Highlights from the January 15, 2020 Whitefield Cares! Meeting

This was actually our December 2019 meeting. Photo by George Fergusson

The regularly scheduled January meeting of Whitefield Cares! Was held on January 15th at 4:00 PM at the Whitefield Elementary School. Previous meetings had started at 6 PM but we thought it was better holding the meeting earlier. We had a new person join us, they heard about Whitefield Cares from the website (it’s working!) and we had an unexpected visit from Representative Chloe Maxmin (she represents Maine House District 88 which includes Chelsea, Whitefield, Jefferson, part of Nobleboro) who was interested to learn more about our work.

We agreed that January is a good time to move from talking about stuff to acting on simple and achievable plans. We formed a small subcommittee (Margaret and George Fergusson, Sue McKeen, Harriet Vaughan, and Lise Hanners) to work on providing a table at the upcoming Town Meeting on March 21, 2020. We will have a sign (with our logo!), a short draft survey to seek input on priorities for Whitefield Cares, and copies of the Resource List. Hopefully by increasing our visibility, we will increase our reach in the community, both for volunteers and participation.

George Fergusson gave the group an update on the steady increase in views and engagement that our whitefieldcares.org website and Facebook site is generating. Most recently we know that our Facebook site had 87 views which is a wonderful increase; 37 people have signed up to receive this newsletter! If you like what you read here please tell your friends to join us and in particular, reach out to anyone you know who needs support to follow (and join?) our work.

I informed the group that I have submitted a grant proposal to the Maine Community Foundation, in their Life-long Communities mini-grant, due January 15. The proposal was for a $1010 grant to support a mailing of the Resource List and a flier describing what Whitefield Cares is trying to accomplish, to all Whitefield mailboxes. Hopefully we can get these materials together for a mailing in the spring if funding is received by April. Secondly the grant would support mailing a survey to all town residents to seek their direct input on services most needed by residents, likely in the fall. And lastly, the grant would provide the cost of maintaining the web presence, and extra fliers and lists for posting around Town.

For our first program to support residents, we decided to work with the elementary school to provide simple cooking classes for middle school students. Mark DeBlois, the school principal, told the group how useful he found the Resource List and has distributed it to parents who he’s seen take advantage of the programs listed. Mark hopes to encourage the school community to work with Whitefield Cares to support families that need help in Town. Teresa Magnusen agreed to take the lead on coordinating with school staff to design a few cooking sessions after school using the school kitchen to teach the children how to use the food available at the school food pantry. We hope to attract new community members interested in this simple but helpful program.

Please let us know if you are interested in joining our planning team, are interested in taking part in one of the activities described, or have feedback for us. Contact us at info@whitefiieldcares.org or feel free to call Lise Hanners at 207-656-2033.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of Whitefield Cares! will be February 12th at 4:00 PM at the Whitefield School Library. Hope to see you there!

Lise Hanners, Coordinator
Whitefield Cares!