Last spring, the John T. Gorman Foundation awarded $1.5 million to 90 organizations through its annual Direct Services Grant Program. Since then, grantees have done exceptional work to help low-income Mainers meet their essential needs. Here in their own words and photos, a sample of grantees offer updates and snapshots of their work this year.
Thank you to all our 2022 Direct Services Grantees – it is a privilege to support your efforts!
Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association – Maine Chapter (Scarborough) We provide programs, services, and advocacy for the 29,000 people in Maine living with Alzheimer’s disease as well as family caregivers. Our free 24/7 Helpline – 800.272.3900 – provides clinical care consultations, information about dementia, and referrals to local services. Program volunteers help us provide 21 support groups statewide and advocates work to secure significant advances in policy priorities to improve the lives of those affected by dementia. And as the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research, the Alzheimer’s Association is committed to accelerating the global progress of new treatments, preventions and, ultimately, a cure.
Amistad (Portland) The discretionary funds made available to Amistad through the John T. Gorman Foundation were instrumental in allowing us to weather the transition of our Bath Recovery Community Center (BRCC) to its new home at 15 Vine Street in Bath. The BRCC is an important resource for people in Sagadahoc County who are impacted by addiction. Our need to find a new location had not been anticipated, and the stakes for the community were high as we sought to find a suitable new space. This picture was taken when Governor Mills dropped in one day to visit the new site and met with the BRCC program manager Kimberli Lovell.
Aroostook County Action Program (Presque Isle) In this photo, Fort Kent Elementary students are helping hand-harvest over 15,000 pounds of potatoes. To celebrate our 50th anniversary, we had a local farmer donate a potato plot to ACAP – with the help of the community, we were able to harvest, bag and deliver potatoes to dozens of community cupboards, pantries and education centers countywide. This project helped raised awareness of the challenges of food insecurity and provided our community the opportunity to be part of the solution.
Augusta Food Bank (Augusta) With the rising cost of food and fuel crippling many household budgets, the number of people utilizing our services continues to rise – in fact, our numbers are up more than 67 percent compared to just two years ago. All told, the AFB is now providing the equivalent of more than 55,000 meals to thousands of individuals every month! Free Food Thursday is just one program that has risen dramatically over the past year, with vehicles lining up hours before our 8 a.m. opening time.
Bath Housing Development Corporation* (Bath) Bath Housing celebrates seven years of Comfortably Home – supporting almost 300 participants! This program offers eligible homeowners 55 or older no-cost, high-impact home modifications. Stable railings and stairs, secure shower bars and better lighting, for example, have been shown to significantly reduce falls and injury, allowing people to thrive at home. A 2015 grant from the John T. Gorman Foundation seeded Bath Housing’s aging in place work and Comfortably Home has now been replicated across the state in partnership with MaineHousing and was the inspiration for HUD’s Older Adult Home Modification Program.
Boys And Girls Club Of Kennebec Valley (Gardiner) With Foundation support, the Boys & Girls Club of Kennebec Valley was able to purchase new tables, chairs, board and card games, and provide monthly luncheons for our Oldies but Goodies program, which meets weekly at our Sandra M. Prescott Clubhouse in Gardiner. The number of aging adults in this group keeps growing each week. Participants are so happy with their new set-up, the activities available for them, and each other’s company.
Bridging the Gap – Emmanuel Lutheran Episcopal Church (Augusta) So far this year, BTG services have reached over 2,400 individuals. In August alone, 836 individuals were served through Addie’s Attic Clothing Bank and the Basic Essentials Hygiene Pantry distributed 1,078 orders – significant increases from the prior year. In addition, BTG’s Resource Connection Department has been busy helping individuals – 385 so far this year – connect the dots to more stable and sustainable situations. A small yet mighty crew of staff, amazingly dedicated volunteers and tremendous community support makes this all possible!
Castine Community Partners Inc. (Castine) At CARF, we have learned there are many ways to measure success in a grocery delivery outreach. To date, volunteers have delivered 1,879 bags. We now deliver 13-14 bags weekly, down from a high of 20 earlier this year. During this time, we have been able to really get to know our neighbors and respond to some of their basic needs.
CHiP, Inc. (Newcastle) More than 100 volunteers worked to keep neighbors safe, warm, and dry in central Lincoln County during our its annual Community Cares Day in September. This year, 12 teams spread out to Waldoboro, Damariscotta, Bristol, and Jefferson to repair and build stairs; replace and install skirting on mobile homes; repair soffits and fascia boards; clean up sites; transport firewood; and build window inserts. This year had a strong emphasis of on getting homes ready for the coming heating season and gathering firewood for requests in the winter.
Family Violence Project (Augusta) Family Violence Project (FVP) provides services to those impacted by domestic abuse within Kennebec and Somerset Counties. With Foundation funding, we have been able to further our mission to end domestic violence within these communities. During this fiscal year, FVP advocates and volunteers served 2,067 individuals, responded to 3,258 helpline calls, sheltered 104 people, and supported 708 individuals in court. Together, we hope to make our communities safe, healthy, and free from oppression and violence.
