April 05, 2020

Bay State parish helps fill Maine cupboards

Difficult times often bring unexpected connections between friends, neighbors and strangers, near and far, who rise to the occasion to help those in need. This is the story of one of those connections.

The Ecumenical Food Cupboard, supported by a number of area churches, is located at Hammond Street Congregational Church in Bangor. Skippy Valentine is the food cupboard representative for First Methodist Church on Essex Street.

“There is a small church in Auburndale, Mass.,” Valentine told us. “It is the United Parish of Auburndale, and one of the ministers is a friend of mine.”

Valentine and her friend the Rev. Catherine Michael were speaking on the phone and Michael said she “had heard on the news about all the trouble we are in” after the recent ice storm, Valentine said.

Michael asked Valentine if there were serious needs and shortages in the area and was told there were. “I told her the shelves of our food cupboard had been depleted much more than usual because people without power had lost a lot of food.”

It was then Valentine’s friend approached her own parishioners in Massachusetts. “She put out the call,” Valentine said. “She told them this is an opportunity to help your neighbors.”

As a result, the small parish “collected more than 60 bags of groceries and some cash donations,” Valentine said. “And then my friend and one of her parishioners, Linda Marsh, drove the food here.”

The women made the delivery of their parish gifts Tuesday, “which was another gift,” Valentine said, “because the weather broke and the driving was good.”

Valentine said the Hammond Street cupboard “got just everything you can think of. They brought containers of water, cases of tuna fish, cereal, soups crackers and much more. This was not only a boost to the supply of the food cupboard, but a morale boost for all of us as well.”

Valentine said the Massachusetts gift is “comparable to North Carolina sending people up here” but that with the closer proximity of Massachusetts to Maine “it’s really a good lesson in neighbor helping neighbor. I hope we get to return the favor sometime.”

We celebrated the life of Madeline Bacon with her family and friends on Wednesday. Madeline, as she was known to everyone, died Sunday at the age of 90. She was one terrific lady.

Mother of John Bacon, Jane Bacon and Carolyn Gardner, grandmother of six and great-grandmother of 14, she was a friend to the world. She was ageless, and her friendships prove that.

In her soul, she was you and, for most of her life, could do what you did as well as you could do it! That includes skiing into her 80s, and attending sporting events to cheer for any member of her family who happened to be playing anything, or leading the “Ladies of the Alfond” cheering on their beloved University of Maine Black Bear hockey team.

It was Madeline I approached — she was only 86 at the time — with the idea of being a “cover girl” for the 1994 Bangor Daily News annual hockey supplement. If anyone could convince her slightly more publicity-shy friends to pose for our photographer, and agree to be part of our cover story, it was Madeline. She did not let me down.

Madeline Bacon was a woman of spirit, determination, love and an enthusiasm for life that knew no bounds. Up to the last, she was an active participant in it.

Many never knew she pressed on through several serious medical problems, one foot ahead of the other, steady as she goes. Only recently did she give up sitting behind the wheel of her Jeep and, while getting her where she needed to be often fell to friends and other family members, it was Carolyn who assumed most of the responsibility of “Driving Miss Madeline.” She didn’t want to miss a thing.

Madeline died on Super Bowl Sunday, but I’m sure she didn’t miss the game.

I believe she watched it from her personal skybox, where she will forever cheer us on.

Students of the SAD 41 Life Skills program of Penquis Valley High School in Milo have been collecting quality, clean used clothing for people in their community who may be in need of such items as coats, hats, mittens, jeans and sweat shirts.

After the collecting was done, the students sorted and laundered the donated clothing.

Anyone in need of such items is urged to contact the Life Skills program at PVHS by calling 943-7346 and asking to speak with Alcinda Hall, Cathy Gray or Allen Monroe to arrange to view the collection and select what is needed.

Thursday, Jan. 22, was an extra-special birthday for 10-year-old Carlene Rice of Brewer.

That day, thanks to the generosity of 17 local businesses that donated more than $1,100 to Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation of Bangor, Carlene received her first bicycle.

The bike is a seven-speed adaptive handcycle for the youngster, who has cerebral palsy. When Carlene outgrows it, the bike will be made available to another child with a disability.

For Carlene, and MASR, we thank those kind donors for making her 10th birthday one she will always remember.

The Standpipe, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; 990-8288.

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