H.O.M.E. struggling financially after 40 years

Posted Aug. 12, 2010, at 8:35 p.m.

Forty years ago, a small group of women from Bucksport and Orland, including Lucy Poulin, came together to help the homeless in Hancock County.

The women founded Homeworkers Organized for More Employment, a 501(c)3 organization known as H.O.M.E., which continues to hold true to the concept of “Serving First Those Who Suffer Most.”

In describing H.O.M.E.’s 40th anniversary celebration in an April column, I noted H.O.M.E. has grown to encompass a food bank, soup kitchen, five homeless shelters including Emmaus Center in Ellsworth, two transitional housing complexes, a learning center, day care center, craft shops, a pottery studio, weaving studio, stained-glass studio, a sawmill, a shingle mill, an automotive garage and much more.

About 30 people now live at its Orland site, doing their best to keep the organization going.

Founding member “Sister Lucy,” as she is fondly known, is H.O.M.E.’s executive director.

Unfortunately, she told me this week, “we are in terrible shape, financially. Donations are down, but people are working very hard and earning all they can” to keep the organization, and all of its programs, going.

“We are trying to support a lot of people who are homeless and have no place to go and need education and need day care.

“I want to say it’s an impossible job but, every day, we try to pray and remember we’re in God’s hands, but we do need support, badly.”

One of its major fundraisers of the year comes this weekend when H.O.M.E. holds its annual Country Fair and Giant Benefit Auction.

The Country Fair begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 14, at H.O.M.E., located on Routes 1 and 3 in Orland.

That event features “a small country fair,” Sister Lucy said, in addition to a craft fair, flea market, homemade food, lemonade, hayrides and a barbecue.

Next up is the Giant Auction, which beings with a preview at 11 a.m. and the auction from noon to 4 p.m., or until all the items are sold, on Sunday, Aug. 15, at H.O.M.E.

You can view many of the items up for bid by visiting http://www.homecoop.net/.

Also included in this fundraiser is a quilt raffle and H.O.M.E.’s 2010 Summer Sweepstakes.

To help meet its financial obligations, Sister Lucy said, the organization sends out “an appeal letter twice a year, but we also make wreaths and sell crafts, shingles, lumber and used goods.”

“We try to earn as much income as we can. We have a flea market, and we also recycle as much as we can.”

The Orland site also features a small chapel that can hold up to 90 people and is available to the public.

H.O.M.E. doesn’t charge a fee for its use, “but if people can afford a donation,” Sister Lucy said, that is greatly appreciated.

For your information, a nondenominational service is held at 10:30 a.m. each Sunday, at the chapel.

H.O.M.E.’s work is not limited to Hancock County.

It is also part of the World Emmaus Community, and works with a sister community in Guatemala.

For more information, or to make a donation, visit the website, write to H.O.M.E., P.O. Box 10, Orland 04472, call 469-7961 or e-mail info@homecoop.net.

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

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