Nathan Choate earns rank of Eagle Scout

Stephanie Drake Choate, left, pins the Eagle Scout medal onto her son Nathan’s uniform. “It was so special to have it at Mount Merici Academy. We are so proud of you, Nathan,” she said. (photo by Chuck Mahaleris)

by Chuck Mahaleris

Nathan Choate

Nathan Choate, of Albion, received the Eagle Scout medal during a ceremony conducted by China Troop #479 in his honor on Friday, May 10, at Waterville’s Mount Merici Academy.

The town of Albion in March presented Nathan with its 2023 Spirit of America Foundation Award in “recognition of his outstanding and commendable community service to the Town of Albion.” His Eagle Scout Service Project revitalized the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Monument.

Nathan is the son of Michael and Stephanie Drake Choate, and lives in Albion. He attends Erskine Academy, in South China. This project required more than 200 hours of labor shared by scouts and scouters as well as Albion residents. Colby College Lovejoy land grant provided the funding needed for the effort. Hilton Drake and Stephanie Drake Choate’s ancestors and the Lovejoys were two of the five founding families in the town of Albion, formerly known as Freetown Plantation, in 1790.

Elijah Parish Lovejoy attended Waterville College (now Colby) and is well known as one of the first martyrs to freedom of the press and the abolitionist movement, killed in 1837 in Alton, Illinois. Colby’s language arts building bears his name. The Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award of Colby, established in 1952, is awarded to a journalist who continues the Lovejoy heritage of fearlessness and commitment to American freedom of the press.

During the ceremony, Lee Pettengill, who serves as the Chartered Organization representative for Troop #479, in China, and was the Master of Ceremonies for the event, led Nathan in the Eagle Scout Charge. “I charge you to be among those who dedicate their skills and ability to the common good. Build America on the solid foundation of clean living, honest work, unselfish citizenship, and reverence for God; and, whatever others may do, you will leave behind a record of which every other Scout may be justly proud,” Pettengill said.

Natha had completed all of his requirements and passed his Eagle Scout Board of Review last October.

PHOTO: China Food Pantry participates in hunger walk

Participants included, from left to right, Nancy Pfeiffer, Jo Orlando, Sandy Massey, Joan Ferrone, Kylee Nicole, Brad Bickford, Caley Palow, Rachel Maxwell, Aurie Maxwell, and Peter Maxwell (cameraman). (photo courtesy of Peter Maxwell)

The China Food Pantry sent a team to participate in the Feed ME 5K Walk Challenge to End Hunger in Maine, on Saturday, April 27. The event is an annual fundraiser sponsored by the Maine State Credit Union to bring awareness to the issue of hunger in our local communities.

Honoring the new mother

Photo source:

by Gillian Lalime

A simple yet profound fact of life is that we each owe our lives to mothers. Perhaps this goes without saying but it also extends past the obvious recognition. If you have cream in your morning coffee, it is a mother cow who gave that cream. If you eat eggs it is mother hens who lay those eggs. In languages worldwide the Earth itself is a feminine term, recognizing implicitly that all beings come from Mother Earth. It is said there is nothing so powerful as a mother’s love for her children.

To begin, a mother must first give her own body to create that of her baby’s. The new mother will grow an additional organ to support the developing baby, which could otherwise be registered by her body as a foreign invader since it has different DNA. A baby is first protected and nourished by the placenta while in utero. Just as a mother delivers a baby, she must also deliver the placenta. Many cultures have traditions that recognize and honor the placenta. In ancient Hawai’i the placenta was buried alongside deceased ancestors and was said to have its own spirit. The Maori, of New Zealand, have the same word for ‘land’ and ‘placenta’ and also bury their placenta to establish the first connection between baby and Mother Earth.

Nowadays, just shy of 99 percent of babies are born in a hospital. During this process a vast majority of placentas are swept away and either disposed of or sold. Because of this practice placentas are largely unrecognized for their crucial role as the physical link between Mother and Baby during pregnancy. When the umbilical cord is cut it is not the connection between human mother and baby which is lost but rather, it is a separation between the baby and placenta. Therefore the name ‘First Mother’ is given to this organ by some midwives birthworkers.

To recognize the metamorphosis that is the shift from Maiden to Mother, the Diné, or Navajo Nation, has a Mother’s Blessing ceremony. The Mother’s Blessing is different from a baby shower in that it focuses on honoring and celebrating the woman about to give birth rather than the baby soon to arrive. It is a sacred coming together of women which honors the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual transformation about to take place. When a baby is born, so too, is a Mother.

