SOUTH PORTLAND — The South Portland Community of Kindness is what administrator Sari Greene describes as a hyper-localized Facebook group that serves as a resource for the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Started in March, the project began when Greene said she became concerned about food-insecure students not receiving meals as schools announced closures.

Now at over 1,700 members, the Facebook page, found by searching South Portland Community of Kindness, is a resource of local volunteers and neighbors who are interested in helping one another in this difficult time, Greene, who has been living in South Portland for 25 years, said.

“It’s amazing what folks have done for each other, everything from food insecurity support to volunteering at the food cupboard to shopping for each other,” she said. “We’ve had people giving away books and games, sharing home resources, a lot of mask making and groups coming together to respond to that, folks distributing pet food and making Easter baskets.”

The group’s discussions are lively, with most posts receiving multiple comments and answering other’s questions about how to access a variety of resources. Greene pointed out one post from member Jennifer Marshall-Lessard asking mask makers for red and white face masks in honor of South Portland High School’s graduating seniors, which received 32 comments.

Greene, who is running in the Democratic primary for Maine State Senate District 29 against Anne Carney, said that a recent project has been the “Hi, Neighbor” door hangers that residents have been sticking onto their neighbors doors with contact information, offering to help with food or medicine deliveries or simply chat over the phone.

The door hangers that the South Portland Community of Kindness Facebook page are delivering to members looking to help those within their community. Courtesy Sari Greene

Everything the volunteers do is in line with the city’s emergency regulations, she added.

Last week, Greene said that a teacher had reached out to the group, saying she had a student who didn’t have a desk or a kitchen table on which to complete school work.

“It turns out that family was new to town and had no furniture,” Greene said. “This teacher reached out to us and by the end of the weekend, had tables and chairs. This was really something.”

She said that many members have been volunteering for the South Portland Food Cupboard.

Besides ensuring humans have had meals during the past couple of months, volunteers have been delivering pet food to neighbors struggling to afford it.

It’s really inspiring how much people want to help each other,” Greene said. “It’s really given people a place to go.”

People interested in receiving door hangers can email [email protected], Greene said. Members can also send a private message to the Facebook page.

When asked what was a challenging part of running the page, Greene said, “Really, just keeping the posts on task. People want to share information and kind words, which are lovely, but we want to make sure the site doesn’t get overtaken, so the requests for help don’t get overshadowed.”

New members are always welcome to join, she said.

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