LIZ GOTTHELF/Journal Tribune. Diane Lockhart, owner of Tanglez Hair Salon, cuts a woman's hair at First Parish Congregational Church, UCC in Saco, Monday.

LIZ GOTTHELF/Journal Tribune. Diane Lockhart, owner of Tanglez Hair Salon, cuts a woman’s hair at First Parish Congregational Church, UCC in Saco, Monday.

SACO — The spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. was alive at First Parish Congregational Church, UCC, during the church’s annual day of service in Saco on Monday.

Since 2008, the church at 12 Beach St. has opened its doors on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to provide a number of free services to those in need. Christian Education Director Kris Galasyn founded and organized the annual event, which is inspired by the words of King, who said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’”

LIZ GOTTHELF/Journal Tribune. Butterscotch Sundae, known as Scotch, a therapy dog registered with Therapy Dogs International, greets people at First Parish Congregational Church, UCC in Saco, Monday.

LIZ GOTTHELF/Journal Tribune. Butterscotch Sundae, known as Scotch, a therapy dog registered with Therapy Dogs International, greets people at First Parish Congregational Church, UCC in Saco, Monday.

The church was buzzing with activity around 11:30 a.m. Monday. Some were seated to enjoy an early lunch of American chop suey and soup or snack on coffee and cookies and other sweets. Some lined up for health services provided by University of New England medical students and local providers including health screenings, foot care, chiropractor sessions and osteopathic manipulations.

Others took a moment to visit with a therapy dog named Butterscotch Sundae, “Scotch” for short, and still more quietly browsed a selection of used books.

Parishioner Jane Kircher, who was helping to oversee a shoe distribution station, said  a young woman came in earlier that day who was training to be a nursing assistant and needed shoes to wear with scrubs. The church happened to have a pair of the exact shoes she needed in her size. “I call that a God story,” said Galasyn.

There was also gently used clothing, new underwear, toiletries and blankets available. Local hair stylists were on hand giving haircuts.

Diane Lockhart, owner of Tanglez salon in Saco, was cutting more than 11 inches off one woman’s hair.
The woman, who declined to give her name, teared up as she thanked Lockhart. “I love it,” she said. “I needed this change.”

Organizers said 112 people came to Monday’s event. In conjunction with the event, local youth did service work at different locations in the community, 

Interim Minister Deborah Breault, who was helping serve lunch, said in her 30 years of ministry this was the first event of its kind she had been involved with. She said she thought the “rolling up your sleeves” and helping the community approach was an outstanding way to honor King. 

“I am absolutely blown away,” she said. “It’s just fantastic.”

Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or [email protected]


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