Hi all –
I hope this beautiful day finds you well. I had a great conversation with Brittany Gill who run the Community Housing Improvement Plan based in Bristol. They distinguish their nonprofit by adding an “Inc.” after CHIP, to separate them from the Central Heating Improvement Program run by Maine Housing and distributed by KVCAP. I’ll explain further about CHIP Inc. below – but KVCAP distributed LIHEAP funds (enough acronyms yet?) for heating fuel and they also do weatherization, house repairs, etc. but apparently they have a long waiting list. They are supported by Federal funding and have a strict set of requirements for support.
CHIP, Inc. is a non-profit based in Bristol, Maine and they focus on central and eastern Lincoln County, including Whitefield. The organization was started by Ruth Ives who was the Carpenter’s Boat Shop founder in Bristol and they are supported by donors from Lincoln County. They do a variety of home repairs as well as one-time fuel assistance (100 gallons of heating fuel or firewood). Brittany Gill explained that the program is for those in need but they are much more forgiving and will assume the best of their neighbors so the process is not onerous. If someone needs their trailer re-skirted, or the floor rebuilt, a ramp constructed, or window inserts, they can call 207-677-3450 and leave a message and Brittany will return their call to schedule a time for repairs (in normal circumstances of course). CHIP, Inc. will pay for the materials and their volunteers do the work – this seems like just the opportunity Whitefield Cares! has been looking for, to match our volunteer work force with knowledge and a vehicle to find people who need help. I will add CHIP, Inc. to our Resource List.
Their website (chipinc.org) is down for repairs but Brittany anticipates it will be up and running in April. They have a community work day in September and she will be keeping an eye out for needs from residents in Whitefield, assuming we can gather safely by that time. If not, we’ll do it later! This is a great example of us using existing groups to facilitate their interest and ours. Isn’t Maine great? Hang in there everybody.
Having had a life-long practice of thrift, I haven’t found living on a fixed income as a senior citizen difficult at all. Perhaps this is the time to share some of these practices.
What you can do with a bag of dried beans:
- save out half a cup of beans to plant and have your own supply
- make the usual Saturday night baked beans, or do what I do…
- make Pot Beans by soaking the beans overnight until swelled, then place in a large pot with fresh water to cover; add an onion and cook on the stove top until very soft – even mushy. I then ladle these – beans & liquid into straight-sided canning jars and freeze them. I then have them to use for:
- bean burgers
- additions in small quantities to many soups, casseroles, etc.
Making meat go further:
- I extend meats by slow cooking until they can be pulled apart with a fork. This works well with pork, beef, and chicken breasts. I usually add some barbecue sauce and serve over toast or noodles, or added to a homemade soup. With ground beef I no longer make hamburgers but, instead, cook it with some taco seasoning and divide it into portions, adding some to spaghetti sauce, chili, pizza topping, soups. Sometimes I turn it into meatloaf and I even extend that into small portions in other dishes.
- A roast chicken is a bonanza of additional meals. The initial one is a delicious roast with its crispy skin. It then also appears as chicken salad and finally as delicious chicken soup stock when it gets down to the carcass with just a little meat left on it. I place it in a large stock pot, cover with water, add celery and onions and cook on the stove top until the meat comes away from the bones. I strain out the bones and skin but keep any pieces of the meat. I freeze them in various plastic containers. My freezer always has ingredients for putting together a soup. I keep on hand some store bought cans of cream of chicken soup to add a creamy quality to the soup.
No leftovers go to waste:
Everything in the fridge has a potential second life.
- Faded vegetables and salad greens can be turned into soup stock…just place in a pot and cover with water, cook until everything can be pierced with a fork, then strain out the limp vegetation and save the liquid in jars in the freezer or pressure can if you’re set up to do it.
- leftover pickle juice can be used for submerging leftover veggies like green beans.
- I make lots of quiches and frittatas to use up scraps of meat and veggies.
- My secret ingredients are feta cheese and pitted Calamata olives to add an exotic quality to mundane ingredients.
- Everything eventually ends up as soup. I rummage through the fridge and the pantry shelves for interesting combinations. My secret to a great flavored soup is to add anywhere from 2 teaspoons to a tablespoon of cider vinegar near the end of cooking and add salt judiciously until the flavors are just right.
Cooking is an outlet for creativity. Give it a try!
Hi all –
Here’s sincerely hoping that you are all well. We are all set up to help our neighbors during the Coronavirus epidemic so I thought I’d update you on where this stands.
New volunteers have been signing up to drive groceries to shut-ins every day which is awesome and inspiring. As some of you know, our State Representative Chloe Maxmin also has a sign-up for people willing to check on neighbors among other tasks and she offered to connect Whitefield Cares! to her list if/when we need more volunteers which is great! All three Whitefield stores (Sheepscot General, North Whitefield Superette, and Country Corners) are working with me to get groceries to people who can’t get out because of sickness, high vulnerability or other issues. The customer calls the store and makes an order, pays for it, then the store calls me and I call the first volunteer on my list then keep going until I reach someone! The volunteer drives to the store where the store employee puts the box in their car and the volunteer drops the box off outside the customer’s house (and rings the doorbell or knocks to let the customer know the delivery has arrived). The general plan is for deliveries to occur at 11:00 and 4:00 each day so a volunteer might have more than one order to deliver.
Having said all this we haven’t received any calls from the stores yet – but that may change as time goes on. I’m also expecting that we may get other requests for help such as picking up prescriptions etc. and we’ll deal with that when/if it happens!
Additionally, Aunt Gin’s (on Rt 17) is cooking home-cooked meals for shut-ins. I spoke to one of the owners who told me that they will plan on delivering meals themselves. I suggested that they call me if they find they can’t keep up with demand for whatever reason. So I may be back to our volunteers to see if people are willing to deliver meals as well.
I think it’s wonderful how people are responding at a time of need despite the gloomy news. Please let others in your social network know about this plan so word gets out to those who need to know. This information is also on the Whitefield Town website. If anyone else is interested in volunteering, please sign up at Neighbors on Call as well as signing up for our newsletter with your email and contact information. And you can always reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and stay healthy!
Hi All –
Well we’re going with safety first and decided to cancel our meetings for the foreseeable future. However, we may have an opportunity to contribute individually to help our community in need. Sheepscot General reached out to ask if Whitefield Cares would be willing to help drive groceries to people who are unable to get out on their own. They are hoping to work with the Superette to figure out who needs help and we could simply pick up an order and deliver it to an address, without going inside or really having contact with anyone. If you would be willing to do so, please let us know via the Whitefield Cares contact form or email. I’m not sure whether we can make this work but we can certainly try!
Meantime our little subcommittee working on the survey has a draft and which is circulating for more input. We will send that out soon and we can all look forward to collecting survey responses once this virus passes us by! Stay home and safe everyone.
Whitefield Cares! has received our first funding! We received $1,010 from the Thriving Older Adults Strategic Goal Fund of the Maine Community Foundation. We asked for support for printing and mailing the Resource List to all Whitefield residents in an effort to better distribute information in Town. In addition, we asked for funding to print and distribute a town-wide survey to ask residents what is working and what is not working for their lives in Whitefield, to allow us to specifically target our work where it is needed the most. A small group of us is already working to prepare the survey questions so now we can move forward more quickly! Very exciting news and we hope to see you at the next regular meeting on Wednesday March 18 at 4:00 at the Elementary School.