$100,000 grant to help link veterans to services

The Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation has awarded a $100,000 grant to Easterseals to support care coordination and emergency assistance for 1,250 veterans in Maine and New Hampshire as part of the company’s effort to support the men and women who made sacrifices for the nation. Easterseals’ Military and Veteran Services program provides critical case management to service members, veterans and military families so urgent needs can be met. Coordinators help individuals find jobs, access benefits, stabilize their housing, seek treatment for mental health issues or substance use disorder, and obtain other support and referrals.

“We are extremely thankful for the generous support from the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation and for their partnership in joining us in the important work of giving our service members and their families a hand up through challenging times,” Easterseals President and CEO Larry Gammon said. “Support from the community is critical to help ensure our veterans do not have to struggle after sacrificing so much for our country, and the Anthem Foundation sets a high bar for generosity. This grant will make a tremendous impact for military families across New Hampshire and Maine.”

Easterseals Care Coordinators meet program participants in a location of their choosing – including in-home meetings – to develop an individualized care plan and establish goals. Care coordinators also teach participants how to access services to support their well-being and independence in the future. Easterseals has served more than 13,000 individuals through its Military and Veteran Services program since its inception.


Animal Welfare Society begins $300,000 project

The Animal Welfare Society is seeking community support for a renovation project to update its shelter and create larger spaces for animals housed there.

“For 50 years AWS has been here to help animals get to brighter days. But time has taken a toll on our kennels and animal spaces,” AWS Executive Director Abigail Smith said. “The concrete blocks have crumbled, the floors have cracked and the paint has peeled. The time to make these important updates is now.”

The $300,000 project will include a full remodel of more than 7,000 square feet of space in the shelter and adoption center, creating brighter, larger and safer kennel spaces for the thousands of dogs and cats that make their way to AWS each year.

Upgrades will include replacing chain-link kennel fencing in the dog area with tempered glass for easier cleaning and more engaging interaction between dogs and potential adopters. The concrete floors will be repaired and resealed, reducing the chance for disease transmission and making dogs’ stays more comfortable. Sound mitigation features will reduce noise, lessening the stress levels in dogs.

In the cat areas, cages will nearly double in size, allowing cats privacy and much more room to stretch out. In all animal spaces, windows will be created to allow for plenty of natural light.

Those wishing to support the project should visit or call 985-3244, ext. 123.


Credit union awards grants for nonprofits

The Town & Country Federal Credit Union has awarded $25,000 in Better Neighbor Fund grants to eight Cumberland and York county-area nonprofits that make a difference in their communities.

Grants of $5,000 each were awarded to: The Chenette Scholarship Fund, to expand scholarship programs for Thornton Academy and Old Orchard Beach High School students pursuing civic engagement and entrepreneurial studies; Camp Sunshine, for a sponsorship program to help families of children with life-threatening illnesses attend camp; and the Frannie Peabody Center, to support the Emergency Food Fund and provide nutritional assistance for clients living with HIV/AIDS in Maine.

Grants of $2,000 each were awarded to: First Lutheran Church’s Give a Child a Chance program, which provides tuition for preschool for local families in need; Gym Dandies Children’s Circus, to support preparation and skills development for the children’s performance group’s next national appearance; Hope Acts, to replace beds and other furnishings for Hope House, a residential home supporting asylum-seekers in Maine; Spurwink’s Child Abuse Program, to provide forensic medical exams for children in Maine who are abused or neglected; and the Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine, to bring science, visual arts and theater programs to children at the Portland Family Shelter’s 2019 summer school.


Veterans Day ceremony lauds service members

Forty-five area veterans, plus active U.S. military members, recently attended a special Veterans Day assembly at Wells Elementary School.

The celebration featured segments honoring veterans, including the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance, the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” a performance by the Wells High School Band and synchronized flag routines by the Color Guard.

Also attending were representatives of the Travis Mills Foundation, who received 64 gift baskets assembled by teachers and students. The baskets will be distributed to disabled veterans and families affiliated with the foundation’s rehabilitation retreat in Rome, Maine.

Family members of those connected to the military were introduced. Standing in the audience was Sarah Hester, whose husband, Chad, is in the Navy. Hester called the ceremony “absolutely amazing” and said she was “very impressed and honored.” The Hesters recently moved to York County from Sacramento, California, and have a third-grader enrolled at Wells Elementary School.

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