Charity embarks on cloth mask making project

Catholic Charities Maine’s Fikiria Makerspace has embarked on a new project to provide meaningful employment for immigrants to make cloth masks from donated, upcycled materials for vulnerable populations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our goal with the ‘Mask Project’ is to grow our economy and textile ecosystem, help the planet, employ low-income immigrant stitchers and protect the poorest among us from our current COVID-19 public health crisis,” said Tae Chong, director of social enterprise and workforce development at CCM.

The mask pattern was designed by Betsy Scheintaub, professor of textile at MECA, who also is overseeing the production quality. The material was donated by UniFirst, one of North America’s largest workwear and textile service companies with a location in Portland and came from work shirts that were headed for a landfill or overseas.

A recent $5,000 donation from Hannaford Supermarkets paid the stitchers for their work on this first production run of 500 masks. The initial batch of 250 masks is being donated to Portland’s General Assistance Office, and the second set of 250 masks is headed to Portland mosques for distribution to elders in the Muslim community.

Social service providers, religious organizations and schools interested in receiving a donation of masks should contact Chong at 653-1864 or [email protected]

Portland’s Ronald McDonald House gets boost for 15-room expansion

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Maine recently received a $50,000 donation from Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution to help fund a 15-room expansion of its Portland House. The new space will provide an additional 5,475 nights of comfort per year for the families of pediatric patients.

After initially breaking ground in 2019, the new addition is scheduled to open later this year.

The completion of the expansion corresponds with the 25th anniversary of the opening of RMHC Maine’s Portland House in 1995. To celebrate, the nonprofit is attempting to raise an additional $25,000. Donations of $25 are encouraged to commemorate each year of support that the Portland House has provided. Individuals can make their donations online or by mail to 250 Brackett Street, Portland, ME, 04102.

RMHC Maine is also asking that the community send pictures and videos showing support. Pictures can be sent to [email protected] or messaged on Facebook (@RMHCME) or Instagram (@RMHCMaine).

Historical society holds annual meeting online

The Maine Historical Society (MHS) Board of Trustees convened its 198th Annual Meeting for the first time in its history in a new online platform because of the coronavirus pandemic. Board President Jean Gulliver welcomed new members to the statewide organization, and Executive Director Steve Bromage presented awards to community leaders and Trustees for their commitment to advancing the mission of MHS to preserve and share Maine’s story.

Tom Platz of Auburn and Liz Johnson and Natalie Sotoloff, both of Portland, all were elected to their first terms on the board; Laura Sprague of Portland to her second; and Tyler Judkins and Eileen Skinner, both of Portland, and Andy Verzosa of Newington, Conn., to their third.

The following awards were presented:

Eben Miller of Lewiston received the James Phinney Baxter Award for the best article published in Maine History (the MHS scholarly journal produced with University of Maine-Orono History Department).

Brenda Steeves of Gorham received the Elizabeth Ring Service Award for outstanding volunteer service to MHS.

The Neal W. Allen Jr. History Award, which honors outstanding contributions to the field of Maine history by scholars, was bestowed on Liam Riordan, Ph.D., of Bangor and posthumously to Ronald F. Banks, author of “Maine Becomes a State: The Movement to Separate Maine from Massachusetts, 1785-1820.”

The Trustee Recognition Award, for outstanding service and change-making roles, was presented to directors who were rotating off the board, including Carl Chatto, Joseph Gray, Peter Merrill, Kathryn Schneider Smith, Lee Webb, Theresa Secord and Charles Stanhope.

For details go to mainehistory.org/about_trustees.shtml.


Credit union recognized by Forbes

Town & Country Federal Credit Union has been named by Forbes as one of the best-in-state credit unions for the second time in three years.

Forbes partnered with market research firm Statista to produce its third annual look at the “Best Credit Unions In Each State.” Nearly 25,000 customers in the U.S. were surveyed for their opinions on their current and former banking relationships. According to Forbes, of the 5,236 credit unions nationwide, only 182 made the list.

For more details, go to tcfcu.com.


Fee for yellow trash bags increases

The town recently approved an order to increase the fee for yellow trash bags from $2.08 per 33 gallon bag to $2.95 and from $1.46 per 20 gallon bag to $1.91 effective immediately. This fee increase offsets increases to the FY20-21 Municipal Budget and better aligns with actual waste disposal costs incurred by the town.

