BIDDEFORD — In an effort to support frontline, essential workers as well as local restaurants during the “Stay healthy. Stay home” statewide order, Heart of Biddeford launched a fundraising campaign called, “Share the Love” on April 20. As of April24, nearly $12,000 had been raised through the online campaign.

Downtown revitalization organization Heart of Biddeford will use 100 percent of the funds raised to place daily orders with participating restaurants, who will then deliver meals to Southern Maine Health Care in Biddeford as well as to other essential workplaces such as the fire and police department and grocery stores.

“In these tough times, this is one way we call pull together and convey our appreciation to the people who show up day after day, keeping us safe and healthy!” HOB Director Delilah Poupore posted on the Share the Love Facebook page.

On the morning of April 20, the he fundraising goal was a modest $2,000, she said. That goal was reached and surpassed by 10 a.m. that same day.

She knew people were generous, Poupore said, but added she was surprised by the degree of support.

“Mid-afternoon on the first day, I received a call from Doug and Lauren Sanford from the Pepperell Mill Campus, who said they wanted to contribute $5,000. They hope this will help local restaurants get back up and running, as well as help the people that have been keeping us safe and healthy. Nearly 100 people have donated whatever they could, and some have shared a portion of their economic stimulus checks.”

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“Unbelievable response to the Share the Love campaign, thank you all!!” Poupore posted on Facebook about 6 p.m. April 22. “Funds raised so far will enable 40+ days of deliveries to hospital workers and other frontline essential employees who so deserve our thanks! Plus, our restaurants get a (non-medical) shot in the arm from the community!”

Southern Maine Health Care, whose employees are significant beneficiaries of the program, are thankful to the donors, SMHC President Nathan Howell said.

“The outpouring of generosity from local restaurants and the Heart of Biddeford has been extraordinary and the meals will be appreciated by our team members who are working so hard to care for our community during this pandemic,” Howell said. “We are so grateful to be part of this community.”

Special deliveries are planned during National Nurse’s Week, which starts May 6,  Poupre said.

Deliveries began this week, with Biscuits & Company providing breakfast biscuits, Cowbell Burger Bar delivering burgers and Time & Tide delivering morning coffee. Ciel Caldwell of LaundrYup in 2019, a full-service laundromat with a gourmet cafe in downtown Biddeford, will be delivering mac and cheese and salads for a department with 30 people next week. A haiku poem she recently posted about her support for the “Share the Love” campaign,  summed up the spirit of this program for many:
HOB is us.
We are stronger together.
Frontline stay safe. Live.

Poupore said Heart of Biddeford shifted focus to this program supporting workers and restaurant from its customary events and programs because many of those have been postponed due to coronavirus safety measures.

“We hope to keep the restaurants very busy, and it feels good to ‘share the love”’with the people who are always thinking about and caring for others,” Poupore said.

Those interested in donating can make contributions through the “Share the Love” campaign on Heart of Biddeford’s Facebook page, or through the Donate button at www.heartofbiddeford.org

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