BIDDEFORD — Within each of us lies the ability to change the course of events for others less fortunate and to leave the world a better place than which we found it.

And for those looking to help in this mission, the fifth annual “Give Thanks — Give Hope” brunch, silent auction and raffle could be a great start in making a difference in our community.

Proceeds from the brunch at The Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport on Nov. 19 will support Seeds of Hope Neighborhood Center in Biddeford, an organization devoted helping community members break the cycle of poverty and look forward to a brighter future.

“As the holidays begin we are reminded of how much we have to be thankful for. And yet we look around our community and realize that there are still many who need our support and compassion,” said The Rev. Shirley Bowen, executive director/chaplain of the Seeds of Hope Neighborhood Center. “Some of our neighbors don’t know where they will spend the night or when their next meal will come. A number of families just can’t make ends meet. And there are willing workers who just need a break — and a little help — to find the job that will lift them up and set them on a sustainable career path.”

Bowen said that Seeds of Hope now serves between 70 and 90 people each day and its numbers continue to grow, including the number of homeless people in the community. 

“We have expanded our services so that we are now open five days a week, offering simple meals, free, new or gently used articles of clothing, job search assistance, and health and nutrition programs,” Bowen said. “We welcome all who come through our doors.”

According to Bowen, Seeds of Hope also offers programs in nutrition, financial literacy and general health, as well as advocacy support for those in need in Biddeford and surrounding areas.  

She said the center’s Career Resource Center emphasizes increased independence by providing job search assistance, including resume creation and interview preparation. 

Located in Biddeford at 35 South St., the Seeds of Hope Neighborhood Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Seeds of Hope’s In-A-Pinch Non-Food Essentials Pantry is open the second and fourth Tuesday of every month from 4 to 6:45 p.m. and offers non-food items such as soap and toiletries and other items not covered by food stamps to those in need. 

The “Give Thanks — Give Hope” brunch, silent auction and raffle is sponsored in part by Hannaford Supermarkets and the Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution and will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport.

Participants will be able to feast on a delicious brunch carefully prepared by The Nonantum’s world-class chefs while lingering at the silent auction and raffle tables featuring adventures and activities,  gift certificates and gifts donated by local businesses and individuals.

Bowen said that Seeds of Hope volunteers are guided by two basic tenets — mercy and justice. She said that mercy is shown to those seeking basic necessities such as food and clothing while the justice aspect is driven by advocacy initiatives like conducting the annual homeless survey in Biddeford or providing individuals access to career services that can assist them in finding employment.

“The needs in our community are great, but we have enjoyed strong support from local businesses, churches, civic groups, government and individuals,” Bowen said. “Join us in this great community effort. Attend our benefit brunch. Volunteer. Donate. Get involved.”

Tickets to the event are $30 each, or $210 for a table for eight. Tickets may be purchased online at seedsofhope4me.org, or through Seeds of Hope by calling Bowen at 283-1783. 

— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be reached at 282-1535 ext. 326 or by email at [email protected]


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