Portland gathers for Annual Homeless Vigil in honor of the 51 people who have died in 2022
A vigil to remember friends from the Greater Portland homeless community who have died will take place December 21 at 4:30pm. A crowd will gather in front of the MMC-Preble Street Learning Collaborative at 20 Portland Street and proceed by candlelight to Monument Square. Every year on the Winter Solstice — the longest night of homelessness
Conference on Homelessness: We’re not alone in this work
“There are days it can feel like we’re alone in this work, it’s nice to come together like this and remember that we’re not.” – Conference on Homelessness attendee Last week, over 200 political, social services, business, and faith leaders from across the state of Maine came together for the first-ever Preble Street Conference on
Longest Day of Homelessness Summer Solstice Vigil
FRIDAY, JUNE 17, 8AM-5PM TOMMY’S PARK, PORTLAND On Friday, June 17 from 8am-5pm, Homeless Voices for Justice (HVJ) will be at Tommy’s Park in Portland for the 15th Annual Longest Day of Homelessness Sit-out, to draw attention to the fact that homelessness is tragic no matter the season.At 12pm, HVJ members and elected officials ―
Portland’s Annual Homeless Persons’ Memorial Vigil
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 21, 4:30 PM MONUMENT SQUARE, PORTLAND The longest night of the year is a time to remember our homeless friends who have died and to recommit ourselves to the task of ending homelessness. A candlelight procession will start at the Preble Street-Maine Medical Center Learning Collaborative at 20 Portland Street at 4:30 p.m.,
Due to COVID-19, Preble Street has been unable to continue our tradition of our annual celebration. We hope that you enjoy remembering past events with us and join us when we gather again!
At the 44th Preble Street Annual Celebration we honored the past and present of the agency with stories of collaboration, compassion, dignity, and the love imparted the moment a client first walks through our doors.
We paid tribute to partners in our work: Hospice of Southern Maine (Community Partner of the Year Award), Janice R. Bosse (Joe Kreisler Community Impact Award), and Tyler Technologies (Leon Gorman Volunteer of the Year Award).
We enjoyed musical performances from youth receiving services at the Teen Center, and accompaniment by Ahmad Kafari, a music mentor sent weekly to the Teen Center by the Maine Academy of Modern Music who is also a volunteer from the community.
And we celebrated the compassionate, resilient, dedicated Preble Street staff and board members who work with unwavering commitment and love to empower people to move forward in opportunity and hope.
One thing is clear: Preble Street is love.
Thank you to all who joined us! Click here to see photos from the evening courtesy of Whitney J. Fox Photography.
At the 43rd Preble Street Annual Celebration we shared stories of keeping plates full, doors open, and hope alive.
We honored friends and collaborators: Portland Maine Police Department (Community Partner of the Year Award); dee Clarke (Joe Kreisler Community Impact Award); Linda Holtslander (Leon Gorman Volunteer of the Year Award).
We delighted in a poetry performance from Allan Monga, a rising senior at Deering High School who has engaged with Preble Street Teen Services.
And we celebrated the compassionate, resilient, dedicated Preble Street staff and board members who work tirelessly to empower people as they overcome crises.
From Bayside to Bangor, with camera in hand we set out to provide a snapshot of how we move people forward into opportunity and hope. Watch below to hear from clients, staff, and advocates and see sides of Preble Street you may not know exist. And click here to see more photos from the evening!
At the Preble Street 42nd Annual Meeting in June, Preble Street highlighted the work of its 14 programs working throughout Maine to meet immediate needs and create programs and public policies that solve the problems of homelessness, hunger, and poverty.
In addition to honoring the 268 staff and conducting the business of the Board of Directors, the Annual Meeting recognizes individuals, community partners, and volunteers who work hand-in-hand with the various programs of Preble Street, including thousands of volunteers and scores of fellow providers integral to the work of helping Maine people move forward.
