On July 30, an article ran headlined “Yarmouth council rejects aid for asylum-seekers.”

I spoke at the council meeting and was truly disappointed in this decision by our town councilors. In a 4-3 vote July 25, where basic facts were distorted, Yarmouth lost the opportunity to join with the helpers.

Our property taxes are high and many in our community with families here for generations struggle to make ends meet. This money, however, wasn’t coming from property tax dollars – this wasn’t an “us vs. them” situation.

Compromise had thoughtfully been reached, and the funds were coming from a separate source. The $12,000 was earmarked to be split into thirds, with $4,000 each going to the Opportunity Alliance, Preble Street and the Greater Portland Council of Governments, agencies that support families in Yarmouth. We are part of the Greater Portland community and must support the agencies that support our most vulnerable.

These are dark days in our country – atrocities against human rights, assaults on our civil liberties and now even mass shootings are omnipresent. Thankfully, so too are the helpers. Yarmouth as a town may have failed, through the votes of four of our town councilors. Many in our greater community have not. Helpers are everywhere.

Maine Needs – a Facebook group dedicated to supporting any Maine family in need – has collected donations and given them to needy families. There are groups set up helping families find furniture needed for new apartments. Many, including those in Yarmouth, have opened their homes. Bilingual books are being gathered for local schools. Asks are going out – and kind and generous people are showing up. This matters.

Yarmouth may not have been ready to commit, but many others are. Let’s shine light, together, on the good works being done in our community – there is much richness here.

Sarah Norsworthy


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