By Debra Bell
Special to the Weekly
It’s no surprise that during the holidays people are more generous. Holiday trees full of wishes and nonprofits collecting to make the holidays a bit brighter for those who are struggling are as traditional as the Salvation Army bell ringers and Santa.
But the women of the Bangor Chapter of Altrusa International decided to make the holidays special for the homeless. The chapter, which has 21 members, gathered items that the shelter’s homeless could use and then packed 38 boxes that were delivered to the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter just before Christmas.
According to Sheila Goodwin, Altrusa’s treasurer, the group chose the homeless
shelter to give to because of the need.
And according to Dennis Marble, executive director of the homeless shelter, the donated presents is a welcome — and much needed — surprise for the shelter’s visitors.
The boxes were filled with personal care items including toothpaste, toothbrushes, lotion, combs, tissues, lip balm, shower gel, deodorant and razors as well as some items to keep the homeless warm, such as mittens and socks. Overflow items also were donated to the homeless shelter.
Altrusa International is a service organization and because of that they choose organizations to give to throughout the year. Other service projects have included collecting donations for the Bangor Humane Society, organizing bingo games at the Phillips Strickland House, enhancing literacy in the area schools through the donation of a book of the schools’ libraries’ choice (29 books were donated in 2013), and many more projects. The organization also serves a meal every month at the Ronald McDonald House and they stock a room at the Ronald McDonald house as well.
“There are people out there who need the support of the community,” Goodwin said. “We feel privileged to help.”
Altrusa International was founded in 1917 and the Bangor group’s charter was granted in 1956. While the group in Bangor is composed of women, membership is open to men as well.
The group meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month at the Good Samaritan Agency. For information, email Lois Bloomer, Bangor Altrusa president,l at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Bangor Chapter is online at districtone.altrusa.org/District-Clubs/Maine/Bangor or at Facebook by searching for Altrusa International of Greater Bangor Inc.