Topic: Donate

Holiday Giving at 84 Middle Street

PORTLAND, Maine — Despite the financial hardships that all Maine residents and Maine businesses face each and every winter, the professionals at the offices of 84 Middle Street still made it priority to help those in need during the cold months in our great state.

In a clothing drive organized by independent business consultant Joshua Wolfe, hats, scarves, gloves, as well as additional funds to be directly donated were collected and delivered to Preble Street, a Portland-based nonprofit that works to provide accessible barrier-free services to empower people experiencing problems with homelessness, housing, hunger, and poverty, and to advocate for solutions to these problems.

“Mainers have always helped those in need; it is a tradition we all must work to continue, said Scott Lalumiere, owner of Milk Street Capital, LLC and MECAP, LLC.

The businesses at 84 Middle Street encourage others in the community to remember those in circumstances less fortunate than themselves and make the gesture of giving.

“Regardless of the how or why or who’s to ‘blame,’ one thing is certain; it is getting very cold outside. Forget your political or social stance on the issue and consider making a philanthropic gesture on the sole fact that there are people sleeping outside during the winter months in our great, but very cold, state,” said Wolfe.

“I am more than happy with the response from the professionals at the offices of 84 Middle Street and hope that other business owners and business professionals in Maine see this action as a reminder of the social responsibility we all have as members of the community. A special thank you to Peoples Law, Keller Williams Commercial, Hugo’s Restaurant, Eventide Oyster Co., The Honey Paw, Sullivan Multi Family Realty, MECAP, LLC, Milk Street Capital, LLC, and New England Credit Consultants for giving to those in need during a time that is financially challenging for all Maine residents.”

If you would like to donate to the Preble Street please contact them directly at 207-775-0026 or visit the website at www.preblestreet.org to learn more.

Preble Street Friend and Volunteer Leon Gorman Dies

… Leon Gorman also donated his labor. Every Wednesday morning for more than 12 years, Gorman – who was known simply as “Leon” – helped cook breakfast for 400 people at Preble Street’s soup kitchen. There, he was just another volunteer who started off as a dishwasher and worked his way up to the grill, where he cooked eggs, hash browns and pancakes. When breakfast was over, he would pull the stove away from the wall and get down on his knees and scrub the grease that had splattered behind the stove, Swann said. Most volunteers wouldn’t bother.He said Gorman became an important adviser for the nonprofit and used his experience to help it develop a strategy and a business model.

“We were incredibly fortunate to have had him as a kind of mentor to the agency,” Swann said. “He was a wonderful man. I will miss him terribly …”

Read more.

L.L. Bean leader Leon Gorman dies at 80

FREEPORT – L.L. Bean Chairman Emeritus Leon Gorman has died at age 80.

Gorman, the grandson of company founder and namesake Leon Leonwood Bean, had cancer and died on Thursday at his home in Yarmouth, according to a statement from the company.

Gorman became president of the company in 1967 before retiring in 2001 and becoming chairman. He held that position until 2013.

According to L.L. Bean’s website, Gorman brought tremendous growth to L.L. Bean. As president, he grew it from a $4.75 million company to one worth more than $1 billion.

Chris McCormick, L.L.Bean president and CEO, sent a note to the company Thursday morning to offer his sympathies to Gorman’s family and to let employees know Gorman had died.

“Leon has been a great presence in my life for the past 32 years,” McCormick said. “He was a boss, mentor, coach, community leader, dear friend and inspiration. Most importantly, he was the most decent human being you would ever want to meet.”

Gorman’s daughter Jennifer Wilson also sent a note to the company saying her father will be greatly missed.

“My dad’s passing leaves an immeasurable void in our family,” she said. “Leon was a larger than life figure in my world growing up.”

Wilson said Gorman cared deeply about L.L. Bean and instilled his values in the company.

“He was my dad, yet his life was closely intertwined with the company he built, nurtured and loved,” she said. “Not surprisingly, the personality traits that describe our company fit my dad to a tee.”

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, also released a statement.

“Leon Gorman was a great American who loved the state of Maine and built an iconic brand in L.L. Bean,” she said. “His visionary leadership of the company created thousands of good jobs for Mainers.”

Collins also commended Gorman for his charitable work.

“Along with his wife Lisa, Leon was an extraordinarily generous contributor to countless causes including educational institutions and conservation organizations, reflecting his belief in our state’s future and his determination to preserve its legacy,” the senator said.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, also recognized Gorman’s generosity.

“He not only supported many worthy causes with his philanthropy, but also frequently volunteered at places like Preble Street without thought of publicity or recognition,” Pingree said in a prepared statement. “Down-to-earth, compassionate, and an incredibly hard worker, Leon loved Maine and it showed in his generosity and commitment to our state.”

According to the company, the Preble Street Resource Center in Portland was very important to Gorman; he volunteered there every Wednesday morning for 12 years. In 2009, Preble Street named Gorman its volunteer of the year.

According to L.L. Bean, Gorman requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Preble Street.

