ROCKLAND – The weekend of April 8-10 was especially memorable for the Rockland District Nursing Association. In the tradition of the association Mercy Marchers of the 1960s, members of the St. Bernard’s Youth Ministry held a 20-hour fast, culminating its monthlong Mercy March to raise awareness of and collect donations for association. Ten youth and adult fasters began Friday night with a supper prepared by the St. Bernard’s Catholic Church soup kitchen coordinator, after which only water and juice were consumed until the fast was broken.
During the 20 hours, fasters engaged in various activities, including swimming at the Samoset Resort, a scavenger hunt along Main Street and a community-building exercise in which they more fully appreciated the obstacles faced by the elderly, the population predominantly served by association. Early Saturday, the team of fasters performed community service by picking up trash along Rockland streets. At the end of the day, the celebratory dinner created by the Chefs of Chaos of the St. Peter’s Episcopal Church soup kitchen, with contributions from Nativity Lutheran Church cooks, honored the successful completion of the fast, and remembered the gifts and legacy of the of association’s founding nurse, Eliza Steele.
On Sunday afternoon, the Rockland Congregational Church hosted a benefit concert for the association as part of the Sounds of Second Sunday series. The concert featured the Steelin’ Thunder steel drum band under the direction of Mike Miller. At the reception after the concert, audience members examined more than 260 miniature houses bearing the names of donors who contributed to association during the Mercy March fund drive held last month.
At the Rockland City Council meeting on April 11, St. Bernard’s Youth Ministry was recognized and commended for its efforts, as was the creative collaboration among the area churches, local businesses and service organizations in supporting and fundraising for association. The city of Rockland has a history of partnership with association since Eliza Steele found the agency more than 80 years ago.
Eliza Steele Youth Fast 2011 planning committee members are Bethany Thivierge, Pat Snow, Margaret Cuccinello, Anne Norman, Judy Waterman, Elaine Isakson, Steve Heddericg, Maine State Rep. Ed Mazurek and Peta van Vuuren
For more information, please call the association at 594-4522.