Too many kids in Maine - and in our town, too - are hungry and not getting enough nourishment. When kids come to school hungry, it threatens their futures in profound ways. Hungry kids have a harder time concentrating on lessons and generally score lower on tests, are at higher risk of health problems, tend to miss more school, and are also more likely to experience behavioral issues and social difficulties. Hunger makes it harder to fully participate in school or other activities.
It doesn't have to be this way for our kids. We can help every child start the day with a good breakfast, keep them going with a nutritious lunch, and have snacks on hand when they need a boost.
At a recent school board meeting, Project GRACE awarded the Scarborough School Nutrition Program a $2,500 grant for milk and snacks, breakfasts and lunches, and second helpings, for students whose families are struggling.
Almost 3,000 kids attend school in Scarborough; about 12% are participating in the 'free and reduced' school meal program. Even so, some children need extra helpings to make up for not getting enough food at home. Other families aren't eligible for the subsidies, but also need help feeding their kids. The longstanding partnership between Project GRACE and the schools ensures vulnerable students get the daily nutrition they need to stay on track to succeed.
"We're picking up the lunch tab for our neighbors who want to provide healthy meals for their kids, but can't because of set backs like loss of work, illness, or other circumstances that make it difficult to make ends meet," says Project GRACE's Board President, Bert Follansbee. "There is an abundance of good food available, and no child should have to go hungry. It's unconscionable. Fortunately, our partnership with the schools and the generous support of our donors makes it possible for us to work together to respond with discretion and compassion."
Families in any neighborhood can be hit hard by life events that can cause a family to temporarily fall behind on their bills and have to choose between paying for rent or heat and putting nutritious food on the table.
With the support of community volunteers and groups, School Nutrition's 'backpack program' gives boxes of staple foods to struggling families so they can feed their kids during school breaks and long holiday weekends.That's when kids are most likely to miss meals at home because the cupboards are quite literally bare. School Nutrition Director, Peter Esposito, is working on adding more fresh foods to the boxes, and Project GRACE contributes by supplying fresh fruit like apples, oranges and bananas.
Our community's generous investment in Project GRACE allows us to meet basic needs for kids in our schools so that teachers and students can focus on learning and preparing for a bright future.
Greetings from Hillcrest Community Garden!
There are smiles all around: a community garden is sprouting in the Hillcrest Retirement Community.
The plots are staked and ten yards of organic compost from Benson's Farm in Gorham have been spread and tilled into the ground in preparation for planting.
Part of the garden has been set aside for a shady nook for visiting and quiet reflection. Lovely shade plants for the area at the far end by the woods have been set aside by the Scarborough Garden Club, following their annual plant sale at the historic Hunnewell House. There will be ferns, Solomon's Seal, hosta, geraniums, astilbe, and more! Gardeners who have plants to donate can contact Project GRACE or the Scarborough Garden Club.
We wanted to extend our heartfelt thanks to Theresa Desfosses and State Manufactured Homes for their generous support for the garden project.
A couple of spots will be designated for 'planting a row for the hungry' to send fresh veggies and herbs to the Scarborough Food Pantry.
Thank you, Girl Scouts of Maine -- we just got 240 cases of cookie love! That's 2,880 boxes!! Wow!! We'll be sharing those with our friends at the Scarborough Food Pantry, Judy's Pantry, South Portland Food Cupboard, and more... thank you so much!
2017 marks the fifteenth year that Project GRACE has been extending the circle of compassion that brings together “Neighbors helping Neighbors,” setting Scarborough apart as a very special place. And we're celebrating! >>MORE
Real Estate professionals, have you heard how you can become an agent for social good by working with a local charity to make community giving part of your brand? As a fellow Realtor and staunch supporter of Project GRACE, Jean-Marie Caterina would like to invite you to learn why and how it’s an all-around win to extend our circle of compassion.
"When you engage your clients in a thoughtful, give-back program, it differentiates your business from others. You stand apart as a real estate professional who matches buyers with homes in a welcoming community that matters to them and to you -- more than just someone who sells houses in a one-off transaction. I can personally attest that many clients seek me out because they know I care about the community where they want to live," says Jean-Marie.
So, how can you be part of this and make a meaningful contribution to a worthy charity like Project GRACE? One way is to donate a percentage of a sales commission. Another could be an outright leadership gift from every sale. By doing this, you will be investing in making our surrounding towns and neighborhoods stronger, welcoming and DESIRABLE places to live.
