China group cancels fall WindowDressers workshop
by Eric W. Austin
The China for a Lifetime Committee has announced they will not be moving forward with a WindowDressers workshop this fall. Current uncertainty regarding conditions around the COVID-19 pandemic as well as low participation were the reasons for the cancellation.
WindowDressers is a volunteer-led, community initiative that aims to build low-cost window inserts to help reduce residential heating costs. The program is sponsored by the nonprofit WindowDressers organization based out of Rockland.
In an email sent to committee members, chairman Christopher Hahn wrote, “My recommendation is that we not go forward with a Community Build or measuring this year. Taking into account the responses I received from most of you regarding the survey from WindowDressers and the continued COVID-19 trending in Maine and the uncertainty regarding the twists and turns of the pandemic, I feel a greater obligation to help people stay safe than to reduce the heating costs for a handful of people in the area. I am not minimizing that issue but with the contagiousness of the Delta variant and the established fact that vaccinated individuals can asymptomatically transmit the more deadly variant to unvaccinated individuals, I would be horrified to learn that one of our recipients contracted the virus from our event.”
Participants who had planned to order inserts from the China workshop this year may be able to process their orders through other community builds. WindowDressers will work with them to accommodate any orders already received. Anyone still hoping to order inserts should sign up on the WindowDressers website at https://windowdressers.org/insulating-inserts/.
According to a community survey conducted by the China for a Lifetime Committee in 2017, 12 percent of local residents struggle to sufficiently heat their homes. The planned WindowDressers workshop was one way the committee hoped to address this need. The committee was working in concert with a number of other local groups as well as several residents of Vassalboro who had participated in a previous workshop.
The committee plans to continue its work supporting local residents in line with its mission to “develop initiatives that improve the quality of life for residents of China, South China, Weeks Mills, and Branch Mills.” To this end, they created a China Volunteer Program (CVP) several years ago to assist community members in need. They can be reached through their email address at ChinaforaLifetime@gmail.com or through the Friends of China Facebook group. More information about the committee can also be found at their website, chinaforalifetime.com.