GREENVILLE, Maine — Goals made by the Greenville High School boys varsity soccer team this season not only helped the players earn a competitive edge over other teams. They also helped fuel the community.
Early in the season, under the direction of coach Jason Simpson, the players canvassed Greenville businesses and individuals for monetary pledges for each goal they scored, and those funds were earmarked for the town’s fuel assistance program.
With 33 goals at season’s end, the total raised was $3,000, or $82 per goal. The contribution was given to the town last week during the annual sports banquet.
“Sometimes a team’s greatest achievement doesn’t occur on a field or a court,” Simpson said Monday.
Bonnie DuBien, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, said the team should be very proud of its contribution. She complimented Simpson and his team for their caring and concern for the community and noted that no one in the community should be cold this winter.
“It’s really good to see youngsters working together for a community betterment project such as this,” Greenville Town Manager John Simko said Monday.
The town now has a healthy pot of money to help those in need during the winter months, Simko said.
The local fuel assistance program actually was kicked off last year by businesses and individuals who donated money to help their needy neighbors in the wake of escalating fuel costs.
“It sort of grew spontaneous,” Simko said. He said the donations were placed into a special fund that mirrors the town’s general assistance program, but without the same strings attached. “What we’ve been able to do is be more flexible with people,” he said.
Sometimes fuel is provided to senior citizens who are too proud to ask for help but their plight is made known through friends, neighbors and relatives, according to Simko.
“There’s just no way of proving this, but we feel that by doing that we’re averting future problems,” he said.
For example, some residents may hold off asking for help, thinking they can make it before they eventually run out of fuel. When they do run out, their pipes freeze, and it becomes a more costly fix. It is possible that the donated fuel has saved homeowners the added expense or saved the town from providing general assistance for the extra work.
“We’ve tried to use it proactively as a tool to help the community,” Simko said. It worked well last year and the town has already used some of the funds this year, he noted.
For Simpson, who suggested the team do a community project, the outcome is heartwarming. He said he hopes next year’s team will continue the tradition, but he noted such a project has to have the backing of the community.
“This couldn’t have worked if it hadn’t been for the generosity of the residents of Greenville,” Simpson said.