"I believe in the work Project GRACE does so much, I support them every time I make a sale, and I hope you will, too." Jean-Marie Caterina, Maine Real Estate Network
Scarborough High School alumni will be hosting their annual golf tournament to benefit scholarship funds, and Project GRACE, on Sunday, June 4th at Willowdale Golf Club. Project GRACE is hosting the Putting Contest. Players pay to play, with our share of the proceeds going to support our "Investing in Student Success" project that helps kids start the first day of school ready to learn.
Seems like the whole town turns out for ACE Hardware's annual Garden Party at the Oak Hill store! We were there, too, promoting the Scarborough Community Garden. We were joined by the Cumberland County Master Gardeners and the Scarborough Garden Club, who were on hand to promote their annual plant sales, learning opportunities, and offer soil test kits and gardening tips. Thank you, Rebecca, Dan, and Anne and all our friends at ACE Hardware for including us in this Scarborough Spring tradition.
Pictured: Elizabeth Richter (Scarborough Garden Club), Ralph Wink (Cumberland County Master Gardeners), and our neighbor, Becky Delaware who stopped in to say hello.
Project GRACE, the Scarborough Food Pantry, Scarborough School Nutrition, and friends are convening another working forum on Tuesday, March 28th. Many are already making a significant contribution, doing a lot to halt hunger in our community. But there are still unmet needs, opportunities for us to do more, to collaborate for greater impact.
Mainers are hungry. Did you know: Maine ranks 17th in the nation and 1st in New England in terms of food insecurity (hunger). 24%, or nearly 1 in every 4 children, are food insecure in Maine. Here in Scarborough, 17% of our kids are receiving 'free and reduced' lunch and snacks through the school nutrition program.
A lot of great information came to light at the September convening, and it was inspiring to hear what's already happening to help our neighbors. We are pleased to report that as a result of our conversations at the last forum, several actions have already been taken. We are eager to hear what else is in the works, how things are going, and your ideas for what else we can tackle together to halt hunger in our community. We hope you'll join us on March 28th.
Tuna & Canned Proteins Needed for Pantry
PLEASE SAVE THE DATE!
WHAT: PROJECT GRACE 15th Anniversary Party with Maine POPS
WHEN: Thursday, June 15, 2017, 5:30 pm -- 8 pm
WHERE: Memorial Park, Scarborough Maine
COST: FREE admission
A growing number of Scarborough area residents are part of the fabric of Project GRACE. The nonprofit organization engages dedicated volunteers from kids to seniors, partners with numerous agencies, and is supported by hundreds of individuals and businesses large and small. Thanks to all these friends, Project GRACE tangibly improves the lives of community members by confidentially coordinating the interchange of resources between those in need and those willing to share their gifts. Project GRACE answers over 700 calls for help annually.
“Where is Project GRACE? While we work out of an office, Project GRACE is actually wherever we gather and let hope shine,” says Executive Director, Steffi Cox. “It is where we Rally to Keep Our Neighbors Warm; fill a new backpack with school supplies so a child can start the year with confidence to learn; when a group puts together nourishing food baskets; or volunteer gardeners plant veggies at the Community Garden. It’s wherever we stop in our busy lives to care about someone else. It’s also found wherever a neighbor realizes they don’t have to go it alone during a rough patch and that it’s OK to ask for help, for ourselves or for someone we’re worried about.”
Bert Follansbee, President of the Board of Directors, adds “We’ve been at the center of that generous spirit for an amazing fifteen years, and that’s really something. We’re looking forward to taking stock of all that Project GRACE and our community have accomplished. As we begin to imagine what the next chapter could look like, the June celebration with the Maine POPs is a chance for us to appreciate what we can do together.”
Who will be the smartest Middle School team in town?
Find out at the 3rd Annual Jr. Trivia Bee on April 25th!
Have you heard the buzzzzzzz? The place to "bee" on Tuesday, April 25th is the Wentworth School!
Middle School students are already prepping to see which team will answer the most correct questions in a fun trivia competition. In addition to the Jr. Trivia Bee Championship, homeroom teams are competing for Best Costume and Best in Category (including history, math, science, geography and pop culture). All kids will go home winners, because it’s all about participating.
“The Jr. Trivia Bee is on track to be another one Scarborough’s hallmark events, bringing friends from all around town together in support of our kids and Project GRACE’s mission of helping our neighbors,” said Kiwanis Builders’ Club student advisor, Ian Engleman. “It’s an evening of fun and goodwill, but one that showcases the talents of our kids.”
