an appointment at a local vaccination site as soon as possible. Maine residents age 60 and over are now eligible for vaccination. Find a vaccination site now. The Maine CDC also reminds all Maine people, although the vaccine is here, COVID-19 is still a serious public health crisis and we should continue to wear masks, practice physical distancing, wash hands often, and avoid gatherings.
RENT RELIEF: More money from the federal CARES Act is coming to Maine for emergency assistance to renters impacted by Covid-19. Eligibility requirements include: income limits, significant reductions in income or receipt of unemployment benefits, and housing insecurity. The program may cover rent and utilities payments past due back to March 2020 and up to 3 months future rent. More info and how to apply here. Funds are disbursed through the CAP agencies; for Cumberland County, this is the Opportunity Alliance in Portland.
Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, and he is forecasting six more weeks of winter...
Have you tried any of these easy and inexpensive fixes to save fuel and funds this winter? Got any other ideas for us?
>> Scarborough Sustainability Committee has more ideas and links to resources here.
More tips and ideas at Efficiency Maine >>Check'em out here!
Save the date for our 9th Annual Rally to Keep Our Neighbors Warm!
Saturday, February 27th 2021.
Stay tuned for details for this year's curbside event!
Thank you, guests, volunteers, and sponsors: we are thankful you could join us in coming together for the 5th Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner. We'd like to especially thank Chef Peter Esposito for his leadership and talent in preparing 1,300 delicious dinners to-go for our community, the hardworking staff of the Scarborough and Cape Elizabeth nutrition programs, Kelly and all the volunteers taking reservations and serving dinners curbside, as well as Scarborough and Cape Elizabeth public safety for making home deliveries and directing traffic at pick up. We're grateful, too, for Darin, Steve, Frank, and Eric for braving the cold and rain and snow to bring dinners and good cheer on Thanksgiving Day. Thank you, one and all, for reminding us we have much to celebrate as a community and for generously sharing your holiday with us! www.thanksgivingscarborough.org
We hope you and your family are well and will have much to celebrate this holiday season!
It's hard to believe sometimes that we are all still dealing with the challenges presented by the pandemic. Project GRACE continues to closely monitor public health guidance from the Maine CDC, and because we are mindful of everyone's health and well-being, we are making changes to our holiday giving events and programs.
This year our in-person events will be curbside, and won't include our usual big community-wide collections of toys, clothing, and presents. We'll miss sitting down to dinner together at Wentworth. We'll miss seeing our good friends who stop by the church hall with presents for the kids. We'll miss all the hustle and the bustle. And we'll also really miss seeing all our neighbors.
But there is still much to celebrate, and we can still give kids a bright and merry holiday. Seniors and families having a hard time can still count on us to care and lend a hand, especially at the holidays.
In lieu of the gifts and special presents the community usually gives so generously, we hope instead you'll consider making a financial gift so we can share the joys of the season with our neighbors.
As we journey forward (who's ready for 2021?!), we hope you'll be well, and that you'll stay connected by visiting us on the web, on Facebook, or by letting us know how you are doing, too!
We're all about being good neighbors, and in this year of challenges, we're still thank-full for our community, our neighbors. This year's holiday season will be different, for sure, but we'll still have plenty to be grateful for, plenty to share and celebrate.
Please save the date for our 5th Annual Thanksgiving Community Dinner! We won't be gathering indoors at Wentworth as we have in past holidays, but we can still have dinner together - we'll just have to stretch a bit to pass the cranberry sauce, see our smiles through our masks! Please join us! All are welcome!
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