One way of estimating a society’s value of mothers could be measured through how a new mother is supported during their maternity leave. Here in the United States the average maternity leave for working moms is around ten weeks, largely unpaid. Out of that time around ten days are covered by built-up sick leave while another 12 days are covered by paid time off. Maine has an average of ten weeks unpaid maternity leave. How does this compare to other societies? A book called The Fourth Trimester examines postpartum care across the globe.

In China traditions rule that soon-to-birth women are not even allowed to stay in their own homes. Their removal ensures new moms will not participate in day-to-day household chores. They are instructed by aunties, sisters, and grandmothers to hold a period of Zou yue zi or “sitting in” for the acute postpartum time, where they are waited on by surrounding women.

In India the first five to seven weeks postpartum is referred to as the ‘Sacred Window’. Apparently the saying goes “fifteen days in the bed, fifteen days on the bed, fifteen days near the bed”. Traditions such as drinking only warm liquids like teas and broth, eating soft, easily-digestible soups, and resting the eyes are all prescriptions for a new mother, whose body is in a state of repair and needs deep rest and nourishment.

In Mexico a ‘Closing of the Bones’ ceremony takes place 40 days postpartum. Women are often supported in gently massaging and wrapping their bellies to increase repair and support the organs in returning to normal positioning after almost ten months of pregnancy.

In each of these traditions it takes a minimum of 40 days for the female body to reconfigure rest and recover from the enormous task of pregnancy, labor, and birth. The Sacred Window also recognizes and honors the bond that happens between mother and baby, or the mother-baby dyad. The days and weeks immediately following birth are a time for the new baby to adjust and integrate into a world of bright light, loud sound, and gravity. It is a tender time for both mother and baby and as such – should not be rushed. Recommendations from traditions worldwide during this ‘fourth trimester’ period are: Rest, Nourishment, Warmth, Connection, Bodywork, and Nature.

With this knowledge a question arises: What can we do to actively recognize, honor, witness, and thank the mothers in our lives?

Maybe we cook them a nourishing meal. Perhaps we let them sleep in or take a nap, go for a walk in nature or sit quietly with a book. We might offer to brew a cup of tea or give them a massage. Maybe all a mother wants is an hour of quiet time to do whatever she pleases or nothing at all. It might be lending a hand in the garden or yard. Maybe it’s doing the dishes or cleaning the bathroom. And, of course, each day we can be grateful for all that a mother gives.

Article Information Sources:

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Churchill Elangwe-Preston speaker at KVCC commencement

Churchill Elangwe-Preston

Kennebec Valley Community College (KVCC) will celebrate the conferral of associate degrees and academic certificates for a total of 427 graduates in the class of 2024. Over 250 graduates will take part in commencement exercises on Saturday, May 11, at 10 a.m., at the Augusta Civic Center.

Churchill Elangwe-Preston, of Waterville, will deliver the keynote address.

Churchill Elangwe-Preston’s journey from growing up on coffee and cocoa farms in Limbe, Cameroon, to founding Mbingo Mountain Coffee, in Waterville, is a story of passion, innovation, and commitment to community. His deep roots in agriculture, combined with a solid education in electrical technology from KVCC and electrical engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), have uniquely positioned him to make a significant impact.

Mbingo Mountain Coffee is more than just a business venture for Churchill; it is a fulfillment of a lifelong aspiration to contribute positively to the coffee industry, enhance the coffee drinking experience in central Maine and the United States, and give back to the farming community. His journey underscores the importance of embracing one’s roots, pursuing one’s passions, and the impact of lifelong learning. Churchill’s story is a testament to how diverse experiences and a commitment to quality and community can lead to innovative and meaningful entrepreneurial endeavors.

Cindy Stevens to receive distinguished alumnus award

Cindy Stevens

Cindy (Davis) Stevens will be presented the KVCC Distinguished Alumnus Award. Born in the small town of New Vineyard, with a population of only 400, Cindy attended Roosevelt Grammar School, a local two-room schoolhouse, and graduated from Mt. Blue High School, in Farmington, in 1975. She graduated from KVCC in 1977 with a diploma in marketing, and from the University of Maine at Augusta with Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees in business and marketing in 1979. She holds a master’s degree in management/marketing from Thomas College, in Waterville.

