The Scarborough-based nonprofit Project GRACE – an acronym for Granting Resources and Assistance through Community Effort – created quite a buzz with its annual Trivia Bee fundraiser at Camp Ketcha on Oct. 24.

“We came in around $10,000, which is really a big fundraiser for us, and it goes right to our core mission work,” said Executive Director Steffi Cox. “It helps us feed kids, keep people warm. It’s not fancy, but it really helps people who are in a tough spot. We’re the crossroads between those who need help and those who want to give.”

Two dozen teams of three contestants vied for the chance to take home the Trivia Bee Trophy, engraved with the names of winning teams from the previous 11 years.

“It’s quite serious on the trivia side, and the rest isn’t,” said Cox, explaining that the bee includes spirited competition in categories like best costume.

This year’s trivia champion also won best team name: Honey, I Aged the Kids from Piper Shores retirement community.

“It’s my fourth year, and we’ve been close every year,” said Betty Perry, who teamed up with Evelyn Marcus and Alex Rahmann. “And we got it this year. It was very exciting.”

The best costume award went to the Basic Bee Witches – Sam Frudd, Ember Earl and Kelley Baickle of cPort Credit Union. And the most enthusiastic support award went to Bee a SMAArty Pants, the team from the Southern Maine Agency on Aging, which brought a cheering section.

Project GRACE also honored longtime community partner Jim Conroy of Conroy’s Oil Service with the Bees Knees Business Buzz Award.

“We have families who run out of oil and need it quick, and we make sure it gets to them,” Conroy said.

“It was our pleasure to shine a light on a very modest but giving person,” Cox said. “He is very generous to Project GRACE and has never let us down.”

The next big Project GRACE event is a free community Thanksgiving Day meal at Wentworth School in Scarborough from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. (RSVP at

“Everybody is welcome,” Cox said, adding that dinner guests don’t need to be from Scarborough. “You don’t have to have an empty cupboard to come; this is about celebrating being together.”

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at [email protected]

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