Homeless campsites spreading in Portland

… The increase in homeless encampments is just one example of how desperate some people have become, Yellen said.

She points to the loss of federal food stamp benefits to childless adults between the ages of 19 and 49 who don’t have a disability, and Medicaid cuts in Maine that have caused thousands of people to lose access to health care. Those cuts also have reduced access to the state’s substance-abuse treatment system. Even relatively small cuts, such as new limits for using bus passes for medical appointments, make it harder for the poor to get around the city, she said.

“People are falling quickly and hard,” she said.

Preble Street Executive Director Mark Swann agrees.

From 2007 to 2015, the average number of food boxes that Preble Street delivers at its pantry jumped 50 percent, from an average of 111 a week to 166.

“I think there’s an impression that there’s a healthy social compact where people can get the help when they need it, and that’s so not true,” he said. “The human service network is being wrenched apart.” …

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Portland’s community development grants reduced, demand remains high

PORTLAND – A plan to help people left most vulnerable by expected changes to city general assistance, homeless and public health programs will rely largely on $4.28 million in city funds and federal Community Development Block Grants.

Funding from the Consolidated Housing and Community Development Annual Action Plan will be the subject of an April 22 public hearing by the City Council Housing and Community Development Committee.

"My (CDBG) recommendations focused on mental health services, child-care services, food assistance, and emergency housing," acting City Manager Sheila Hill-Christian said in her April 6 budget letter.

The funds comprising the action plan include a federal CDBG grant of $1.8 million (with $400,00 for job training services), $265,000 in CDBG Housing funds, $820,000 from the federal Home Investments Partnerships Program, an Emergency Solutions Grant of $162,000, use of $643,000 from the city Housing Trust Fund, and income from other existing programs of $605,000.

Toho Soma, the city’s acting public health director, said in an April 9 email the effects could be widespread from aid reductions in several areas of the state biennial budget presented by Gov. Paul LePage.

"The public health cuts would result in severe reductions to the Children’s Oral Health Program, which provides restorative and preventive dental care, and oral health education, to any Portland Public School student in need. Other reductions affect the capacity of the India Street Clinic, the Chronic Disease Prevention Program, the Health Equity and Research Program, and general operations," he said.

Grant funding amounting to $525,000 will be spread through food programs at Preble Street and Wayside, for mental health and substance abuse peer support and counseling at Amistad, and to fund the Homeless Outreach and Mobile Engagement, or HOME team providing assistance and referrals for the city’s homeless.

HOME team support had been shifted from the grant program last year, but was supported in the municipal budget. Grants will also be made to the Joe Kreisler Teen Center and Florence House Women’s Shelter, with $150,000 also going to community policing programs.

To help provide permanent homes for chronically homeless people, Community Housing of Maine will receive at $250,000 grant. City Finance Director Brendan O’Connell estimated April 9 the change in state reimbursements for Oxford Street Shelter from operations costs to a per-client fee could result in the loss of $820,000.

Efforts to shift clients to permanent housing are also a focal point of the Emergency Solutions Grant of $162,000, with homeless prevention staffing funding at the city’s shelter for families almost double to $52,000 and rapid rehousing programs at Oxford Street increased to $55,000 from $43,000.

The Portland Jobs Alliance will receive $340,000 of the funding for job training programs, with the remainder going to the Portland Microenterprise Assistance Program.

Available grant funding was not only reduced from last year, but requests continue to outpace available dollars, with a gap of about $1.6 million for the most basic CDBG grant, Hill Christian said.

Bernstein Shur Announces Awards for Excellence and Pro Bono Service

Bernstein Shur, one of northern New England’s largest law firms, announced its annual pro bono and volunteer service results. In addition to three attorneys who were individually honored, the firm also is recognizing its staff group, the Sunshine Committee.

Sumner T. Bernstein Pro Bono Award
Attorney David Soley, member of the firm’s Real Estate and Litigation Practice Groups, was recognized for his pro bono work with the Sumner T. Bernstein Pro Bono Award. Soley provided support to many organizations in the community, including:

• His organization and advocacy setting up the Maine Homeless Legal Clinic

• Defending the rights of Kaci Hickox, a nurse who treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone

• Challenging the Maine Department of Corrections policy which precludes loved ones from contacting prisoners suspected of domestic infractions

Barnett I. Shur Civic Award
Attorney Caleb DuBois, member of the firm’s Business Law Practice Group and Financial Services and Securities Law Group, was recognized for his volunteer work with the Barnett I. Shur Civic Award. DuBois received the award for his continued work with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Maine. Having been involved in the organization since 2008, DuBois has served on many boards and committees within BBBS including on the board of directors since 2010. He works with staff and other board members to organize and run multiple fundraising events to support BBBS’s year-round commitment to at risk youth in communities across southern Maine.