She has served 40 years in sales, marketing, human resources, finance and management roles with the Waterville Morning Sentinel and Kennebec Journal, in Augusta, completing her career as regional advertising director for both newspapers. Cindy was a former member of the founding board of directors of Waterville Main Street and is currently employed as the program director at Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, in Waterville.

Kennebec Valley Community College offers more than 30 associate degree programs and certificates. KVCC provides a bridge to a brighter future with small class sizes, excellent support services, and flexible scheduling. KVCC has the lowest tuition in New England and offers recent high school graduates the opportunity to attend community college for free. In addition, the development of short-term trainings through Workforce Development provides a path for individuals looking to reskill in a new career or as a pathway into an academic program.

China Girl Scouts raise funds for humane society

China Area girl scouts are, front row, from left to right, Brownies and Daisies Riley Libby, Camille Rines, Colette Cobb, Anahlise Raymond, Lyrah Raymond, Ayla Garnett, and Elyse Martin. Back row, Juniors Willow Sullivan, Carden Cobb, Madi Pomelo, and Cora Sullivan. (contributed photo)

In October of 2023 China Area Girl Scout Troop #1496 voted on areas of interest to explore as a year project. Animals won the vote. The scouts learned about the in-progress building of the new Kennebec Valley Humane Society facility. After reaching out to the Director Hillary Roberts, the troop decided a group to bring supplies needed to stock the shelves of the new facility which was set to open in early 2024.

The troop read through the wishlist of the Humane Society found on Amazon. The girls were promised an in-depth tour of the facility at the time they dropped off the supplies.

The troop made up of 11 girls ages six to 12 decided together to make individual crafts with their own families to earn money to buy supplies for the humane society. The troop reached out to Meg Randazza, organizer of the 44th annual China Maine Craft Fair. Meg provided the girls with a booth space to set out their handmade crafts which included jewelry, Christmas ornaments and decorations, beaded key chains, primitive decor, weaved decorations, and candle centerpieces.

Without putting a price on the crafts made, and having customers choose the price for each sale, the girls earned $674 for the humane society.

The girls then individually chose items they wanted to order for the animal in need in our area. These items included kitten formula, dog and cat food, blankets, laundry soap, puppy and kitten feeding bottlers, leashes, small animal chew toys, a cat stuffed animal with a heart beat for orphan kittens.

Before delivering the supplies the girls hand sewed over 20 cat nip filled baby socks to donate as well.

They were given a tour by Volunteer Manager Allie McCarthy this spring and were able to see over 40 cats, 20 dogs, two chinchillas, and two rats that will benefit from these supplies, and also six orphan kittens being fostered who need more kitten formula.

Mothers-to-be honored at tea party

(photo by Roberta R. Barnes)

by Roberta R. Barnes

Even before a baby is born it is best for his or her mother to have every ‘i’ dotted and every ‘t’ crossed. While expecting a new bundle of joy is exciting, unless an expecting or new Mom has supportive relatives or friends close by, she can feel alone. January 2023 the ladies of Sew for a Cause, decided on a way to give support to mothers-to-be, and celebrate the joy of new life in young families.

(photo by Roberta R. Barnes)

Saturday May 4, 2024, was the second ‘Mothers-to-be Tea party’ at the St. Bridget Center in, Vassalboro, hosted by the ladies of Sew for a Cause. These ladies who meet twice a month planned and created a special day. Armed with their personal sewing machines, knitting needles, donated materials, and a lot of passion to help others designed and created the needed and fun things to help mothers, and fathers, with their new babies.

Even though the tea party did not begin until 1 p.m., the ladies hosting began setting up long before noon. By noon one of the Knights of Columbus was already at the parking lot entrance to wave attendees into the parking lot with a smile. Once in the parking lot the scout master of Troop #210, along with one of the boy scouts, was already guiding cars into the best spot to park for all those attending.

The weather on May 4 was good so attendees could pick up their first gifts on the outside walkway to the center’s front doors. On the left side of the walkway was a table of maternity pants in varying sizes. On the right side of the walkway were cozy warm hats handmade by the ladies with the heartfelt intention of keeping little heads warm.

Once inside the doors each mother to be who had registered by April 15 was checked off by one of the ladies at the registration tables and given directions to one of the numbered tables on the two sides of the open room. Each woman when registering was asked her expected due date, so those with similar due dates were seated at the same table.

Babies do not come with instruction manuals or calendars. A few of the mothers-to-be were blessed with their bundles of joy arriving before the expected due days. Those mothers whose babies arrived at a time that allowed them to attend the tea holding their babies were seated together. This seating arrangement gave mothers things in common to talk about. One or two of the ladies hosting the tea party also sat at each table to help as needed.

