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!
Who will BEE the smartest team in town? We'll just have to wait and see! We care about you and the well-being of our community, and have canceled the 13th Annual Trivia Bee , which was scheduled for later this month at Camp Ketcha.
Although we won't be gathering in person this year, we will BEE returning to the Hive at Camp Ketcha in 2021 . Please mark your calendars and plan to join us for fun and fabulousness for Scarborough's funniest fundraiser.
Save The Date: Thursday, October 28th 2021
Players in teams of three will test their trivia knowledge and compete for bragging rights! Biddeford Savings will host the Game Hive where you can try your luck for prizes, SoPo Catering will offer delicious catered treats, and the swinging sounds of our hometown "Crooners" will set the mood. Emcee Blake Hayes , our Referee Dwayne , and our panel of esteemed judges "the Nurses" will take center stage as usual!
Proceeds from this marquis event help us keep our neighbors warm, feed hungry families, and enable us to lend a hand to a neighbor going through a rough patch. Please stay tuned for news on how you can support our mission of neighbors helping neighbors. In the meantime, be well, stay safe, and please let us know if you or a neighbor need help .
Community Helps Students Get Back to Class With Confidence
Thanks to caring neighbors, 185 kids went back to school ready to succeed with sturdy new backpacks brimming with school supplies, plus extras for the classroom. Once again we were impressed by our community's generosity and the care put into making the packs 'just right' for the kids. It all added up to a great start to the beginning of this very unusual school year. One parent told us, the packs "had everything they needed, and more" and a dad said, "As a single parent, I couldn't have done all this for my kids myself, thank you." >> More Thank You Notes
We are thankful to all who volunteered their time, brought in a pack, gave supplies, sponsored a child's backpack, or hosted a collection drive and helped us with the drive-through drop-off. We especially wish to thank Ann and the team at Scarborough School Nutrition and the school bus drivers for their help in getting many of the packs to families, and to Scarborough Public Safety for the use of their community room and help hosting the drive-through collection. Our appreciation also goes out to our co-leaders, Kelly Murphy and Jodi Shea, and to volunteers Ralph, Bert, Linda, Deb, Peggy, Hilde, and Sharyn.
So many neighbors helped us make this community effort such a resounding success again this year.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law March 27, 2020, provides additional funding for various programs authorized by the Older Americans Act of 1965. SMAA, serving as a pass-through agent for these new federal relief funds, launched a competitive grant application process. Project GRACE is honored to be among those to receive funding.
Have you heard? The Scarborough Food Pantry and South Portland Food Cupboard are open and have made changes to their hours. The Scarborough Food Pantry is open Tuesday and Thursday afternoons (1:30-4:00 p.m.) and the South Portland Food Cupboard is open Thursday mornings (8:30-11:00 a.m.) and also now Tuesday mornings (10:30-Noon). Both pantries are operating safely with curbside service. FMI and links: https://tockify.com/scarboroughcc/detail/1275/1600315200000
Trivia Bee Postponed to 2021
While it was a difficult decision to make, we have canceled our 13th Annual Trivia Bee fundraiser which was scheduled for October 22nd this year because we care about your safety and the well-being of our community during the pandemic.
Although we won’t be gathering in person this year, we will BEE returning to Camp Ketcha next year! Mark your calendars for Thursday, October 28, 2021 and plan to join us in the hive for Scarborough's funniest fundraiser.
Meanwhile, we will be announcing soon how you can support our goal of raising funds for our mission. With your help, we can lessen the impact of coronavirus on our neighbors.
Thank you for your support during this challenging time for our organization and our community as a whole.
Anyone else feeling a little sheepish (ha-ha) about the extra TP stashed away? Bring your spares to our curbside Food & Essentials Drive for the Scarborough Food Pantry on Wednesday, July 15th from 4-6 p.m.! We're collecting non-perishable nutritious food for our neighbors, as well as household essentials like toilet paper, paper towels, dishwashing soap, household disinfectant sprays, and hand sanitizer! Grocery, Walgreens, and ACE gift cards are helpful, too.
This is a curbside drop-off event, and we ask that you please remain in your vehicle and wear a mask, so volunteers can assist you.
The pantry is at the 1st Congregational Church, 167 Black Point Road. More info will be posted here by Friday.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
Visit us on FaceBook