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Winter Giving Opportunities

Posted by Hazel Onsrud on December 4th, 2017

For many, December is a month for giving: giving as part of holiday traditions, giving to charities before the end of the year, or giving service as part of one’s myriad contributions to society. Of course, there are plenty of opportunities to create gifts, support non-profits, or provide service year-round, but if you too find yourself wondering how you can give NOW, at this special time of year, please feel free to browse this list of local ways to serve those in need.

Give Warmth

Give Nourishment

Give Toys

& More

  • Recognizing the importance of this time of year, the United Way of Mid Coast Maine annually publishes its own version of Winter Resources, both for those in need and those who want to help.
  • Calling 211 would provide you access to those resources and more.

 

All of these organizations rely on donations and volunteers from people like us. Thank you all! We are proud to be a part of this community.

Despite Severe Storms, Much of Maine is Dry

Posted by Hazel Onsrud on October 31st, 2017

Despite the heavy recent rainstorms, much of Maine is unusually dry. During the summer of 2017, Eastern Maine had less rain than average. Indeed, the drought monitor notes that Eastern Maine is in a moderate drought. This drought has affected wells, crops, and gardens. While this has not caused local food shortages, yet, much of the world is not so lucky.

Unfortunately, these current conditions are becoming more and more common. In Maine, scientists warn that although climate change may bring wetter conditions overall, precipitation is likely to come in more erratic ways, rather than moderate, well-distributed showers. Droughts are expected to increase, as are the unusually strong and damaging storms, like the one we just experienced.

With evidence to support this new trend, many are taking action and preparing for a future which will include more sporadic periods of rainfall. Check out our resources to learn more about preparedness, drip irrigation systems and water-saving designs:

More Resources:

Poverty & Homelessness in Maine

Posted by sarah brown on October 25th, 2017

More than 70 people attended a recent public forum addressing homelessness in Brunswick. Panelists from Tedford Shelter, The Gathering Place, Brunswick Police Department, Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program, Catholic Charities, and Sweetser provided a compassionate profile of homelessness that avoided negative characterizations of individuals and instead concentrated on the systemic causes of poverty.

Here are some surprising facts about poverty, food insecurity, and homelessness in Maine and our local community.

Poverty

  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines poverty as, “the state of one who lacks a usual or socially acceptable amount of money or material possessions.” Absolute poverty, extreme poverty, or destitution refers to the complete lack of the means necessary to meet basic personal needs such as food, clothing and shelter.
  • According to the Maine Equal Justice Partners, approximately 43,000 Maine children are living in poverty. Of those, almost 20,000 are living in deep poverty – half the poverty level. Between 2011 and 2015, the rate of deep child poverty in Maine increased faster than in any other state in the nation – eight times the national average and more than twice the New England average.

Food

  • Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program Soup Kitchen serves over 150 lunches per day, six days a week. Last year, over 1000 households were served in the MCHPP Food Pantry. In Brunswick alone, about 1 in 10 persons visited the pantry in 2016.
  • Maine ranks 7th in the nation and 1st in New England for food insecurity. Roughly 203,000 Mainers struggle with hunger, more than the total number of people living in Portland, Lewiston, Bangor, South Portland, Auburn, and Biddeford combined. A person is considered food insecure if they lack access to enough food to ensure adequate nutrition.One in six Mainers is food insecure, while the rate among Maine children is even higher: nearly one in four children in Maine experiences food insecurity. (Hunger Pains: Widespread food insecurity threatens Maine’s future, Good Shepherd Food Bank)

Shelter

  • Tedford Housing provides emergency homeless shelter for single adults (16 bed shelter) and families (6 apartments, totaling 29 beds) in Brunswick. According to the report, Homelessness in the Southern Midcoast: Implications for Shelter Capacity and Services, over 400 individuals approached Tedford for shelter for help last year, and only a quarter could be directly helped with shelter housing. Likewise, 300 families called Tedford last year, and only 22 were able to be sheltered.
  • The Gathering Place, a day shelter located on Tenney Way, serves 75-100 people per day.
  • As of June 2017, there were 60 homeless students in the Brunswick School District.
  • Homelessness is a complicated issue, with many underlying causes. Maine’s Plan to End & Prevent Homelessness, published by the Maine Housing Authority (updated June 2017) provides a blueprint for meeting the needs of several homeless populations, and induces action steps to end and prevent homelessness.

In addition to resources listed above, United Way of Mid Coast Maine coordinates 211 Maine.  211 Maine connects Maine callers to information about health and human services available in their communities and is part of a national movement to centralize and streamline access to health and human service information and resources. People can call, text, or search online to find help with basic needs (food, clothing, shelter), heating assistance, elder care, transportation, and more.

Media coverage:

Business complaints prompt Brunswick discussion about homelessness (The Forecaster, October 12, 2017)

Forum ponders plight of poverty: Uptick in complaints triggers discussion in Brunswick (The Times Record, October 13, 2017)

Nation’s poverty rate drops, but Maine’s does not (Bangor Daily News, September 15, 2016)

Maine Voices: Research shows how childhood poverty squeezes Maine businesses (Portland Press Herald, May 1, 2017)

Homelessness in Maine down, shelters still full (WGME, Friday, April 7th 2017)

Homelessness in Maine drops 9 percent (CentralMaine.com, July 11, 2017)

 

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