July 13, 2020

Coalition looks to link needy, volunteers

BUCKSPORT – For the past 10 years, the Bucksport Bay Healthy Community Coalition has been organizing groups to address a wide range of the area’s heath issues and its overall quality of life.

Now the coalition is gearing up to develop a way to link volunteers and organizations with those who need help. Organizers will hold a community summit titled “Caring for Our Families, Our Communities, and Our Future,” from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 4, at the Jewett Community Center.

The goal is to bring together a group of community leaders, representatives from organizations and residents to identify their concerns and talents, and to organize community efforts based on those factors.

That effort would tie into a coalition plan to develop a service called Community Action Resource Exchange, which would allow volunteers to be matched with people in need of assistance, according to coalition Chairman Tom Gaffney.

“We’re trying to get together with everyday, common-man kind of leaders in the community, those who have their fingers on the pulse of what needs exist in the community, particularly the needs of families,” Gaffney said Thursday.

The goal, he said, is to build a broad volunteer base to help meet those needs.

Although there are about 80 community organizations in Greater Bucksport – which includes the towns of Orland, Verona Island and Prospect – they provide a wide variety of services.

But the need for assistance is growing in the community and involves a wide range of areas including improving transportation, visiting older residents and mentoring younger ones.

“There’s a lot of volunteer work being done,” Gaffney said. “There are some hardworking, caring people doing that. But the numbers are dwindling as the need is growing.”

The summit will include formal presentations and small group discussions and will ask participants to consider questions about what they already do, what they need from the community, and how community resources could be mobilized to meet existing needs.

Participants will fill out questionnaires about themselves or their organization, the services they provide and the need for community support. At the close of the summit, participants will receive copies of all those questionnaires.

“They will leave with something tangible about what else is going on in the town,” Gaffney said.

For information about the summit, contact Mary Jane Bush at 469-6682.

Correction: A shorter version of this article appeared on page B4 in the State edition.

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