Residents are encouraged to reduce waste through a free curbside recycling program and Food Waste Disposal Program, to reduce the use of yellow trash bags.

Falmouth offers free ‘single-stream’ curbside recycling. With ecomaine’s single-sort processing facility, numerous types of recyclable materials go into the same bin. No separation of materials is necessary. These bins are collected curbside with regular trash pick-up.

New residents get a free recycling bin. Additional bins can be purchased from Public Works.

Food waste can be dropped off at two collection sites in town: the Transfer Station and Community Park. This waste is converted to compost. This program successfully diverted nearly 16 tons of food waste in 2019.

Backyard composters are also available for purchase from Falmouth Public Works.

For more details, call the Falmouth Public Works Department at 781-3919 or go to https://www.falmouthme.org/trash-recycling-and-composting.


Boys & Girls Clubs awarded grant from state DOE

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Kennebec Valley has been awarded the State of Maine Department of Education’s four-year 21st Century Community Learning Center grant in partnership with MSAD 11 and RSU 12.
The grant will provide funds over the next four years to support the BGCKV programs, services and staff to assist grades three through eight students improve their fall and spring text scores at the Gardiner & Chelsea Clubhouses.
For more details, go to bgkcv.org.


United Way of Mid-Maine to benefit from reusable-bag program

United Way of Mid-Maine has been selected as a beneficiary of the Hannaford Helps Reusable Bag Program for the month of July. The non-profit will receive a $1 donation every time the $2.50 reusable Community Bag is purchased at the Hannaford located at 190 JFK Plaza during July.

United Way of Mid-Maine serves the communities of Somerset, northern Kennebec, and western Waldo counties to provide critical services that strengthen children, youth, and families, promote independence, and meet immediate needs.
For more information on the Hannaford Helps Reusable Bag Program, go to hannaford.bags4mycause.com.

Chamber taking registrations for Business Breakfast

Registrations are being accepted for a Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce for a planned Business Breakfast at Waterville Country Club from 7:15 to 9 a.m. July 16.

This month, Erik Peters, attorney with the Law Office of Kelly, Remmel & Zimmerman, P.A., will discuss current topics in employment law and when to utilize non-disclosure agreements.

Out of concern for the safety of attendees, registration at this indoor event will be limited to a maximum of 50 persons. Tables and seating will be spaced out, and a plated breakfast will be provided, as opposed to the buffet offered in the past. Masks are requested to be worn for registration and until seated. Separate entrance and exits are offered to minimize passage of attendees, upon arrival and departure, and hand sanitizer will be provided.

The cost is $20 for members and $27 at the door and for nonmembers.

To register, email: [email protected], call 873-3315 or fax 877-0087.

Cancellations must be two business days prior to the event to avoid being charged.

Students get awards for perfect attendance

Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce presented 14 Grade 4 and 5 students with awards for achieving perfect attendance at Albert S. Hall School for the 2019-2020 school year. Due to the pandemic and the move to remote learning for the last part of the school year, there was no assembly held. However, all students receiving awards had their picture taken with Chamber President & CEO Kimberly N. Lindlof and received certificates and gift bags in recognition of their achievement.

To attain perfect attendance each student must not be tardy, have no unexcused or excused absences, and not have early release.

The students with perfect attendance for the 2019-2020 school year were: Ilya Ansdell, Theresa Bickford, Kaleb Crocker, Kaedon Finch, Ava Fortuna, Lillian Gordon, Riviera Hernandez, Josephine Ker, Nivaeh Libby, Kiera McNeill, Reid Morrison, Minako Peck, Forrest Poulin and Hailey Snipe.

All first-time winners were given gift bags containing certificates from local businesses plus a Kindle Fire.

Fifth-graders Ilya Ansdell, Theresa Bickford, Ava Fortuna and Forrest Poulin achieved perfect attendance for two years in a row. In addition to a gift bag, each of these students were given a week at summer camp at Alfond Youth Center’s Camp Tracy.

To view photos of the students and their awards, go to midmainechamber.com/cms/events/perfect-attendance-program.


Food pantry offering free delivery

The Dixfield Food Pantry & Sharing Center is now offering free delivery to Dixfield and East Dixfield.

Please call 364-6405 during normal operating hours of 9 a.m. to noon Monday and Thursday. Let the staff know if there are any restrictions or unwanted items.

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