Many stones at the Village Cemetery on Cemetery Road in Bowdoinham need some work, which is the focus of the town’s cemetery advisory committee. The committee is always looking for more volunteers to help. (Darcie Moore / The Time Record)

BOWDOINHAM — Bowdoinham is looking for help maintaining its more than 65 cemeteries.

The Bowdoinham Cemetery Advisory Committee is holding a dinner tonight at the Merrymeeting Community Center to thank those that have already helped with this work, and to invite anyone interested in cemetery maintenance.

Elaine Diaz is the volunteer coordinator for the cemetery advisory committee. She said committee members will discuss gravestone cleaning and hand out cleaning kits. The solution is expensive, an organic substance to clean lichen off stones and keep it from growing back.

“We want to encourage people to use Maine Old Cemetery Association recommended materials,” Diaz said.

That does not include bleach or power washing, which can damage the stones.

Diaz said the committee is now focused on Village Cemetery, which has been in rough shape. About a third of the cemetery has been restored. Volunteers go and wash stones on their own, so it’s important to have the opportunity to teach the do’s and don’ts of stone cleaning to make sure they’re kept safe, Diaz said.

“We’re encouraging people to take charge of small cemeteries and giving them the tools, supplies and know how,” she said.

“We can’t stress enough the importance of community involvement when it comes to projects of keeping up on cemeteries, which are not really funded through the town,” said Tony Lewis, a Bowdoinham selectman who also chairs the Cemetery Advisory Committee.

In its third year, the committee has relied heavily on volunteers to help maintain cemeteries in town, from stone replacement to cleaning, Lewis said.

The meeting is at 4 p.m. followed by a meal at 5 p.m. catered by the Bowdoinham Historical Society. People can leave word with Pam Ross at the town office at (207) 666-5531. The Merrymeeting Community Center is located at 27 Main St.

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