WESTBROOK — Sometimes residents are not aware of what their community has to offer.

The Westbrook Interfaith Community of Churches – Vineyard Church of Greater Portland, Westbrook Warren Congregational, Prides Corner Congregational and Trinity Lutheran Church – is hoping to shed some light on that.

The first Westbrook Cares Resource Fair on Saturday will feature a host of local agencies that offer services to residents in need. The idea came from a suggestion made by Police Chief William Baker, according to Joyce Perrey.

Perrey, a member of Trinity Lutheran Church and founding member of Westbrook Interfaith Community of Churches, said the group met several times with Baker and other town officials to discuss what needs had to be addressed.

“We face some difficult challenges here in Westbrook,” Baker said in an interview, referring to various stresses on family life, such as mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence or poverty. “Having the resource fair and taking the information door to door, Westbrook would demonstrate its commitment to helping families with these issues.”

He said the fair is a community outreach effort and will promote the health of the community.

As a prelude to the fair, members of the four churches that make up Westbrook Interfaith Community of Churches went door to door last weekend handing out pamphlets with information on resources and an invitation to Saturday’s event.

Kevin Doepp, assistant pastor at Vineyard Church of Greater Portland, said the campaign was a way to venture into neighborhoods with a message of hope.

“Now we’re introducing people to the organizations and resources face to face. That’s really the idea behind the resource fair,” he said.
Perrey said the Community Partnership for Protecting Children, the Westbrook Food Pantry and the Salvation Army will all be present at the fair. Other organizations will help residents find help for food, shelter, oil, substance abuse, domestic violence, family recreation and more.

“There was a sense where we just felt like we had a whole listing of all the different resources, and some of  us just said, ‘Do people know about this?’ ” Doepp said. “On the whole, people don’t know what’s out there and available to them.”

He said one of the member churches has a thrift store that offers discounted clothing, and another serves a community meal one night a week. However, he said, many people are not aware and miss helpful opportunities.

“There are people out there that really do care … They really do care that I’m going through whatever situation I’m going through,” and want to help, Doepp said.

Said Baker, the police chief: “It’s clear that what sets Westbrook apart is the size of its heart. This community effort to give people hope and lead them to community resources is a cause for great celebration. I an confident through this outreach many lives will be touched and many futures improved.”

Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at: [email protected]