BANGOR – When Eva Grover of Fairfield first began feeding hungry children, she used $50 of her own money to buy as much peanut butter and jelly and tomato soup as she could.
Now she will help facilitate what organizers hope will become a major new nonprofit network designed to serve people in need.
On Thursday, organizers announced the formation of the new Do Gooder Network, which they hope will become a statewide resource for anyone in need.
“If you think you have no options left and nowhere left to turn, then we want to hear from you,” said organizer Pat LaMarche, a former gubernatorial candidate and current radio personality.
LaMarche said she and a large group of supporters, some of whom were with her on Thursday, have been quietly helping people in need for nearly 20 years. Now, she said, it’s time to make those efforts official.
“We’ve gotten huge contributions from people and companies who can’t write their donations off, because the money was going to individuals, not to nonprofits,” she said.
LaMarche said she has been raising money and coordinating work crews since her time with the Penobscot Theatre and the Children’s Miracle Network.
People can become Do Gooders by donating $25 to the cause. They will receive a T-shirt and a card for their wallet declaring them a “Do Gooder.”
LaMarche said she hopes that 1,000 people will sign up, allowing $12,500 to be used for the T-shirts and the remainder to help cover things such as computer software, stamps and stationery.
All the work will be done by volunteers, LaMarche said. Membership fees will be used for administrative costs, leaving any donations to go 100 percent to the causes supported by the organization, she said.
They hope to establish a database of Do Gooders so that if a family is in need anywhere in the state, a resource of people who are willing to help will be available in that area.
“Oftentimes it’s not money at all that we need. It may be somebody to swing a hammer or to flip burgers in the park at a fund-raiser,” LaMarche said.
She noted a case recently where a single mother with breast cancer needed her car repaired.
“I happen to know a nice mechanic and I called him and he fixed her car for free. Those resources are out there and this will give us a way to find those people and use them. It’s a way for anyone to be a hero,” she said.
Anyone interested in learning more can check out the group’s new Web site at www.dogooders.us, by calling 846-1305 or 453-2905, or by writing to Do Gooders Network, P.O. Box 307, West China 04926.