Pastor Wilson initiated the idea, noting that we have the local soup kitchen, evening sandwich program, the food pantry, and homeless shelter. In none of those places can people get the essentials—laundry detergent, toilet paper, dish detergent, shampoo, paper towels, tissues, bath soap, feminine hygiene products, toothbrushes, diapers, baby wipes, and toothpaste.
“Furthermore, these items cannot be purchased with their EBT cards and state assistance programs,” explained Pete Downing, director of the program with his wife Lora of Sidney.
Some members of St. Mark’s Church have chosen to fill the needs of diapers and feminine hygiene items. “We recently had 1,500 diapers delivered by this church. This is a huge blessing and will be of such great help to many of your young mothers,” says Lora.
“People need to feel clean and have clean clothes in order to go to work and have their children go to school bathed and in clean clothes,“ commented Lora.
The Essentials Closet is staffed by three or four volunteers and is open the last two weeks of every month—Mondays, 5 to 7 p.m. and Wednesday and Friday from 9 to 11 a.m. Since April 17, they have served well over 600 different people, and some come every month. “We average about 180-200 people per month from all over Central Maine,” said Lora.