Volunteer Newsletter   Spring 2015

Group coordinators, please forward this message to everyone in your group!

April is Volunteer Appreciation Month!

Mark Swann

Spring is officially here! After months of punishing cold and never-ending snow, the sun, warmth, and new growth are definitely welcome.

While this past winter provided a harsh reminder of the daily challenges faced by the people we serve, we were amazed and grateful for the many of you who braved storms and cold to make it here to provide a warm meal, a comforting smile, or a fun activity. Your enthusiasm made this winter more bearable for our most vulnerable neighbors.

Preble Street has the best volunteers an organization could ask for, and we are deeply thankful for your continued support and dedication all year round. But in April, for National Volunteer Month, we’d like to do something to celebrate all of you and the wonderful work you do.

We hope you’ll join us at Gelato Fiasco, 425 Fore Street, Portland, on April 28th from 5-8 p.m. at an event to honor you. Each volunteer will receive a free dish of gelato (click on the red spoon or this link for a coupon). This is a small gesture but it represents a HUGE THANK YOU, because without your support, we could not accomplish what we do!

Volunteer Spotlight: Glenwood House

Glenwood House

Glenwood House to the rescue! At least, that's how it’s been here for the past few months. The faces in this group have become familiar around Preble Street. They have a regular monthly soup kitchen shift and join us weekly to help out with the food pantry, but that’s not all. Throughout the winter, Glenwood House has filled in during almost every storm, sometimes without even being asked. They’ve pitched in unloading trucks. They’re always ready and willing to lend a hand with anything; no task is too big or too small. Not only are they generous and versatile, but the respect and dignity they show clients and the mission of Preble Street is exemplary. Thanks, guys, for your service!

Advocacy Corner: Funding Compassion

Mark Swann

Each year, the state contributes $380,000 from the general fund to support 42 shelters across Maine. In addition, MaineHousing, commits about $2.4 million of discretionary HOME funds to support shelters. Together these funds only provide $7.61 per person per night—a tiny fraction of the actual cost. Emergency shelters in Maine are in a desperate fight to stay open. State support for shelters has been woefully inadequate for years, and is getting worse. 

Which is why Portland and Bangor have had to rely on General Assistance for shelter guests to keep shelters open. Recently, though, these funds have been under attack.

Continue reading.

Volunteer Spotlight: 5th Annual Peter Darvin Pancake Breakfast

Darvin 2015
One Saturday in March, current and former Preble Street board members (also volunteers!) and staff pitched in for the 5th Annual Peter Darvin Pancake Breakfast. Each year, Judge Darvin, a former Preble Street board member, hosts a pancake breakfast at the Resource Center Soup Kitchen, working with friends to prepare pancakes from scratch and serve the meal. Thanks, Peter!

Program Spotlight: Resource Center

resource center

Imagine if you didn’t have a home. You wouldn’t have a place to shower, brush your teeth, or wash your clothes. You wouldn’t have a phone or a way to get mail. Imagine trying to find a job with no clean socks or underwear. Imagine going to interviews carrying everything you own around on your back.

For many people living in the most severe poverty, the Preble Street Resource Center is the only place to turn for safety and hope, a warm coat, a shower, a hot meal, a telephone, and a chance to make a better life. 

The Preble Street Resource Center is the hub of services for hundreds of homeless people in Portland—meeting urgent needs and providing direct access to casework services and access to employment, healthcare, legal assistance, housing support and more to provide a pathway out of homelessness.

Learn more!

Volunteer Spotlight: Seacoast Vision


Our friends at Seacoast Vision Care in Scarborough have a clear vision of how to help people living in poverty! Dr. Nathan Corbell, his wife, Ruth, and their staff have been volunteering their services to clients at the Preble Street Resource Center a few times a year, providing free eye exams and glasses to people with no access to eyecare. Thank you so much, Seacoast Vision Care! Generous community partners like you are a sight for sore eyes.

Do you know an optometrist who may be willing to donate his or her services? Preble Street is currently looking for more eye care specialists to help clients with their vision needs. Call Tori Stenbak at 775-0026 or email volunteer@preblestreet.com for more information.

Volunteer Needs
Please contact our volunteer manager if you are able to work any of these shifts at the Resource Center Soup Kitchen:

Breakfast (7-10am):
April 6-8, 10, 15-17, 20-21, 24-25, 27-30

May 1-5, 8, 10-15, 18-27, 29-30

Lunch (10:30am–1:30pm):
April 16, 22, 26-27, 30

May 1, 4-5, 7-8, 11-14, 21-22, 25, 29, 31

Dinner (3:30-6:30pm):
April 25

May 7, 11, 23, 25, 29-31

Upcoming Events
April 25: Third Annual USM Community Electronic Waste Recycling Day

April 28: Scooping for Community Day at The Gelato Fiasco

May 9: Windham Day of Kindness

Ongoing: Switch your electricity supplier to Electricity Maine

Ongoing: Support Preble Street by Shopping with AmazonSmile

Preble Street in the News
We should return the favor to our veterans, expand health coverage

A hot button 30 years in the making: Aid to Portland’s homeless

Commentary: Maine needs new way to fund emergency homeless shelters

Breakfast cookoff kicks off Maine Restaurant Week

Portland’s fight with state over shelter costs puts focus on ‘broken system’ statewide

Maine Calling: Fighting Human Trafficking

Patriot Subaru Earns $40,000 for Preble Street

More News>

Financial contributions make the most impact because they offer us the flexibility to provide whatever is most needed, especially casework and advocacy services to help people escape homelessness, hunger, and poverty. To make a financial donation, please visit our secure online form.

You can also help us stock our shelves and clothing closets with an in-kind donation.

Clothing and toiletry donations can be brought to 5 Portland Street, Monday-Friday, 8:30am-5:30pm and Saturday-Sunday, 9am-noon.

Food donations can be brought to 252 Oxford Street, 7 days a week, 7am-6pm.

Corporate Giving
Want to make even more of a difference for neighbors in need? Consider asking your place of business to support Preble Street with a financial gift. Email us at development@preblestreet.org for more information. 

Did You Know?
Preble Street has been a Charity Navigator "Four-Star Charity" for ten years running, and is Maine's highest ranked nonprofitLearn more!

Charity Navigator

Questions, Ideas, Concerns?
We'd love your feedback on this newsletter, your experience volunteering at Preble Street, or anything else.

Drop us a line at volunteer@preblestreet.org.