Volnews July 2015
Volunteer Newsletter   Summer 2015

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

Volunteers of the Year: The Casco Bay Island Group

Casco Bay Island Group

Among the more than 5,000 people coming through our doors each year to meet the most urgent needs of highly vulnerable people, it's an understatement to say it is a challenge to choose just one individual or group each year that exemplifies Preble Street’s values in their work. This year was no exception. Read more.

Thank You, Volunteer Group Coordinators!


Throughout our 40-year history, volunteers have been essential to many Preble Street services. Each month volunteers fill approximately 1,800 shifts, preparing and serving more than 1,000 meals daily, sorting clothing and mail, teaching yoga, cutting hair, and otherwise offering a hand up to our neighbors.

Many volunteer shifts are covered by organized groups who have come together to help us meet critical needs, and they represent many different types of organizations: faith, communities, businesses, social clubs, schools, and informal friend circles. With so many volunteer opportunities to fill, we rely heavily on group support to meet our needs. Many have adopted regular volunteer shifts, with members chipping in once a month or more. 

Group success often hinges on the willingness of one or more members to coordinate the group. This can be a challenging task. The group coordinator takes responsibility for recruiting, managing schedules, sending out reminders, and getting volunteers through the doors.

We recognize how much time, energy and effort this takes and want to send a special "thank you" to those of you who not only come to volunteer, but make the extra effort to organize other people to do so. The work you do behind the scenes is so very important!

Advocacy Corner: Saving the Overflow Shelter

Tori Demonstration

It's never easy to be poor, but the last several months have been especially trying for our most vulnerable neighbors, with seemingly endless political pressures coming down hard on those who can afford it least. 

This spring the state announced it would reduce its General Assistance and shelter aid to Portland by more than $5 million, making it more difficult for the city to serve the nearly 500 people who line up each night for a safe place to sleep.

As a result, the city proposed closing its 75-bed overflow shelter and ending the longstanding practice of placing homeless parents with children in motels once the family shelter was full. Read more.

Volunteer Spotlight: Maine Medical Center

Maine Med

Maine Medical Center has been an important community partner for years. Among the many ways MMC supports Preble Street is through a significant volunteer commitment. In addition to the countless MMC employees who volunteer individually, the institution is also home to many dedicated groups. Read more.

Program Spotlight: Maine Hunger Initiative

Maine Hunger Initiative

This summer, Preble Street Maine Hunger Initiative is working with 13 Americorps VISTA volunteers to support summer meal programs in Androscoggin, Cumberland, Hancock, Lincoln, Oxford, Somerset, and Washington Counties.  

For a fifth year, Maine Hunger Initiative will also administer a Farm to Pantry Program, with funding generously provided by TD bank. MHI distributes grants ranging from $500-$3,000 for pantries in Cumberland County to purchase fresh produce from local farmers, including Cultivating Community's Fresh Start Farms, Flaherty Family Farms, Jordan's Farm, Maple Springs Farm, River Run Farm, and Sweet Relief.

Preble Street Maine Hunger Initiative is a collaborative effort to meet immediate food needs while creating long-term solutions to hunger. To respond to a systemic crisis that had grown unabated for decades, Preble Street created the Maine Hunger Initiative in 2008 to meet immediate food needs, offset food supply shortages, and develop long-term solutions to hunger. Learn more!

Volunteer Spotlight: Isaac Herman

Isaac Herman

Since 1972, Cheverus High School students have ended their senior year participating in month-long service projects, known as the Arrupe Service Project. For four to five weeks, seniors spend five to six hours a day working for public and private service organizations providing direct services to clients as a requirement for graduation.

This year, Preble Street welcomed Arrupe volunteer Isaac Herman, who spent the month of May working breakfast and lunch shifts in our Resource Center Soup Kitchen. Monday through Friday, Isaac helped us—and many of you—prepare, serve, and clean up meals for hundreds of our hungry neighbors. Read more.

Preble Street: The Movie
Chapel Video Still
Watch our 40th Anniversary video
, produced by volunteer videographer Jack Dodson.

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):
July 17, 24-25, 31

August 2, 7, 9, 14-25, 27-31

Lunch (10:30am–1:30pm):
July 18, 26

August 1, 14-15, 19, 23-28, 30-31

Dinner (3:30-6:30pm):
July 16, 25, 27, 30-31

August 6-7, 9-10, 12-14, 18-20, 22, 24, 27-30

Preble Street in the News

Portland picnic aims to combat food insecurity

Society Notebook: 40 years of people empowerment in Portland

Portland 'Sit In' Aims to Shed Light on Plight of Homeless

Portland program steers homeless patients to primary care

More homeless shelter funds get first OK from Maine lawmakers

Survey hopes to quantify Maine's homeless youths

Dozens call for Portland to keep city shelter open

Didn't come to America to get GA

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
Do you work somewhere that supports volunteering with corporate gifts? Contact your employer for details on how to apply for gifts to Preble Street based on your volunteer hours or 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.