For the mothers of the babies who arrived too close to May 4 for them to attend gifts were set aside for someone to pick up for them. Not all the tables in the room were for attendees. On tables in the middle of the room, which remained covered until after lunch, sat handcrafted tote bags filled with handcrafted baby quilts, blankets, nursing quilts, changing pads, bibs, and adorable stuffed toys. Each tote bag and the items within it gave off a special glow created by the joy of the lady handcrafting it, and the sponsor who donated the materials.

When it comes to all these handcrafted things there are no shortcuts. Rachel Kilbride, the organizer who, with a smile, kept the events of the tea party flowing smoothly, estimated the ladies had put in over 3,000 volunteer hours. Thinking back to a woman who told me when sewing a free style quilt, it took her six hours to do the wing of one butterfly, that sounds like a low estimate.

Nevertheless, it was easy to see that each of the over 30 ladies hosting the tea party was, and had been, focused on the quality of what she did to help these new moms with their bundles of joy. The hours required to make it happen did not matter.

(photo by Roberta R. Barnes)

The tables at the very back of the room were filled with donated baby needed things that cannot be handmade. All of those, which were raffled off at the end of the tea, reflected the kindness of the business and people who donated them. By the side door there was even a crib that had arrived as a donation the day before the tea party.

The tables at the back of the room in front of those donated items were for healthy luncheon foods and yummy homemade cupcakes and cookies. Once everyone was seated the sandwiches were brought in from the kitchen. As the number for each table was drawn the mothers, and fathers who were able to be there, sitting at that table would have their plates filled with the foods they wanted by the ladies serving from behind the food tables.

After lunch, there were sit-down games for the attendees to play and then the sheets were removed from the tables holding the handcrafted tote bags. As the number for each table was drawn the new mothers could choose which tote bag best matched their baby. All the things within each tote bag reflected the theme of the tote bag.

As you can imagine, there was a lot of activity in the room. All the giggles that came with smiles as things were taken out of tote bags and clapping when names were drawn for the raffled donated baby items created noise.

However, mixed in with all of this was the subtle kindness of all the ladies who volunteered and those people who donated baby items. While the adults might not have noticed that gentle wave, the babies attending seemed to be tuning into the caring that filled the room. As I looked around the room they were either sleeping or smiling. One tiny baby was sleeping peacefully in his father’s arms. One mother I spoke with commented on how good her baby was during the entire event. Another baby in his mom’s arms smiled as he posed for the camera.

None of this could have happened without the kindness of the 50 plus ladies of the Sew for a Cause donating their time and skill, and all the other donations ranging from businesses, organizations, churches to individuals.

(photo by Roberta R. Barnes)

To address critical shortage Northern Light welcomes psychiatry residents

In 2023, Northern Light Acadia Hospital launched a Psychiatry Residency Program to help fill a void left by the dwindling number of psychiatrists currently practicing in Maine. From 2020 to 2022, the number of licensed psychiatrists practicing in Maine dropped by more than half, from 110 to 50, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

On the first day accepting applicants to its newly-launched residency program, Acadia Hospital had nearly 500 people apply for one of its four openings. Ultimately, 95 candidates were interviewed by program faculty and then ranked for the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) selection process. Each spring the NRMP matches graduating medical students with residency programs at hospitals and universities across the nation. Candidates rank their favorite programs, and the programs in each specialty rank their favorite candidates. The NRMP then uses a computerized algorithm to determine where the budding physicians will train. Think of it as the NFL draft of medicine!

“We could not be more pleased to welcome these brilliant future psychiatrists to our new residency program,” says John Campbell, MD, FANPA, vice president and senior physician executive for Northern Light Acadia Hospital. “More than the quantity of candidates, which was certainly noteworthy, it is the quality of the applicants that really struck the selection committee. These four individuals are unquestionably the best of the best and we can’t wait to welcome them to Acadia Hospital, to Northern Light Health, and to Maine this June to begin their studies.”

On Friday, March 15, Acadia’s Residency program participated in its first “Match Day” and are pleased to introduce Acadia Hospital’s inaugural class of psychiatry Residents:

Kelly Anne Kossen received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences from Colorado State University. She will soon graduate from the University of Queensland, in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, with her medical degree. Kelly’s work over the past two years with The Trevor Project, a 24/7 crisis service focused on suicide prevention in LBGTQ+ youth, exemplifies her passion for service.

