Valley Grange and Penquis Celebrate Collaboration

How I love ya, my dear hammy!

Volunteers are ready to “serve up the goods.”

Over 100 people came from surrounding communities to enjoy the Fall Harvest Supper sponsored by Penquis and Valley Grange on October 22. In addition to enjoying good food and fellowship, volunteers and supporters raised over $700 to help Piscataquis Santa “make his rounds” this Christmas.

The Piscataquis Santa Project serves needy children, 16 years old or younger who reside within the communities of Abbot, Cambridge, Guilford, Parkman, Sangerville, Wellington, Willimantic, Exeter, Garland, Harmony, Ripley, Bowerbank, Charleston, Dover-Foxcroft, Monson, Sebec, Beaver Cove, Greenville, Kingsbury Plantation, Shirley, or any other community served by MSAD #4, MSAD #46*, or MSAD #68.

Chief planner and cook Sheree Brown enjoyed the community’s support, noting that donations came from as far away as Hermon, Saint Albans, and Bingham. “We called on farmers and gardeners to help with local produce and we weren’t disappointed.” Donations of food and supplies were made by Fred and Karen Cookson, Denise Trafton, Debbie Somers, Norman Clough, Penquis, Avalon Acres, and Rollins Orchards. Valley Grange and other community cooks provided an abundance of home-baked pies and, as one diner said, “If you go home hungry from this meal, it’s your own fault.”

This was the second collaboration between Penquis and Valley Grange. An August Dinner benefited the Smart Starts for Students Program. “We’re really having fun with these,” noted grange program director Walter Boomsma. “And we feel like we’re modeling the sort of cooperation and collaboration between organizations that makes big accomplishments possible.”

Boomsma also noted that “energy creates energy” and even more collaborative events are being added to the Valley Grange schedule. “Next up we’ll be hosting a Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, December 3rd to benefit the Penquis Journey House in Dexter. (The Journey House is a transitional housing program available to pregnant young women ages 16-21 who are experiencing homelessness or have an unsafe living situation… providing nurturing support toward self sufficiency.)

 

“Folks can check the Valley Grange website for more information on all our events,” he added. “And if you’ve got an idea or some energy and a few minutes, we’re always looking for help. One of the things that made this dinner so successful was the amount of support that came from far and wide. Maybe we are redefining community. It sure is rewarding to see people reaching out to help others.”

Information regarding Penquis Programs can be found at http://www.penquis.org. Valley Grange information and events are listed at https://valleygrange.wordpress.com.

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