The 2017 Community Partner Award was presented to Maine Medical Center in honor of its efforts to create the MMC-Preble Street Learning Collaborative, a program delivering unmet healthcare needs to homeless populations in Portland. In giving the award to Dr. Peter Bates, Preble Street executive director Mark Swann noted, “Preble Street was an expert in its work, just as Maine Medical Center was in its work. Together we knew we would learn from each other and come up with solutions to the challenges we were witnessing in this community. In the first five months we have served 163 patients, with close to 900 encounters.” Among Maine Medical Center personnel on hand for the presentation were Dr. Peter Bates, Dr. Deb Rothenberg, Catherine Kruithoff, Malia Haddock, Michele Savage, and MMC board chairman Bill Burke.
Other awards included the Joseph D. Kreisler Community Impact Award, presented to Catherine Lorrello-Snow, PMHRN-BC. Catherine is a veteran mental health professional at Spurwink Portland Help Center, patient advocate, innovator, community leader, and partner of Preble Street for more than 25 years. A strong, committed, and driven human being who cares deeply about serving others, Catherine was honored for her work with Preble Street as the opioid crisis began to emerge in Portland. Bringing her team to train and equip our social work staff to safely administer nalaxone in response to opiate overdose, she led an effort that continues to save lives.
In addition to the community service awards, John Roberts was recognized as Board Member of the Year for his tremendous contributions to the agency in his first year of service.
Thirty-five southern Maine faith communities received the Community Partner Award at the Preble Street annual meeting on June 21.
The Very Rev. Dr. Benjamin Shambaugh, dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and member of the Preble Street board of directors, presented the award, noting, “People of religious faith have been caring for those in need for thousands of years.” Whether inspired by the Jewish Tikkun Olam; the Muslim Zakat; the Christian obligation to feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, care for the sick; or the wisdom embodied in the Hindu greeting Namaste, “They know that for religion to be real, it needs to be lived… and they live that out right here at Preble Street.”
They believe in Preble Street’s mission, not just to provide services to empower people experiencing problems with homelessness, housing, hunger, and poverty, but to work for a world where those things no longer exist.
Other awards included the Joseph D. Kreisler Community Impact Award, presented to Mary Beth Sullivan, veteran social worker and community civil rights, peace, and social justice activist.
“Mary Beth’s life purpose has been alleviating suffering, and working for a more just world, one day, one step at a time,” said Bill Burns, Resource Center coordinator, who presented the award.
Julia Hansen, a junior at Waynflete School, was honored as the first Leon Gorman Volunteer of the Year, named for the late LL Bean president and chairman, a beloved friend, advisor, champion, and volunteer of Preble Street, who spent one morning each week for more than 12 years serving in the Resource Center soup kitchen. Julia was chosen not only for her exceptional personal commitment to volunteering at Preble Street but also for inspiring others and for her strength of character. In presenting the award, Volunteer Manager Tori Stenbak said, “In the face of great loss, Julia sought and found comfort in service to others, becoming an advocate for solutions and change.”In addition to the community service awards, Renee Schwalberg, who completed her term as board president during Tuesday night’s meeting, was recognized as Board Member of the Year for her leadership and commitment to the Preble Street mission.
The agency also announced the creation of the David A. Zysk Jr. Memorial Scholarship, named for the Preble Street Clinical Intervention Program caseworker and advocacy intern who passed away in November. The scholarship will be awarded each year to an outstanding social work intern serving in a Preble Street program.
Joining the board are:
- Stephen Pryor of Yarmouth is currently the Complex Director at RBC Wealth Management in Portland. He previously served in the same position at Merrill Lynch in Kansas City, MO and New York, NY.
- Jennifer Wilson of Yarmouth is the Corporate Merchant for the Women’s Apparel Team at L.L. Bean as well as the Controller for the Forest Avenue Veterinary Hospital in Portland. She is also currently the Vice Chair of the Family Governance Committee and Vice Chair of the Audit and Compensation Committee for the L.L. Bean board of directors.
- John Roberts of Falmouth is the retired President and CEO of Assurant Employee Benefits. He began his career working for Unum Life insurance Company of America, where he served for 25 years. John has previously served on the boards of the American Council of Life Insurers, the Council for Disability Awareness, the Portland Museum of Art, and the United Way of Greater Portland.