Freeport Community Services (Freeport) Freeport Community Services’ Age-Friendly Freeport & Pownal program has expanded their offerings with the help of John T. Gorman funds. Five new age-friendly programs have been added to the calendar at no cost to the community and biweekly trail walks are being offered in partnership with Freeport Conversation Trust. Coming together to congregate helps reduce social isolation, fosters connection and bolsters the mental health of our aging population.
Growing to Give (Brunswick) This year included the success of several new initiatives that aimed to expand our community impact. We served as a training site for the Farm Skills Program, a collaborative farmhand training program. We expanded our crop selection to include a broader range of culturally preferred foods, given that several of our partner food access sites serve a diverse population of New Mainers. And we deepened our ongoing work to educate our community around food insecurity and regenerative growing practices.
Healthy Lincoln County (Damariscotta) The Food Security Community Connection program at Healthy Lincoln County has made great strides in better supporting the residents of our community. We increased access for individuals seeking food and resources by transitioning our food hotline to a two-way calling and texting service. HLC has drastically increased food rescue efforts – in 2022 thus far, more than 36,000 pounds of local food has been rescued and distributed in our community. Lastly, our Food Security Community Connector has also increased capacity to network and foster community relationships to address hunger in our community.
Healthy Peninsula (Blue Hill) Serving the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle, this community health organization has had a busy year of community collaboration and service. One of our favorite projects is our volunteer delivery coordination for the Simmering Pot project. In addition to nourishing soup and bread each week, we now also have a wildly successful flower project with the local Brooklin Garden Club. The project brings a warm meal, a friendly visitor, and now also an occasional bouquet of joy to 70+ households, all of which help improve health and wellness for underserved community members in our region.
In Her Presence (Westbrook) When immigrant women arrive in Maine with their families, they are besieged by a multitude of pressures. There is pressure to find appropriate schools for their children, to secure adequate shelter in a safe neighborhood, to provide acceptable food for their families, to address chronic or acute medical needs, and more. We know that immigrant women tend to put the needs of their families first and take care of themselves last – this is why our programs target women. One participant notes, “In Her Presence has assisted me to improve my English fluency and learn how to start the new journey in Maine. The organization helped me build confidence and gain the knowledge and skills I needed to further my career.”
Knox County Homeless Coalition (Rockland) Teens attending our low-barrier youth program took full advantage of the safe space to express their unique personalities in these festive carved pumpkins. As rent, groceries, and other basic living costs continue to climb, Midcoast Mainers of all ages are finding themselves more and more in need of our wraparound services. KCHC currently serves 1,000 individuals and, for the first time in our history, we are also breaking ground on a number of exciting affordable housing initiatives.
Locker Project (Portland) The Locker Project is celebrating a long-awaited move to a larger facility, with three times the cold storage we had before. The need for food assistance continues to be high among families with children in Greater Portland. We aim to stretch family food budgets, reducing stress and freeing up resources, with school- and community-based programs that provide reliable access to fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, bread, and healthy staples.
Machias Area Food Pantry (Machias) Construction started mid-September on a new standalone building to house the Machias Area Food Pantry. The basement fellowship hall of the Centre Street Congregational Church has been the Pantry’s loving home for its first 38 years. But increased utilization and Pantry expansion over the past two years have filled this space to the brim. Our new building is almost twice the size. It will accommodate delivering many more wraparound services and will offer new opportunities for the whole community. We thank everyone involved in making this a reality.
MaineGeneral Medical Center (Augusta) MaineGeneral Medical Center’s Addiction Medicine Program provides critical services to more than 330 members of the community with substance use disorder. Funding has given us the opportunity to support our patients and the everyday challenges they face. To date, we have begun distributing much needed supplies, including taxi vouchers and gas cards to help patients get to and from their appointments with our addiction medicine team, food bags from Good Shepherd Food Bank, hygiene packs, and The Big Book – Alcoholics Anonymous. As we guide our patients through their treatment, we encourage and support them to be their best selves.
MaineHealth Care At Home (Saco) In recent years, the home health industry has served more of the patient population and we are no different here in Southern and MidCoast Maine. MaineHealth Care at Home (MHCAH) has integrated advanced telehealth equipment to assist in the monitoring of home health patients to improve their adherence and connectedness to the care plan and team. Over the last year, the program has served over 780 homebound patients with monitoring to detect variances in their status and avoid unnecessary re-hospitalizations, all in support of our not-for-profit mission of supporting patients where they want to be – in the comfort of home and family.
Maine Immigrant Rights Coalition (Portland) MIRC has helped set up a volunteer medical clinic for asylum-seekers located at the Howard Johnson Hotel in South Portland. Many asylum-seekers are sick or have medical issues due to a lack of access to healthcare. The clinic treats minor ailments and illnesses, provides check-ups, and in cases of more complex situations, makes referrals to larger health institutions. The health providers are local physicians and medical students volunteering their time. At MIRC, we are so grateful for all our amazing volunteers, like Hashim (pictured), who mops the floor every night.
