You often hear nonprofits talk about how they couldn’t do their important work without the support of the business community. This statement is true, but it can be hard to put into words how much this support really does make a difference.  

First, let’s be clear about what “support” means. While monetary donations are amazing and necessary to help keep Tedford Housing’s programs and services alive for our neighbors most in need, many businesses go above and beyond sending along a check. In fact, we love it when we actually get to work alongside our business supporters. This may be in the form of volunteering or just visiting our offices to find out what’s going on with our clients and what their needs and challenges are in finding and maintaining stable, permanent housing. 

Atlantic Federal Credit Union, Bath Savings Institution, Camden National Bank, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Five County Credit Union, Home Sweet Maine Realty, Mechanics Savings Bank and Norway Savings Bank, for example, all participate in various state and local initiatives that directly support nonprofits who provide basic needs services to the community. Not only do these local businesses send along checks to Tedford Housing, they hand deliver said checks and make it a point to learn about our services and offer their help in other ways. I remember once had a group from Camden National Bank delivering holiday gifts for me one year when I was short on time. They had a blast playing Santa for a day. 

As you may know, Tedford Housing partners with Pathway Vineyard Church to bring a free Christmas store to families in need during the holidays. We get tremendous support from local businesses during this huge effort. Carter’s Freeport has donated brand new beautiful pajamas to Tedford Housing’s smallest clients through the Pajama Program. Eaton Peabody and Bilodeau Insurance Agency always make their way over to support us with holiday gifts from their staffMid Coast Medical Group held sock drive for our adult shelter. Employees from the LL Bean safety division and Brunswick Taxi put their resources together for their own donation drives for Tedford’s clients during the holidays.  

There’s also Mustard Seed Bookstore who quietly inquires about the kids at our family shelter during the holidays and then hand picks literary gifts for them. Now You’re Cooking held a promotion for customers to bring their dull knives back to the store for credit for new ones and donated the turned in knives, newly sharpened, to Tedford. Wyler’s donated proceeds of sales during their busy holiday shopping season along with items collected from our wish list. Liberty Mutual in Lewiston helped us purchase warm winter items for all 16 guests in our adult shelter. 

We may receive our largest amount of donations during the holiday months, but we certainly see donations coming in throughout the year. J & J Cleaners was happy to clean donated blankets so we could provide them to a shelter guest moving into housing. Bisson Moving and Storage helps us when we are in a pinch and need to move a larger amount of furniture donations, delivering them to their new homes. We also love working with SimplySized Home who thinks of Tedford Housing when cleaning out their clients’ homes who are downsizing. Our clients moving into permanent housing end up with everything they need to start fresh in a new place.  

With Tedford Housing focused on housing, we rely on volunteers to provide meals every night of the year at our adult shelter. Some of the local restaurants that chip in every month to provide meals include The Great Impasta, Mae’s Café, Scarlet Begonias, Richard’s Restaurant and Sam’s / Kentucky Fried ChickenGelato Fiasco provided gelato for a fun “garden to table” meal at our family shelter this summer, while Wild Oats Bakery added bread and Scatter Good Farm gave us a beautiful box of freshly gleaned produce to add to the meal. Volunteers also pick up donations of pastries and coffee twice per week from Starbucks and deliver the goods to our shelter. Wicked Joe Coffee Roasting Co. generously gives us 5lbs / month of their yummy roasts. 

This is not an exhaustive list of Tedford Housing’s business supporters by any means, but it paints a good picture of the partnerships that exist in our community. We haven’t even mentioned the faith community, local schools and other nonprofit community partners who help us with meals for the shelter, volunteer their time or donate proceeds from events and donation drives.  

It may sound cliché but nonprofits like Tedford Housing really couldn’t do the work we do without that extra support from the local business community. If your business would like to become more involved with Tedford Housing, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] 

Jennifer Iacovelli is the director of development for Tedford Housing and author of Simple Giving: Easy Ways to Give Every Day.”  

Giving Voice is a weekly collaboration among four local non-profit service agencies to share information and stories about their work in the community. 

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