Toy Drive to distribute gifts to 259 local children

The South Portland Annual Christmas Toy Drive is holding its eighth annual toy drive and distribution event on Monday.

Gifts will be delivered to 259 South Portland children, who could use a little help during the Christmas season.

The toy drive is a partnership between the South Portland Police Department, The South Portland Police Patrolmen’s Association, the South Portland school system, The South Portland Fire Department, Maine Roofing Inc., Evelyn’s Tavern, Port Harbor Marine and Peoples United Millcreek, who work with the teachers and school administrators in each of the South Portland schools to identify those most in need.

The efforts, that were months in planning, culminated with a massive toy drive and drop at Evelyn’s Tavern Saturday, where community members gathered for a night of fun and cocktails and to help fill the place with toys.


Police and fire departments, along with volunteers, will unload a box truck Monday, sorting and bagging gift packs that each will include a new warm coat, boots and toys for each child. At noon, police officers will deliver the gift packs to the South Portland Community Center, where volunteers, police and fire personnel, and members of the Maine Mariners hockey team will help hand them out to the families who are scheduled to pick up their gifts.

Checks can be made out to the “SPPP Community Needs Fund” (South Portland Policemen’s Association) and mailed to: Maine Roofing, 24 Bishop Ave., South Portland, ME 04106 or go online to

For more details, call Liz Darling at 767-4243 or by email [email protected]


Rotary Club collects food for 79 families in need

The Biddeford Saco Rotary Club did a little something extra special this year for Thanksgiving. Rotary President Fausto Pifferrer asked each member to fill a grocery bag with nonperishable food items that families use at Thanksgiving. Those donations yielded more than 30 shopping bags, each filled with a variety of food items that were donated to the Biddeford Food Pantry.


Don Bisson, who has worked as the volunteer manager with the organization for the past 11 years, said those donations helped out 79 local families who came in to the pantry for assistance for their Thanksgiving Day meal.

“The Biddeford Food Pantry serves approximately 600 families in our area,” Bisson said. “When an organization like the Biddeford Saco Rotary Club makes a donation of this size, at a time when sharing a family meal is so important, and the need is so great, it truly is a blessing.”

Pifferrer said, “Our Rotary Club is involved in so many projects, behind the scenes, supporting them financially and by volunteering hundreds of hours each year to create lasting change in our communities. A donation of one bag of groceries so local families can partake in a Thanksgiving meal is something each of us could do easily. It’s projects like these that have a far-reaching impact on families, that we as Rotarians should be most proud of.”

WOCSD-Wells Elementary School recognizes its “core value” champs Photo courtesy April Noble


Students recognized as ‘core value’ champs

Wells Elementary School held its first Breakfast of Champions event for the 2019-2020 school year, recognizing the efforts of 24 Grade 1-4 students who demonstrated one or more of the school’s core values of honesty, responsibility, respect and compassion among their peers and the school body.


Those student honorees included Blake Barker, Halle Bohn, Nia Borberg, Jordyn Chadbourne, Mason Colbeth, Michael Colbeth, Joshua Corbett, Colin Cournoyer, Logan Desper, Molly Firmin, Antwan Green, Annaliese Latulippe, Hannah Levy, Cameron Lucey, Lucas Madsen, Liam Moody, Riley Pendergast, Tim Perry, Robert Roche, Rusty Rousseau, Jasper Roy, Michael Sargent, Levi Soucie-Libby and Joshua Tarabia.

Each of the students were presented with a Certificate of Achievement by WES Assistant Principal Theresa Curran and treated to a special breakfast meal, prepared by the WES’s Nutrition Services team.


Homeless shelters get $10,000 gift from bank

This fall, Camden National Bank celebrated its Customer Appreciation Week, highlighted by a $10,000 donation to five homeless shelters in Maine. The shelters receiving funds all provide vital support to Maine youth and teens. The bank’s employees also donated more than 625 pounds of toiletry items, collected at the bank’s 2019 Employee Appreciation Night, to local homeless shelters. The unrestricted funding and in-kind donations are part of the bank’s larger [email protected] program that has provided more than $440,000 to homeless shelters in the bank’s service area over the past five years.

The five shelters that received donations for teen and youth services are: Emmaus Homeless Shelter in Orland, Shaw House in Bangor, New Beginnings Inc. in Lewiston, Hospitality House in Rockland and the Joe Kreisler Teen Shelter at Preble Street in Portland.


“We’re humbled by the continued support the [email protected] program has provided to youth at Preble Street,” said Preble Street Executive Director Mark Swann. “Every dollar that goes to our Teen Services supports young people on their journey to stability, and we know firsthand that a seemingly simple toothbrush or a bar of soap can greatly impact the health and dignity of a person experiencing homelessness.”

All five shelters will also receive 125 pounds each of assorted toiletry items — like toothbrushes, shampoo, tissues and more — donated by Camden National Bank employees.


Transit system seeking input on fare options

Biddeford Saco Old Orchard Beach Transit (BSOOB Transit) will hold three public meetings this week to present details and seek public input about a proposed regional fare policy and automatic fare payment options. Meetings will each be held from 6 to 7 p.m., these include a meeting on Monday at Saco Transportation Center, 138 Main St. Saco; on Tuesday at Old Orchard Beach Town Hall, at 1 Portland Ave.; and on Thursday at the McArthur Public Library Community Room at 270 Main St., Biddeford.

Transit plans to introduce new payment options that will allow riders to pay fares using either a mobile app or a reloadable smart card that both can be linked to an account that riders can fund from bank accounts, credit cards or prepaid debit cards. Riders without access to banking would be able to load cash onto a smart card at the Transit customer service office at the Saco Transportation Center, municipal and designated retail outlets across the region. Riders using a mobile app or smart card would be required to scan their card or phones when they board the bus. Cash will still be accepted on buses.


The base fare will increase from $1.50 to $2, and all current period passes and tickets will be replaced with a new electronic discounting method called “fare capping.”

When paid with a mobile app or a smart card, the proposed $2 base fare ($1 for riders eligible for reduced fare) activates a 90-minute pass. Riders can take unlimited trips within the 90-minute window.

Riders who qualify for “reduced fare” include seniors, people with disabilities and Medicare card holders, and with this change, students and veterans as well. Full-fare local riders would not pay more than $6 per day and $60 per month and eligible “reduced fare” riders would not pay more than $3 per day and $30 per month for local service. Upon hitting these daily and monthly fare caps, the rider rewards program is activated and all rides thereafter will be free.

Cash will continue to be accepted on all buses, but paper transfers would no longer be offered. This will create an additional incentive for riders to migrate to the mobile app or smart card. Smart cards would be widely accessible at the customer service office at the Saco Transportation Center, municipal offices and designated retail outlets across the region. This will offer riders without access to banking or a smart phone the ability to load cash onto a smart card.

BSOOB Transit has made significant improvements to its transit service including enhanced and expanded routes and improved bus stop signage. Very soon they will provide WiFi on all buses and new bus shelters. They have also commenced a fleet modernization campaign.

BSOOB Transit wants to hear from riders, the general public, businesses and social service agencies on how these changes might impact them. Riders and stakeholders are encouraged to attend these open-forum, public meetings.

For additional BSOOB Transit information, updates, and survey go to, call 282-5408 or email [email protected]

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