Students participating in the Builders Club have been busy organizing the event, the third hosted by the group. The Kiwanis Builders Club is local service organization of middle school-aged children that meets regularly through the school year. The Jr. Bee also builds support for Project GRACE’s school immediate needs funds, which helps kids whose families’ are unable to afford essentials like shoes and warm clothing, personal hygiene products, and snacks and student lunches during the school year. To attend the Jr. Bee is free (suggested donation at the door is $2). Doors open at 6:30 and the Jr. Trivia Bee competition begins at 6:45 p.m.
Come one, come all to Wentworth School on Tuesday, April 25th to cheer for your favorite team and play along with the contestants. Are you smarter than a middle-schooler? Come to the Jr. Bee and find out!
When you're grocery shopping this week, please pick up some canned protein (tuna, ham, salmon, chicken, etc.) for the Scarborough Food Pantry and then drop it off in Scarborough at the Library or Town Hall. Look for the collection boxes sponsored by the Scarborough Girl Scouts (Daisy Troop).
This event is on our FaceBook, too - please 'like' it and help spread the word. Thanks!
Thank you, all, for braving the cold to rally with us! We're getting close to our $15,000 goal! Thank you!
A lot of great information came to light at the September convening at the library, and it was inspiring to hear what's already happening to help our neighbors.
We are pleased to report that as a result of our conversations at the last forum, several actions have already been taken. We are eager to hear what else is in the works, how things are going, and your ideas for what's next. We hope you'll join us and bring a friend to the forum in March.
Please save the date: Tuesday, March 28th (4:00-7:30)
ScarboroughCalendar.org it's the place to find out what's happening around town. Have you heard? There's a screening of The Empowerment Project documentary, a Building Bridges Dinner, a Winter Walk, and a Robot Bowl, all happening this February! Do you have a community event coming up? Post it on the calendar!
In this season of giving and giving thanks, we are very grateful for your compassion and generosity towards your neighbors. Families gathered together for a nourishing and festive Thanksgiving dinner, homes are cozy and warm, and children and teens all around town are having a happier Christmas because of you.
You take special care to find a wished-for toy; add a thoughtful touch like fresh veggies and fruit, sweets or flowers to a holiday meal basket; choose warm clothes that you would give to your own family; and give so freely of your time to make the holidays more joyful for all.
Those who receive your gifts feel your kindness, and are buoyed by hope. Thank you notes are starting to come in, and we'll post them soon; in the meantime, we wanted to share part of this very special letter enclosed with a generous contribution:
It takes a whole lot of helping hands to make the holidays come together. We appreciate each and every one of you for the care and thoughtfulness and love that you brought to this year's giving project.
Thank you, one and all.
Friends and neighbors from all over town came to Wentworth Café on Thanksgiving Day to enjoy a delicious and festive communal meal. Dozens of volunteers of all ages prepared a traditional holiday dinner with all the fixings under the direction of Chef Peter Esposito, set the tables and placed fresh floral arrangements, served up fifty homemade apple and pumpkin pies, and greeted guests with a welcoming smile.
We are grateful for all who helped make this community meal a great occasion, including the dozens of community volunteers, Scarborough Garden Club, Town of Scarborough Community Services, Project GRACE, Scarborough School Nutrition, Wentworth School custodial staff, and the steering committee: Kelly Murphy, Chef Peter Esposito, Ann LeGage, Brenda Franklin, Steffi Cox, Audra Keenan, Jackie Perry.
We are especially thankful for all who came to Wentworth, because it was being together that was at the heart of it all. We hope you will join us again next year.
Thanksgiving Scarborough deeply appreciates our generous friends and neighbors, including these sponsors:
Project GRACE, with the help of partners and friends, provides Thanksgiving baskets to neighbors in need. To request a holiday food basket, please call 883-5111. This year we are also pleased to partner with Scarborough Community Services and School Nutrition to sponsor a free community meal for everyone.
Project GRACE has signed up to sponsor a couple of "Little Free Libraries", a new program of the Scarborough Public Library to put books closer to home. In addition to encouraging reading, the little libraries also teach kids about sharing and giving. Values we fully support!
Thanks to the Scarborough Primary School PTA, who recently held a Scholastic Book Fair, we'll have some new children's and chapter books for the little libraries, too.
...and while we're talking about access to books, did you know that the library offers home delivery? The Library provides free delivery of materials twice a month to Scarborough residents unable to visit the Library due to long or short-term illness, immobility or age. For those who have difficulty seeing the printed word, the Library also has information about additional services. >>MORE
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