MACHIAS, Maine — A coalition of Machias organizations and businesses met Tuesday to coordinate relief efforts for the displaced employees of Helen’s Restaurant. More than 50 people are out of work in the wake of a fire that destroyed the landmark restaurant last Friday.
Represented at the meeting were Machias Savings Bank, Machias Bay Area Chamber of Commerce, Machias Revitalization Committee, Down East Community Hospital, The Machias Fourth of July Committee, and the Beehive Collective.
Recognizing that unemployment benefits will not replace the workers’ wages, a series of fundraisers are planned – ranging from a public spaghetti supper and auction, to a community theater production, a pie auction, and individual donations. “This is going to be a difficult few months for them,” Wendy Schors of MSB said. “Anything we can do for them will be appreciated.”
Some of the fundraisers include:
– 4-7 p.m. Monday, July 21, Helen’s Restaurant at Ellsworth will be hosting a $5 spaghetti dinner with all funds going to the Machias employees.
– $2,500 was donated by the medical staff of Down East Community Hospital. The hospital also held a pie and cake auction and a Dress Down Day to benefit Helen’s workers.
– Nick MacDonald at Machias Savings Bank is holding an open Pampered Chef party with a percentage going to Helen’s.
– 5-8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, a public supper will be held at the Rose Gaffney Elementary School. NorthCenter food suppliers, which services Helen’s, is providing all the food, paper goods and servers. Auction items for a silent auction are needed as well as dessert offerings. There is a Facebook event created for this supper or donors can contact Wendy Schorrs at Machias Savings Bank, 255-3347.
– 12:30 to 2 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 2, Faye Mack and the Machias Chamber of Commerce are hosting a pie auction at the Machias Savings Bank Community Room. All pies must be homemade and dropped off between 12:30 and 1 p.m. The auction will begin immediately afterwards. FMI: 255-4402 or 461-4888.
– Bad Little Falls Redemption Center on Kennebec Road is accepting returnables to benefit Helen’s workers.
– Downriver Theater Company will be performing a musical to benefit the employee fund in late September.
– Melissa Moffett, 497-3247, is spearheading a team from Downeast that will be running in a Color Run in Bangor. A portion of the money raised by the team will go to the Helen’s employees.
– Bella Vita Salon and Spa is donating a portion of all their services to the fundraising.
– Although an on-line GoFundMe account has raised more than $24,000, a second account has been set up at Machias Savings Bank that will be dispersed to Helen’s employees. Account administrator Jennifer Tuell said donors can bring their money to the bank or mail donations to Machias Savings Bank, Attn: Jennifer Tuell, P.O. Box 318, Machias, 04654. There are no fees charged to this account as in the GoFundMe account so all funds go directly to Helen’s employees, she said.
The coalition will meet next at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 22, at the Machias Savings Bank training center. Planning will continue, including new ideas for Christmas giving. All are welcome.