Maine Supreme Court’s Katahdin Counsel
Attorney Jack Montgomery, member of the Energy and Environmental Practice Group, was honored for his continued service to Maine’s asylum seekers through the Immigrant Legal Aid Project. To be recognized by the Maine Supreme Court’s Katahdin Counsel, an attorney must provide more than 50 hours of pro bono service a year, placing them in the top tier of those donating legal services. Jack recently helped his client obtain asylum from the Immigration Court in Boston following a hearing in February. As a result of this decision the client will be permitted to remain in Maine where he is working hard to build a new life, rather than be returned to his home country where he faced torture and death.

Bernstein Shur’s Sunshine Committee
The firm’s Sunshine Committee, a staff-managed program, provides year-round efforts within the firm to raise funds, goods, and raise awareness to a myriad of causes in our community. The committee has been able to collect warm clothing, blankets, food and monies from within the firm to support its efforts to assist those in need. During 2014, the Sunshine Committee provided services to a variety of organizations, including:

• The Salvation Army by sponsoring a single parent with children for the holiday season

• Preble Street with both food and funds

• Secret Santa Project

• Purchased winter outdoor clothing for boys from Long Creek Youth Center

• Donated city bus passes

• Purchased educational toys for an organization’s younger clients and back to school supplies for less fortunate children

• Gorham House with Thanksgiving dinner and a monetary donation

• Maine Homeless Veterans Alliance with flashlights, socks, coats and blankets

Widely regarded as one of New England’s most entrepreneurial law firms, Bernstein Shur has more than 100 attorneys in offices in Maine and New Hampshire. Founded in 1915, the firm provides practical and innovative counsel in the areas of business law, litigation, and municipal law to clients throughout the region and around the world. Bernstein Shur is Maine’s exclusive member of Lex Mundi, the world’s leading association of independent law firms.

Patriot Subaru Earns $40,000 for Preble Street

Patriot Subaru of Saco presented a check for $40,000 to Preble Street, a Portland-based social service nonprofit, as part of "Share the Love," an annual charitable benefit sponsored by Subaru of America. The presentation was made at Preble Street on Friday, March 20th.

Between November 20, 2014, and January 2, 2015, Subaru donated $250 to a worthy cause for every customer that bought or leased a new Subaru. The 2014-15 event marked the seventh year of "Share the Love," which generated $15 million charitable donations nationally this holiday season, and more than $50 million since its inception in 2007.

Customers had the opportunity to choose between one of four national charities-ASPCA, Make-A-Wish, Meals on Wheels America, and the National Park Foundation-or a local charity. Each participating dealership chose its own local charity-more than 600 local charities overall-to benefit from the event. This year, Patriot Subaru selected Preble Street to be its local recipient.

"Patriot Subaru is very happy that we were able to deliver this money to Preble Street through the ‘Share the Love’ program, knowing that it will go to great use in our community. We appreciate all the work Preble Street is involved in, and enjoyed partnering with them during this campaign," said Patriot Subaru owner and president Adam Arens. "It was also apparent that our choice of working with Preble Street was appreciated by our customers, as 160 of them chose the local charity over a fine set of national organizations."

With 14 programs throughout the state of Maine, Preble Street is the hub of services in northern New England’s largest urban area, providing round-the-clock programs 365 days a year to meet urgent needs, advocate for change, empower people, and create solutions for homelessness, hunger, and poverty.

Patriot Subaru of Saco is the largest Subaru dealership in Maine, and is locally owned and operated. Patriot Subaru has been engaged with a wide variety of community programs since it opened in 2003, with annual donations exceeding $100,000, as well as hundreds of volunteer hours.

For more information, visit Patriot Subaru, Route One in Saco.

Students “Score”

While the Patriots racked up points on the way to their fourth Super Bowl victory, the youth ministry program at Good Shepherd Parish was busy scoring donations to benefit two local organizations.

On Super Bowl Weekend, high school youth and other parishioners, wearing football jerseys to draw attention, stood at the entrances of parish churches (Most Holy Trinity Church, Saco; St. Joseph Church, Biddeford; St. Margaret Church, Old Orchard Beach; and St. Philip Church, Lyman) with soup pots in tow to collect money as part of the Souper Bowl of Caring, a national initiative that inspires youth across the nation to fight hunger and poverty in their community.

In total, the teenagers collected $2,024.95, which will be distributed between Preble Street Teen Center in Portland and Catholic Charities Maine’s Child and Adult Food Care Program, which helps provide healthy meals and snacks to children receiving child care in Maine.

"The youth opted to split the proceeds between the two organizations," said Josh Houde, youth minister for Good Shepherd Parish. "It’s an amazing accomplishment for both the youth and adult leaders and further proof that when there are people in need, the generosity of our parish community is boundless. I hope this collection produces lasting hope for the many who will benefit."

The collection was part of the Mustard Seed Project, a part of Catholic Charities Maine’s Parish Social Ministry program. The project helps educate Catholic youth and young adults about doing good works and demonstrates that great things can come from humble beginnings.

"We believe that even small steps, made by a few, can have a lasting impact in our communities," said Michael Smith, the manager of Catholic Charities Maine’s Parish Social Ministry program.