April 01, 2020

Borders Angel Bunny Tree busier than ever

The U.S. presidential election may depend on hanging, pregnant chads in Florida, but a happy Christmas for the needy in the area may depend on hanging Angel Bunnies and a pregnant Borders employee in Bangor.

Stacie Sparkman is the community relations coordinator for Borders Books, Music and Cafe on Bangor Mall Boulevard.

Four months pregnant with her first child, Sparkman is faced with a most formidable task that she must complete by the middle of the month.

With your help, she will succeed.

Sparkman called to tell us that Borders Angel Bunny Tree, which provides gift books for the needy in the area, must be completed by Sunday, Dec. 17, so she can have the gift books wrapped and delivered to the requesting agencies in time for their holiday parties.

Borders has been open five years, she explained, and last year’s Angel Bunny Tree project set a record with 324 names.

But that doesn’t hold a candle to what has been requested of Borders and its customers this year.

Apparently other area businesses have discontinued similar projects, Sparkman said, so Borders Angel Bunny Tree requests have increased significantly.

Sparkman said when she arrived at her office Tuesday morning she thought she had 511 requests for gift books.

“And now I have another list, ” she said. “We’re up to 527 requests.”

Agencies requesting gift books are Children’s Miracle Network, Wabanaki Health Care, Park Woods Transitional Housing, Wings for Children and Families, OHI, MERT, Pathfinders and Indian Township Health Center.

The way the program works, Sparkman said, is the Bunny Angels hanging on a tree represent an individual request for a gift book.

Customers may find some Bunny Angels with a specific request, such as asking for a book about trucks, Sparkman said, “while some don’t have anything at all. It’s the customer’s choice.”

However, the requests are for all ages since the program covers children and adults.

“The customers purchase a book of their choice and we give them a 20 percent discount,” Sparkman said.

Then her work begins as she wraps all the gifts and makes sure they are delivered to the appropriate agencies at the appropriate times.

Obviously, this is a major undertaking for Borders and Sparkman, particularly, this year.

You can help by making your Bunny Angel purchase at Borders from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday or 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays at Borders in Bangor.

We know that by seeing this project to its completion, 527 needy individuals and one special Borders employee will be very, very happy.

This is Christmas Giving Tree week at Skowhegan Area High School.

Sponsored by the SAHS Civil Rights Team, students and staff are asked to purchase one or more gifts for children represented by tags on the tree.

Information for 50 tags that list the needs and wants of children in the community was provided to the CRT by the Skowhegan town office.

Staff and students are reminded that the deadline for collection of the gifts is Thursday, Dec. 7.

The gifts then will be sorted and organized for delivery to the town office by members of the Civil Rights Team.

The Hudson Museum’s sixth annual Maine Indian Basketmakers Sale & Demonstration will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at the museum, located in the Maine Center for the Arts on the University of Maine campus in Orono.

The event-filled day is hosted by the Penobscot Nation and the Maine Indian Basketmakers Alliance and features Maliseet, Micmac, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot basket makers selling their one-of-a-kind, brown-ash splint and sweet-grass basketry.

Also available will be carvings, jewelry, birch-bark work and many more items.

While the major event is free and open to the public, there are two events for which there are entry fees.

If you wish to participate in early bird shopping from 9 to 10 a.m., there is a $5 admission fee.

And, if you want your children, ages 8 and up, to participate in the children’s activities from 11 a.m. to noon, there is a $10 fee per child for one activity.

Those activities include a brown-ash and sweet-grass candy basket workshop with Theresa Secord Hoffman of the Penobscot Nation, and a sweet-grass angel workshop with Ruth Johnson of the Penobscot Nation.

The space is limited and pre-registration is required. To register your child, call 581-1901.

Other events of interest include brown-ash pounding and a work-basket demonstration by Eldon Hanning of the Micmac nation from 10:30 to 11 a.m., and the sale of traditional foods such as hull corn soup, fry bread and blueberry desserts from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the museum’s Bodwell area.

All food sales benefit the Penobscot Nation Boys and Girls Club.

The opening event in the Penobscot Gallery on the second level is at 1 p.m. and features two additions: a circa 1888 Penobscot canoe and a new acquisition of crooked knives.

The Burnurwurbskek Singers will perform traditional drumming and singing from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.

During the event, a food drive will also be conducted.

You are asked to bring nonperishable foods for collection by the Fiddlehead Food Pantry, which provides food for First Nation people in the Wabanaki regions.

Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; 990-8288.

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