Officers for the coming year are Herb Janick, president; Terry Sutton, vice president; Edie White, secretary; and Gary Chavoustie, treasurer.
Preble Street Announces Community Awards
Preble Street celebrated three major anniversaries at its annual meeting and celebration on Tuesday, June 16th, at the Italian Heritage Center in Portland.
The agency, which began as an outgrowth of the social work department at the University of Southern Maine, turns 40 in 2015.
Two important Preble Street programs—Homeless Voices for Justice and Logan Place—are also celebrating significant milestones this year.
Homeless Voices for Justice, a grassroots group, has been working for social change on behalf of people who struggle with homelessness and poverty for 20 years. The group is led by a board of advocates who have all experienced homelessness and is supported by Preble Street staff.
Logan Place, a partnership between Preble Street and Avesta Housing, recently turned 10. Logan Place was the first “housing first” community in Maine, and one of the first in the country, reducing homelessness in Portland by providing permanent housing for chronically homeless people.
The agency also honored some of the individuals and organizations whose support its work of meeting urgent needs, advocating for change and empowering people.
Bill Nemitz, a columnist for the Portland Press Herald, received the 2015 Force for Good Award, an award that recognizes those who’ve made significant contributions to public awareness and understanding of social justice issues.
“There is no one in the media in this state that is more compelling than Bill. He writes human interest stories that remind us how human we all are. And he does something many of us talk about and all of us should do: He speaks truth to power … when it comes to social and economic justice. And the state of Maine is a better place for it,” said Preble Street Executive Director Mark Swann.
In addition, Dennis Marble, executive director of the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter, received the 2015 Joseph D. Kreisler Community Impact Award, which honors an individual whose work and passion for human dignity and social justice have made the community more responsive to its most vulnerable members.
“Dennis is getting this award because he’s led from the heart, and from the head, for 20 years at Bangor Area Homeless Shelter. He’s provided leadership not only in Bangor, but also the rest of the state on the complex issues of homelessness and poverty. He’s done it all with a sense of humility, and with a sense of humor,” said Swann, who presented the award with David Kreisler, son of the organization’s late founder, for whom the award is named.
Other awards included the Preble Street Community Partner Award, presented to the University of Southern Maine. University of Southern Maine President David Flanagan accepted the award on behalf of the university. In presenting the award, Preble Street board member Elaine Rosen stated, “On our 40th anniversary we want to honor, celebrate, and thank the University of Southern Maine for the original partnership that actually launched Preble Street. Joe Kreisler used to say that the university needs to be part of the community, not just in the community. And recent conversations about USM as a metropolitan university and the partnerships needed to accomplish that have been exemplified over the years as Preble Street has hosted over 400 social work students, USM nursing students run clinics at the Resource Center, and Preble Street staff field calls from students doing research on homelessness, hunger, housing, planning and urban development, and community organizing.”
The Casco Bay Island Group, consisting of 13 volunteers from Great Diamond and Long islands, was honored with the Volunteer of the Year award. Preble Street Volunteer Manager Tori Stenbak said their dedicated service and respect and compassion for Preble Street clients has been indispensable in helping the agency serve more than 560,000 meals per year.
In addition to the community service awards, Gary Chavoustie, senior vice president and New England regional sales leader at KeyCorp, was recognized as Board Member of the Year for his leadership and commitment to the agency’s mission.
The board also recognized outgoing board member E. Drew Cheney for his 21 years of service.
2014 ANNUAL CELEBRATION
Preble Street Announces Community Awards
Don Harden, director of elder services at Catholic Charities of Maine, received the 2014 Joseph D. Kreisler Community Impact Award at the Preble Street annual meeting on June 17.
“We wanted to honor Don for his values and for what he stands for. He cares deeply about social and economic justice and he has spent his career doing something about it. Not just talking the talk, but walking the walk,” said Preble Street executive director Mark Swann, who presented the award with David Kreisler, son of the organization’s late founder, for whom the award is named.
