SOUTHWEST HARBOR, Maine — Each week, Bar Harbor Bank and Trust directors and employees, in exchange for being able to dress casually on Fridays, voluntarily contribute to a charitable fund that is awarded monthly to local nonprofit organizations. The program is called Community Commitment and the bank matches employee donations. Each month a different bank location gets to choose the recipient of the contributions.
For December, employees at the bank’s Southwest Harbor branch chose Island Connections to receive the funds. Island Connections provides services to seniors, the elderly and people with disabilities on Mount Desert Island and surrounding islands.
John Lawrence, Island Connections’ acting director said, “Our motto is neighbors helping neighbors. With our services, people are able to live more independently and enjoy a better quality of life.”
Through its volunteers, Island Connections offers, at no charge to its clients, transportation to health care appointments and the grocery store, wellness and social events, and friend-to-friend visits when volunteers spend time with a neighbor to offer conversation and company.
“As the population on MDI ages, requests for transportation are outpacing the recruitment of new volunteer drivers,” said Lawrence. “Drivers are our most precious resource. They volunteer their time and their vehicles to take clients to health appointments and on other errands that most of us take for granted.”
With the current high price of gas, funds are needed to purchase gas cards to offset the volunteers’ personal cost of service. In addition, Island Connections volunteers serve as the “wheels” for the local Meals on Wheels program. Drivers are needed to do short, local, in-town trips particularly in Bar Harbor.
“Whether it’s a drive once a week or once a month, we would be delighted to welcome new volunteer drivers,” Lawrence said. To volunteer as a driver, call Lawrence at 288-4457 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To make a contribution to Island Connections, send a check to 15 Eagle Lake Road, Bar Harbor 04609, or visit islconnections.org.