Mainers still caring for others despite hard times

Posted Dec. 25, 2009, at 6:45 p.m.

Today’s column continues the theme of the generosity of Mainers, from individuals to organizations and business owners, who care enough to help their neighbors, especially during a difficult economy, through the gifts of time, money and volunteering.

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More than 120 Alzheimer’s Champions in the Rockland area raised more than $6,300 to fund Alzheimer’s care, support and research during September’s annual Alzheimer’s Association Memory Walk held by the Knox Center for Long Term Care, reported Christopher Burke of Pen Bay Healthcare.

Burke’s release reminds readers that 5.3 million Americans are living with the disease, and 30,000 of those are Maine residents.

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Speaking of taking steps to help others, Mary-Ann Saxl reported that the Warren Center for Communication and Learning’s first Hike for Hearing, in September, organized by the Dirigo Alumnae Chapter of Delta Zeta Sorority and member Linda Allen, was “a great success.”

Proceeds benefited “programming at the Warren Center” in Bangor, “which provides speech and hearing services to residents in eastern and central Maine,” Saxl said.

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While local individuals do all they can to support area organizations, national companies do their part to help members of communities where their businesses are located, as evidenced by a $10,000 grant the Warren Center received this year from the Rite Aid Foundation.

That donation was in support of the Warren Center’s Regional Hearing Aid Bank program, which enables the Warren Center “to provide hearing aids to members of the community who could not otherwise afford them,” according to the press release from the Warren Center.

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When members of the Maine Business and Professional Women’s Club gathered for their annual spring board meeting in Bangor, they continued their tradition of selecting a local nonprofit to be the recipient of a charitable donation.

This year, Maine BPW selected the Good Samaritan Agency of Bangor, according to a Good Samaritan release.

Maine BPW members then collected and donated a total of 2,475 items, from diapers to wipes, books and cash, for the agency that, since 1902, has provided services for single parents, including an alternative education program, a day care program and adoption services.

Judy Bragg and Sandra Carter serve as co-presidents of Maine BPW, according to its Web site.

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Judy Berk wrote the Bangor Daily News recently to report on the Natural Resources Council of Maine’s October fundraiser, “The Art of Local Food,” in Rockport.

“By all accounts,” Berk wrote of the tasting party, “this was an incredibly successful event.

“It raised money to support NRCM’s work to protect Maine’s environment, and the place was abuzz with hundreds of people who enjoyed delicious local foods and inspired local beverages, chatted with friends old and new, took in the art exhibit and listened to jazz piano.”

While I can’t list all those who supported this event, Berk wants readers to know “this gathering would not have been possible without the strong and steadfast support of our incomparable midcoast community and an incredible team of volunteers, farmers, chefs, fishermen and other members of Maine’s vibrant food economy.”

On behalf of NRCM executive director “Brownie Carson and all 12,000 NRCM supporters,” Berk extends thanks to those “wonderful people and businesses, and to the many generous food lovers who came to the event.”

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Bangor Health and Community Services director Shawn Yardley wrote the BDN on behalf of his department and the Bangor Regional Influenza Coalition to thank the “many people … for their efforts in working with us to respond as quickly as possible to the H1N1 and seasonal flu threats.”

Staff of local schools as well as state, county and local medical and emergency agencies and services “quickly committed to pool their limited resources to put our vaccination plan into motion,” Yardley wrote, adding the clinic was also aided by donations of food, beverages and supplies from many local and area business owners and managers.

But Yardley saved his most sincere thanks for “the parents of the 4,500-plus children who brought or sent their children to the clinics.”

“Many endured long waits but chose to accept this inconvenience to ensure that their children received these important vaccinations.

“It was truly a wonderful example of our community coming together in response to a great need,” Yardley wrote.

“The list of thank-yous is long,” but “the impact of their efforts will be longer-lasting,” he added.

“Thanks to all who answered the call.”

Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; javerill@bangordailynews.net; 990-8288.

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