In a word: SUCCESS!

Over 120 people brought their appetites to Valley Grange

“It’s been a long time since I came to a Grange event here and had to park way over in the hay field,” commented Terry Spencer from Skowhegan. He and his wife Harriet had come as part of the state team leading the Officer Installation Program at Valley Grange in Guilford last Friday, and they found themselves surrounded by scores of friends and neighbors, Italian Music and the smells of lasagna and spaghetti.

The Grange decided to try something different this year, according to Walter Boomsma, Program Director for Valley Grange. The Grange teamed up with Penquis to sponsor a public supper before the annual grange program. Sheree Brown of Penquis immediately recognized an opportunity to hold a “last minute” fundraiser for the Smart Starts for Students Project—a school supply assistance program for the greater Piscataquis area by providing starter packs of new school supplies for families in need throughout MSAD #4, #41, #46, #68 and Union #60.

“We decided to prove that two community organizations can collaborate effectively and accomplish good things.” Boomsma noted that one diner gave the thumbs up sign as he left and said one word: “success!”

Installation Team Linda LaBree, Glenda Barker, Mary Thomas, Harriet Spencer, James Owens, and Terry Spencer.

“He was correct on so many levels,” Boomsma noted. “So many people came out winners… from the organizations involved to the people who ate… to the kids who will get their school supplies.” Penquis and Valley Grange were joined in the effort by a number of local individuals and businesses who contributed food and supplies.

While the final counts weren’t immediately available, the two groups served at least 120 people and raised over $850 for the project.

Following the dinner, nearly 50 grange officers and leaders from around the area were installed in a ceremony lead by Jim Owens, State Grange Leader. At the close of the meeting Area Grange Leader Bill Bemis noted that this is the first time a Grange in the area has tried anything like this adding “but we may be on to something and should make it an annual event.”

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