Adrielle Grace Massey earned a Bachelor of Arts degree at Dartmouth College and a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences degree with a concentration on Human Biology from the University of Montana. This spring she will graduate from the University of Washington School of Medicine, in Seattle, with her medical degree. As part of her medical training, Adrielle was also engaged in the Indian Health Pathway, a certificate program providing educational opportunities and experiences in American Indian/Alaska Native Health.

Emily Rose Schiller received a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of Michigan prior to obtaining a Master of Arts in a postbaccalaureate premedical program at Mount Holyoke College. She went on to attend Rutgers’ Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, in Piscataway, New Jersey. Emily has an impressive world/community health perspective built on a post-college internship in Liberia, as well as presentation on women’s health in rural Malawi for the National Institutes of Health Academy on Health Disparities.

Karen Jit Singh is a local resident of Hampden. She completed premedical training at the University of Toronto, in Ontario, Canada. Following that, she attended the Medical University of the Americas (St. Kitts and Nevis.) Karen is currently finishing a transitional year of Internal Medicine at Merit Health Wesley Hospital, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She has been involved in research activities at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center including work on the opioid epidemic.

Acadia Hospital’s Residents begin their journey to becoming psychiatrists on June 17.

To learn more about Northern Light Acadia Hospital’s Psychiatry Residency Program, visit

New Dimensions FCU announces 2024 scholarship winners

Brayden Perry (left), Gavin Lunt (right)

New Dimensions Federal Credit Union (NDFCU) is proud to announce the recipients of its highly esteemed 2024 Scholarship Program.

Among the outstanding individuals selected for this prestigious honor are Gavin Lunt and Brayden Perry, who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievements, community involvement, and remarkable dedication.

A promising student, Gavin Lunt, will pursue Actuarial Science at the University of Maine at Farmington this fall. His impressive academic successes and active engagement within his community have rightfully earned him a place among the 2024 Scholarship Program winners.

Brayden Perry, another deserving recipient of the NDFCU scholarship, will embark on a path toward Nursing, at Merrimack College, in North Andover, Massachusetts. Brayden’s application stood out for its excellence in academics and exemplary volunteerism, qualities that reflect the spirit of the NDFCU Scholarship Program.

Ryan Poulin, CEO of NDFCU, expressed his pride in the scholarship winners, emphasizing the importance of supporting educational aspirations within the community. Poulin encouraged all aspiring scholars to consider participating in the NDFCU Scholarship Program, highlighting it as a meaningful way to invest in future generations.

For more information about NDFCU’s scholarship program, please contact us at (800) 326-6190 or visit

SCOUTING NEWS: Area Scouts make a difference with clean-up activities

Vassalboro Cubs, front, from left to right, Kasen Maroon (Tiger), Lux Reynolds (Wolf), Finn Arsenault (Wolf), and Declan McLaughlin (Wolf). Second row, John Gray (Wolf), Boone McLaughlin (Lion), Beckett Metcalf (Wolf), Alex Madison (Lion), Samuel Madison (Wolf), Walter (Pack #410 Recruit), Henry Gray (Webelos I). Back Tiger Den Leader Shane Maroon, Cubmaster Chris Reynolds, and Asst. Cubmaster Ben Metcalf. All are from Vassalboro. (photo by Chuck Mahaleris)

by Chuck Mahaleris

Winslow Cubs, from left to right, Wolf Ryder Johnston, Arrow of Light Ashish Dabas, Wolf Easton Vigue, Bear Freddie Pullen (behind Easton), on the right side Lion Lorelei Pullen, Webelos Colton Vigue, Wolf CJ Mihalovits, Arrow of Light Alex Parsons, Wolf Simon Giroux. Not pictured are Wolf Abel Byroade, Lion Stevie Hodgdon, and Bear Peter Small who also took part in the clean-up. (photo by Chuck Mahaleris)

Earth Day has a special place in Scouting’s culture. Cubs and Scouts know that responsible stewardship of the planet is key to being a good Scout. Since Boy Scouts of America’s early beginnings, Scouts have been caring for the planet. The organization’s “Leave No Trace” principles demonstrate how Scouts show respect for the great outdoors.

BSA makes a point to recognize other friends of the planet with the Hornaday Awards, which honor not only Scouting units, Scouts, Venturers, adult Scouting volunteers, but also other individuals, corporations, and institutions that contribute to natural resource conservation and environmental protection.

