People tend to take their trivia competitions very seriously, and at the seventh annual Project G.R.A.C.E. Trivia Bee held at Camp Ketcha in Scarborough, 21 teams came ready to compete with both grace and humor to help raise money for their neighbors in need.

“The trivia bee is a much beloved annual community celebration,” explained Steffi Cox, executive director of Project G.R.A.C.E. in Scarborough. “It also happens to help us help our neighbors put food on the table, keep warm during the winter and get help when they most need it.”

As the exuberant crowd of competitors mingled with supporters of Project G.R.A.C.E., which stands for Granting Resources and Assistance through Community Effort, the anticipation mounted.

Teams outdid one another with silly names and festive costumes. Sam Kelley, Jack Callahan and D.J. Murphy, members of the Irish Mafia team, wore bright green toppers and oversized bow ties, while Queen Bees Kelly Murphy, Donna Beeley and Julie Bassett of the Scarborough Board of Education adorned themselves in yellow boas and tiaras. Yet the import of the evening was not lost on these revelers.

“Project G.R.A.C.E. is an important part of the safety net of the community,” said Bill Donovan, a town councilor who was joined by his wife Molly and fellow councilor Jean-Marie Caterina.

“There’s a huge need, but you don’t see it so much because Scarborough is considered an affluent community,” said Leroy Crockett, who works at Foy Insurance and is on the board of the Scarborough Chamber of Commerce. “People are reluctant to ask for help, but they need it.”

Town Manager Tom Hall, Police Chief Robert Moulton, Catherine Morrison, the assistant director of the Scarborough Public Library, and Andrea Killiard and Ginny Ketch of Piper Shores all came out to support the organization, which is well-known for its successful backpack program, fuel assistance fund and food and toy drives during the holidays.

The Levey Day School in Portland joined the effort. “It’s an interfaith thing,” explained Gerri Chizeck of Cape Elizabeth, who was part of the Macca-Bees team with her friends Diana Staples and Debbie Kanter of Portland. “We want to join with all faiths to support those who need help.”

For more information about Project G.R.A.C.E., please visit projectgracemaine.org.

Margaret Logan is a freelance writer who lives in Scarborough. She can be contacted at her website:

margaretlogan.squarespace.com