Maine Medical Center(Portland) The Women’s Health Service Line team at Maine Medical Center remains committed to ensuring all women in our community have access to compassionate and high-quality care. Our OB/GYN Clinic, which provides care to underserved women, is an important component. In the past year, over 450 patients from our clinic have given birth and we have served hundreds more with GYN care. Many of the patients are unable to receive reproductive care elsewhere and have untreated health factors. Funding provides patients with critical support, including nutritious food options, menstrual supplies, transportation assistance, and infant car seats.
Michael Klahr Jewish Family Services (KJFS) (Portland) Michael Klahr Jewish Family Services (KJFS) proudly reaches those in need throughout Southern Maine regardless of age, race, religion, or any other factor. Our Diaper Bank serves clients directly, and partners with more than a dozen agencies to distribute diapers to families in need: over half a million diapers in each of the past two years! Our refugee resettlement program has resettled over 100 people from 5 countries in just its first year. And our Essentials Pantry and Joe Bornstein Winter Warmth Drive help community members with important unmet needs.
Milestone Recovery (Portland) In the last year, the Greater Portland area has seen drastically increasing rates of both substance use and homelessness. In response, Milestone is working to expand several of its core services. Its HOME Team outreach program expanded to include a second outreach team. Its detox program recently secured funding to double its capacity. And its residential treatment program is in the midst of an initiative to expand its capacity from 16 to 21.
Piscataquis Regional Food Center (Dover Foxcroft) In addition to the organization’s core operations – distributing 750,000 pounds of food to partners throughout the region – grant funding has supported several programs at PRFC, including hundreds of home deliveries. Our driver delivers food cupboard packages, commodity boxes, and pet food monthly to homebound seniors across the Maine Highlands Region, as well as farm share items in the summer months.
Rockland District Nursing Association* (Rockland) As Covid ebbs and flows, RDNA nurses help bring some stability and normalcy during distinctly abnormal times. Since March 2020, under pandemic safety protocols, these nurses have made over 5,500 in-home nursing visits, providing essential services, and driving over 23,000 miles to regularly visit elderly and medically vulnerable clients living on their own. In the Rockland area, district nurses have been making these visits for over 93 years with the loving support of this community.
SeniorsPlus (Lewiston) Western Maine’s designated Area Agency on Aging is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year! SeniorsPlus expects to serve 2,647 meals to older adults and adults with disabilities in Franklin, Oxford and Androscoggin counties through our Meals on Wheels (MOW) program. A delivery by MOW not only provides homebound Mainers with a nourishing meal, but also a safety check and social interaction. Often, the delivery person is the only person a client may see for days.
Shalom House (Portland) Basic needs and subsistence issues are some of the greatest challenges our residents and clients with serious mental illness face. This year, our Basic Needs Fund provided 155 clients and residents with financial support for a range of needs, including food and clothing, prescription co-payments, medical procedures and supplies, dental procedure costs, dentures, apartment applications fees, security deposits, back rent, heating bills, moving costs and many other expenses. Once these needs have been met, people’s lives become more stable and they are able to address personal goals, receive services and treatment, and once again become a vital part of our community.
Southern Maine Agency on Aging (Biddeford) In the past year, Southern Maine Agency on Aging served 3,000 clients and delivered 323,000 meals with the help of hundreds of volunteers. And SMAA’s support for the homebound older adults in Cumberland and York counties does not stop with the delivery of a meal. Each Meals on Wheels client completes a well-being assessment for additional needs, and SMAA Phone Pal volunteers check regularly on the clients. “We appreciate the hard-working people that put these meals together and the ones who deliver them. All are working hard to help the elderly have a better life,” shared one of our Meals on Wheels clients.
Through These Doors (formerly Family Crisis Services) (Portland) Through These Doors is the domestic violence resource center serving victims and survivors in Cumberland County. In this photograph, advocates and residents work together in the shelter garden, which advocates planted over the summer. Not only does the garden add beauty and color to the space, but it also gives shelter residents an opportunity to work toward a common goal with people who may have vastly different backgrounds and experiences. By working together to create something beautiful, residents turned the garden into a symbol of healing and hope.
Trinity Jubilee Center (Lewiston) We had a busy summer, serving nearly 9,000 meals in our Soup Kitchen. We also served over 3,000 children’s meals through the Summer Food Service Program and sent the kids back to school with new backpacks and new clothes. The Food Pantry distributed over 1,000 grocery boxes and the Diaper Bank distributed over 6,000 diapers. The Shelter served homeless men, women, and children; the Free Clinic treated people without insurance; the Resource Center handed out toiletries and socks and lent use of our phone and mailing address; and the Refugee Integration Program helped people find jobs and obtain work permits and citizenship.
Waterville Area Soup Kitchen (Waterville) The Waterville Area Soup Kitchen began serving meals on the street in November 2020, in 4 different locations in the city 2 days a week and eventually 3 days a week as the need arose. In February of 2022 we found the perfect location at 38 College Avenue. We opened to serve our first meal on May 2, 2022. We had served approximately 4,500 meals since November of 2020. Since May 2, 2022 we have served 15,000+ meals. Importantly, our guests feel valued, and we want to continue to give each of them an opportunity to belong to something.