SKOWHEGAN, Maine — The Federated Church of Skowhegan, Skowhegan Area Chamber of Commerce and Aid for Kids of Houlton have collaborated to develop the Somerset Comfort Project, a day to give essential items to low-income families of the region. The event will be 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Federated Church in Skowhegan.
Some of the items will be winter coats for kids, sheets, books & toys. There is no admission to the event which will be held at the church located on Island Avenue in Skowhegan across the street from the Skowhegan Fire Department off Route 201.
Aid for Kids is a volunteer 501c3 humanitarian organization out of Houlton that receives donations from nationwide companies and organizations, then distributes those items across the state. The items are varied as it depends what organizations are willing to give. When the organization asks for donations it is explicit that those donations will only go toward low-income families and families in need. To honor that agreement ,there is a simple form that attendees will be asked to fill out so that there will be an existing record of the items going toward families in need.
The Somerset Comfort Project will strictly adhere to any policies Aid for Kids has in place. At the Somerset Comfort Project event on Saturday, attendees will be asked to fill out a form to show that they qualify as a low-income family. No forms can be filled out prior to the event and registration will not begin until 9:30 a.m., with doors opening at 10 a.m. In an effort to reach as many people as possible, there will be a limit as to how much can be provided to each family, which will be explained at registration.
“This is an opportunity that we could not pass up to help our communities,” said Cory King, executive director of the Skowhegan Area Chamber of Commerce, in a press release. “We couldn’t believe that an organization like Aid for Kids exists and we are so blessed to be able to work with them to help families in our area.”
Executive Director King and the Rev. Mark Tanner of the Federated Church are driving from Skowhegan to Houlton this week to secure the items for Saturday’s event. “It’s exciting to be making this partnership, and I’m so happy that Rev. Tanner came up with the idea to make this a community-wide day,” King said.
According to King, they know they will be getting coats, sheets, books and some toys but they might have an opportunity for other items too.
“It’s a great collaboration between three organizations and if all goes well perhaps this can continue at other times during the year,” King added. “We just hope to help as many families as possible.” Rev. Tanner and King have contacted many local agencies to get the word out including area municipalities and school districts.
Lastly, King did have a plea for attendees to make the day go smoothly. “On Saturday we will have volunteers doing the best they can to help the attendees get the items they need, however we are expecting lines of people so we ask for your patience and your courtesy. If all goes smoothly on Saturday, and if we can get more items, perhaps we can do this again in the future.”
The items, according to Aid for Kids, cannot be sold, bartered, traded or used in raffles. “We hope everyone can respect and adhere to the guidelines set by this project and if so, this could be a very positive program moving forward,” King said.