“Without fail, we always have known we can count on Don to act, to advocate, to stand with us at Preble Street. Don always shows up, he’s always steady and reliable, always smart and strategic, always a believer.”
Other awards included the Preble Street Community Partner Award, presented to the Maine Homeless Legal Project. David Soley, who leads the real estate litigation group at Bernstein Shur, accepted the award on behalf of the American Bar Association, The Volunteer Lawyers Project, Pine Tree Legal Assistance, and volunteer lawyers from more than a dozen local firms. In presenting the award, Preble Street associate director Jon Bradley noted that, while this honor is usually reserved for longstanding Preble Street partners, the Maine Homeless Legal Project had already made a serious impact in the lives of homeless Mainers in just the few months it had been operating.
Lin Lisberger, an art lecturer at the University of Southern Maine, was honored as Volunteer of the Year. Lisberger, a community volunteer for more than 25 years, is known for her compassionate, uplifting spirit. Her unfailing willingness to help in any way she is needed has been indispensable in helping Preble Street serve more than 560,000 meals per year.
In addition to the community service awards, Edie White, LCSW, a social worker with Hospice of Southern Maine, was recognized as Board Member of the Year for her leadership and commitment to the Preble Street mission. The board also recognized outgoing board member Charlie Roscoe for his years of service.
Preble Street Announces Community Awards
Portland Housing Authority was presented with the Community Partner Award and Jennie Soares, Resource Center Supervisor at Preble Street, was presented with the Joseph D. Kreisler Community Impact Award, by Preble Street at their recent annual meeting.
Other awards announced included the Volunteer of the Year Award presented to Bob Harradon of Yarmouth, a longtime volunteer at Preble Street Soup Kitchens, who was thanked for his tireless work and caring interaction with clients and other volunteers, that is the epitome of compassion, and for being a good steward and a wonderful human being.
In addition to the community service awards, Preble Street elected a new slate of officers. They include Renee Schwalberg, Altarum Institute Practice Area Deputy for Policy, Planning, and Evaluation, president; Herb Janick, partner, Sidley Austin LLP, vice-president; Terry Sutton, senior vice president, business transformation, L.L. Bean, secretary; and Charlie Roscoe, retired Managing Partner, Berry, Dunn, McNeil & Parker, Certified Public Accountants, treasurer.
The Reverend Ben Shambaugh, dean, St. Luke’s Cathedral, was recognized as Board Member of the Year for her leadership and commitment to Preble Street’s mission, and Maurice “Cito” Selinger, partner, Curtis Thaxter was honored as he stepped down from a three-year tenure as board president.
Preble Street Announces Community Awards
More than two hundred staff and guests joined Preble Street on June 18 for the agency’s Annual Meeting to honor staff, community partners and volunteers for their commitment to helping our neighbors in need.
Maine Equal Justice Partners was presented with the Community Partner Award, which recognizes an organization, group or funder that has had a profound impact on our work, our mission and our clients.
Charles Dingman, board president and Christine Hastedt, public policy director, accepted the award for Maine Equal Justice Partners. In presenting the award, Donna Yellen, Preble Street director of advocacy recalled several instances in recent years when MEJP’s assistance played a key role in maintaining vital services for Mainers experiencing poverty, hunger and homelessness.
Other awards included the Joseph D. Kreisler Community Impact Award, presented by David Kreisler, to Peggy Akers of Portland. Akers has dedicated her career to ensuring that people suffering with homelessness and poverty have access to healthcare. From her service as an army nurse in Vietnam to her tireless work at the City of Portland Homeless Health Clinic, Akers has helped many people maintain their health, heal from injuries and manage illness.
Diane Cota of Georgetown was honored as Volunteer of the Year. Cota is known for the graceful way she completes any task given to her, whether it is chopping pounds of onions at the Florence House kitchen or analyzing the responses to a survey of individuals who access food pantries.
Service awards were presented to Preble Street staff Maria Tripp for fifteen years and Joe Conroy, Melanie McKean, John Sevigny and Richard Tucker for five years of service.
