Friday, June 27, 2008

Spirit Of Giving

The Adoptive & Foster Families of Maine recently honored The Spirit of Giving Committee for outstanding community service. ( photo)

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist

“They are amazingly wonderful.”
That was the way Bette Hoxie, program director of the Adoptive and Foster Families of Maine and The Kinship Program described those people involved in the Spirit of Giving program based here.
The Spirit of Giving Committee has recently received a special Thank You Award from the Adoptive and Foster Families of Maine.
Jason Corbin of Admirals’ Inn, and Jeff Porter of Five-O, two of the organizers of the program, said it is aimed at helping those less fortunate in the state, especially children.
Adoptive and Foster Families provides services for adoptive, foster parents and kinship providers. These include families who find them-selves responsible for relatives’ children for one reason or another, including grandparents who may be living on fixed income.
Ms. Hoxie said that in some cases retired people have had to leave retirement communities in order to live where children were allowed, thus increasing their living expenses dramatically.
Many of those families accepting children “get no reimbursement” of any kind, Ms. Hoxie said. “These families are hurting.”
Corbin said the children involved with the program write down two items they would like to have and that is submitted to AFFM. He recalled one request from a seven-year-old who wanted a toothbrush. Others have asked for sweatshirts, a coloring book and crayons.
“It makes you realize how lucky we are,” he said. “It’s an awakening every year.”
“We do not accept any money,” Corbin said of the Spirit of Giving program. There are no administrative costs. “The gifts that come through the door go to the kids.”
Those who want to give money are asked to buy gifts cards at Hannaford or from an oil company.
The program helps children up to the age of 18.
“We want people to experience” the giving of gifts that are needed and fulfilling to some degree the holiday dreams of children of all ages. “That’s the whole spirit of giving idea” Corbin said.
Corbin, a native of Maine, was familiar with a similar program when he was in the Boston area and brought it with him when he returned to Maine.
“There’s something special about the Ogunquit, Wells, York community,” he said. “The people are very caring. They help one another out. It’s that whole Maine tradition. Something that’s different from other states.”
The original committee was about seven, he said, with people from the Wells, Ogunquit, and York area. At this point that group has grown to up to 15. There is no chairman, as such, with the
decisions made by the committee as a whole.
Last year the program, which was created in 2005 and helped over 85 kids, provided gifts for more than 300 children and this year the aim is to provide gifts for between 350 and 400 children. The Kinship Program has more than 650 children at this point.
The first invitations to join in the program will go out next week. Those wishing to help can contact a member of the committee and receive a list as to whether the child is a boy or age, what the age is, what their size is.
The names of the children are confidential, known only to those who run the Kinship Program. The monetary limit was $35 a child but there has been discussion of raising that to $50. In the past, Corbin said, some people have provided more than just what is asked for.
“A lot of the donors will take two or three kids,” Corbin said.
The gifts are brought to a special party, this year on Dec. 7 at Main Street, with color coded trees from different drop off points, seven in all. Following the party, which is put on with all donated foods, gifts are loaded on a truck and delivered to drop off points “all the way up to Old Town,” Corbin said.
From that point the Kinship Program takes over the actual delivery of the gifts.
Those interested in being involved can consult the group’s web site but as of this writing it is not yet available.

Caption: The Adoptive & Foster Families of Maine recently honored The Spirit of Giving Committee for outstanding community service. ( photo)

South Berwick’s 32nd Annual Strawberry Festival

Always the last Saturday in June, the South Berwick Strawberry Festival officially kicks off summer for the quaint, southern Maine town of South Berwick. The kids are out of school, camps are open and the weather is getting warm. All over town one can see the bright red, white, and green strawberry flags that not only line the main streets, but can also be seen flying from many houses. The day is filled with food, entertainment, games, and crafts.
For thirty-two consecutive years, hundreds of volunteers from South Berwick, have come together to put together a South Berwick tradition. As always, official Festival activities will take place only on the grounds of Central School, on Main Street, in the center of town. A stop at the Strawberry Festival Information Booth is a must to find out more about the day’s schedule for the entertainers, as well as where all the various activities are located and to purchase strawberry festival memorabilia.
For more info visit our website at www.southberwick

Wells Couple – Long Lasting!

Francis and Nathalie Chick celebrated their 72nd Wedding Anniversary recently. They were married in the Old Unitarian Church in Boston in 1936. This long lasting couple are 95 and 93-years old respectively, and have raised two children, two grand children and four great grand children. They are long-time Wells residents, having built their house on Clark Road in Wells Branch by cutting lumber from their own land and making their own shingles. Francis continued the endeavor by making their furniture as well. At “Soup’s On” in Wells, Mr. and Mrs. Chick were presented with a cake while by-standers sang “Happy Anniversary.” They remain active, going out for lunch every day, but haven’t done much ballroom dancing lately.
Nathalie and Francis Chick (Courtesy photo)