Caring for the environment is considered one of the core values of Scouting, which is why BSA and its members are constantly taking action to champion sustainability and conservation. Area Scouts were busy putting into practice what they had been learning in Scouting this Earth Day.

On April 21, Skowehgan Pack #485 Cubmaster Shanna Brown said their Cubs Scouts and leaders picked up litter, raked and removed debris around the Federated Church near the Kennebec River filling three contractor bags with trash and a pencil box filled with needles that was given to the Skowhegan Police Department. Scouts had received instructions prior to the start of the clean up to leave any items that looked like medical equipment alone and alert an adult. Scouts and leaders from Troop #485 also assisted in the clean up effort. Shanna said, “Doing our best to clean up the earth one location at a time.”

Cub Scouts in Gardiner Pack #672 gave up some of their Saturday on April 13 cleaning along the rail trail near the Kennebec River. Cubmaster Scott St. Amand said, “They collected ten bags of trash as well as some miscellaneous car parts. It was a beautiful day for a clean-up and the folks on the rail trail weren’t shy about expressing gratitude for the Scouts getting out there and tidying up.”

In Vassalboro, members of Pack and Troop #410 took part in a clean up of the storytime trail at the Vassalboro Community School. “It was a wonderful day to bring both Troop #410 and Pack #410 together to work on a service project in honor of Earth Day, but to also say thank you to Vassalboro Community School for their partnership. It was a perfect collaboration cleaning up storm damage on the story walk created by Eagle Scout Nathan Polley,” said Scoutmaster Christopher Santiago.

Sabrina Garfield, Cubmaster in Winslow said, “Cub Scout Pack #445 spent the day (April 21) walking around Winslow cleaning up litter making the town cleaner and greener. They went to Norton Park, Halifax Park, Winslow Elementary, High School, Jr High, Town Office and Halifax hill cemetery just to name a few of the places. One of our Lion Cubs did 3.2 miles of walking and cleaning up litter. The bottle drive was also a huge success. And a big thank you to Winslow Town Councilman Adam Lint and his wife for their support with their bottle donations and coming out to say hi and thanking the cubs for their work.” Garfield said that many people stopped by, dropped off bottles, beeped, waved and shared encouragement for what the Scouts were doing. Cheryl’s Pizza provided pizza after the work was done. “It’s not too late to help out! Grab a bag, some gloves and an adult and clean up your street. The Earth will thank you.”

Skowhegan Cubs, from left to right, Bear Cub Jaxson Lewis, of Norridgewock, Bear Cub Ian Dickey, of Anson, Tiger Cub Dylan Dickey, of Anson, Tiger Cub Philo Augustus, of Smithfield, and Tiger Cub Casey Barden, of Norridgewock, took part in an Earth Day Clean Up near the Skowhegan Federated Church and the Kennebec River. (photo by Chuck Mahaleris)

Madison Legion Auxiliary collects essential items for children in DHHS system

Members of Tardiff-Belanger American Legion Auxiliary Unit #39, in Madison, pictured left to right, Amy Washburn, Harriet Bryant, Irma Fluet, Gerri Jenks, Lisa Nelson, Nancy Misiaszek, Jackie Pollis, and Tammy Giguere. (contributed photo)

The month of April is recognized as Children and Youth Month. Members of the Tardiff-Belanger American Legion Auxiliary, Unit #39, Madison, collected many essential items such as backpacks, Pj’s, toothpaste, toothbrushes, diapers, shoes, socks, toiletry items, and hygiene products for the older children, etc.

These items benefit the children who will enter the Department of Health and Human Services System. Most children enter with nothing more than the clothes on their backs. These backpacks provide them with items they can call their own in hopes that it makes the transition a little easier for them. This year with generous donations of items from the members of the local community, and American Legion Family membership as well as the Auxiliary purchases, the American Legion Auxiliary Unit #39, Madison delivered 440 items valued over $1,500.

Founded in 1919, the American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) members dedicated themselves for over a century to meeting the needs of our nation’s veterans, military, and their families both here and abroad. They volunteer millions of hours yearly, with a value of nearly $2 billion. As part of the world’s largest patriotic service organization, auxiliary volunteers across the country also step up to honor veterans and military through annual scholarships and with Dirigo State programs, teaching high school juniors to be leaders grounded in patriotism and Americanism. To learn more about the Auxiliary’s mission or to volunteer, donate or join, visit or or contact Jackie Pollis, President at or at 207-431-1844.