In addition, Terry Sutton of Cumberland was recognized as Board Member of the Year for her leadership and commitment. Cathy Houlihan was thanked in absentia for her seven years of service as she steps down from her position on the board.
Throughout the meeting, staff members presented on each of Preble Street’s programs. As Bill Burns, coordinator of the Resource Center shared:
“Few places in America embody those aspirations like Preble Street. The tempests our clients endure can involve incarceration, addiction, mental and physical health problems, stigma, its correlates and the crushing belief that you are not welcome anywhere.
Imagine how that would feel.
And then, an outreach worker like Peggy Lynch shepherds you towards the corner of Preble and Portland Streets and suddenly you’re not an ex-con with a felony conviction, a serious untreated mental health problem, a face full of tattoos that many would find offensive
. . . you’re Richard.
Instead of finding rejection and shaming, you find Andrew, one of our caseworkers who sat with you and listened. He worked hard to know not just Richard the client, but Richard the man. When things got hard, he continued to know you and deepen his understanding of your situation. You built trust. Armed with resources, tenacity and hope, together you and Andrew began a journey that ultimately resulted in you getting an apartment, in which you recently held your first bar-b-que with friends and your pet cat.
This is just one example of the kind of work our team does at the Resource Center every day. “
Preble Street Announces Community Awards
Two hundred staff and guests joined Preble Street on June 20 for their Annual Meeting to honor staff, community partners and volunteers for their commitment to helping our neighbors in need.
Hannaford was presented with the Community Partner Award, which recognizes an organization, group or funder that has had a profound impact on our work, our mission and our clients.
Bob Schools, Senior Vice President of Retail Sales, accepted the award for Hannaford. In presenting the award, Preble Street Executive Director Mark Swann said, “Hannaford has been very generous to us, providing well over a million meals in the past 20 years. Individual stores donate. Employees donate. Employees volunteer. The Hannaford Charitable Foundation built the Teen Center kitchen for us. Hannaford impresses all of us at Preble Street with not only all their day-to-day support for our work but also their community leadership and compassion.”
Other awards included the Joseph D. Kreisler Community Impact Award, presented by David Kreisler, to Lucky Hollander of Portland. Hollander—who knew well, worked with, and was admired by Joe Kreisler, founder of Preble Street—has dedicated her career to the prevention of child abuse and neglect. From service in grassroots organizations to state agencies, Hollander has touched on all aspects of child welfare.
Lynne Goodwin of Portland was honored as Volunteer of the Year. Goodwin, a volunteer for Preble Street for more than eight years, is known for the leadership and dedication she provides in the soup kitchen for both staff and volunteers. Her hard work and exacting standards help Preble Street serve 500,000 meals a year.
Service awards were presented to Preble Street staff Peggy Lynch for ten years and Laurie Walker for five years of service and to Homeless Voices for Justice advocate dee Clarke for ten years of service.
In addition, Charlie Roscoe was recognized as Board Member of the Year for his leadership and commitment, and Terry Sutton, Vice President of E-Commerce at L.L. Bean, was named secretary of the Board of Directors. Ann Houser, Vice President of U.S. Human Resources at Unum, and J.E. Boone, family and marriage counselor at the Veterans Administration, were both recognized as they retired from the board.
Capping the meeting, former and current clients—including Tom Ptacek, dee Clarke, Patricia Smith, Donna Garnatt and Tillman Texeria—presented their personal stories of empowerment. Their experience struggling with homelessness and poverty and finding their voices and the courage to speak out was reflected in the words of Patricia Smith, who said:
“I myself was homeless for almost nine months. I slept every night at the Preble Street Shelter for Women. Thanks to the resources available to me at Preble Street and because of my hard work in trying to better myself, I have been in my own apartment for over a year.
“Two weeks ago, I spoke at a City Council meeting because I feel strongly about homelessness. I was overwhelmed with pride, joy, self-esteem, and dignity. My voice, along with many others, came together as one and I realized that as a community, we can make a difference.”