Unemployed need a helping hand on holidays

Posted Dec. 07, 2010, at 10:47 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:41 a.m.

For the past 15 years, during the holidays, Manna Ministries of Bangor has been providing gifts for families in need in the Bangor area.

This year, the tradition continues, and while nothing has changed about the efforts Manna makes to help the less fortunate have a better holiday season, the level of need has changed.

“The numbers are increasing,” Executive Director Bill Rae told me on a snowy, windy Monday morning after finally making it into his office and returning my call.

“The kind of people who are coming in” and asking for help, he said, “are the people who worked and had a job last summer, or even last fall, and are petrified that their unemployment is running out.”

“If Congress is not going to do anything, a lot of these guys will be out of money before Christmas.”

And that is why this year Rae’s plea for your help carries even more weight than it did last year.

In his letter to the Bangor Daily News seeking your contributions, Rae wrote that the staff at Manna “realize that Christmas is not just for the kids, but for the entire family.”

“Moms, dads, grandparents or individual adults who have no family still need a little hope at Christmastime.”

Rae also wants readers to know Manna “is not trying to overshadow” the wonderful work undertaken by other organizations this time of year, such as The Salvation Army, but he does want to emphasize that Manna wants to be able to help “the entire family.”

When a father comes into Manna, through the snow wearing a pair of beat-up old tennis shoes and asks for boots for his kids, Rae wants to be able to give Dad a pair of boots, too.

And guess what else the needy and newly needy could use help with this year?

Christmas trees and wreaths.

Rae would appreciate it if you could donate a tree or wreath to Manna “because a lot of people are asking for them,” he told me.

And for good reason.

If you don’t have your own land and can’t cut down your own tree, it might be difficult for you to purchase one this year.

Manna also is housing 25 clients right now, and they need help as well.

“A lot of these guys just came from jail,” or in off the streets, Rae said, “and they need coats, hats, boots. Everything.

“If someone could adopt a client, that would be wonderful.”

If you can help Manna “make this a season of hope” for the individuals and families who seek help there, call Manna for more information at 990-2870 or visit its 629 Main St. location.

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Roberta Fowler, Carol Higgins Taylor, Margaret Baker and all the good folks who support The Animal Orphanage need your help in making its Re-Gifting Sale a success.

That fundraiser is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 5 Gilman Falls Ave. in Old Town.

The women report donations are being accepted for the sale and ask you to remember that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

And while The Animal Orphanage cannot accept large or heavily used items, and definitely no clothing, supporters would like you to bring gently used items to the shelter during regular business hours.

The shelter’s winter hours are 1-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The Animal Orphanage also is selling tickets for two raffles, which feature a quilted Christmas skirt and a $50 Hannaford Supermarket gift card.

Tickets are $1 each or six for $5 and are available at The Animal Orphanage.

All funds raised through these events will directly benefit animal care, and the women remind you that since some animals are not adoptable, for a variety of reasons, those animals have to live out their lives at the orphanage, which is an expense we don’t often think about when it comes to raising funds to support nonprofit animal shelters.

For more information about contributing items for the Re-Gifting Sale or the work of The Animal Orphanage, call 827-8777.

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

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