Courier-Gazette Letters to the Editor, Aug. 22

Aug 22, 2019

Meals on Wheels faces funding crisis

For the first time in our 50-year history, we are at risk of falling short of serving everyone in need. Since 1969, MCH (Making Community Happen) Inc. has served seniors and adults with disabilities in Knox County with MCH Meals on Wheels, enabling and encouraging people to live independently in their own homes. MCH Inc. is a multi-service agency, owning and managing subsidized housing facilities for low-income seniors and disabled individuals and coordinating important support services for them.

MCH Inc. is a Meals on Wheels subcontractor for Spectrum Generations, the Central Maine Area Agency on Aging. Spectrum Generations is the regional organization responsible for managing federal funding providing comprehensive services for older adults. The funds are authorized by the Older Americans Act passed by Congress in 1965. Spectrum Generations provides MCH Meals on Wheels with an annual subsidy for a contracted number of meals. This federal subsidy covers about 34 percent of MCH’s costs to operate the service.

In 2018 MCH Meals on Wheels provided 26,342 home-delivered meals to eligible seniors and individuals with disabilities. MCH was able to raise $162,000 to cover the difference between the subsidy and its actual cost to meet the needs of the community.

Thanks to significant financial support from individuals, foundations, civic organizations, churches and local businesses, we were able to deliver this vital service without placing anyone on a waiting list and regardless of the recipients' ability to pay any of the $5 suggested donation amount. In fact, participant donations currently average 73 cents per meal, given the often extremely limited incomes of participants.

While the federal subsidy remains essentially the same, the demand for meals in Knox County has increased by 27 percent in 2019. MCH Meals on Wheels’ contract with Spectrum Generations runs through Sept. 30, but as of the end of July, we had already exceeded the number of meals. This means no funding is available for an anticipated 7,000 meals, leading to an additional shortfall of $20,000.

Generous financial support and a robust volunteer network provided by the people of Knox County have been the foundation of MCH Meals on Wheels' success in meeting the needs of seniors and disabled individuals.

For all of you who are in a position to consider a mid-year contribution to MCH Meals on Wheels to meet this unique challenge, we are grateful for your support. You can mail a check to MCH Meals on Wheels, 46 Summer St., Rockland, ME 04841 or make your contribution on-line at mchinc.org. Thank you.

Audrey Lovering

President, MCH Inc. Board of Directors

Elisabeth Schuh

MCH Inc. Executive Director

Grieving a 'fur child'

I called him "my boy, my son," like Cedric Diggory's father in "Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire". His Pope Memorial Humane Society friends called him "Reny/Renny".

I met "Reddy Fox" (as Karen Hull named him) years before he became my foster child. Peggy Jones and I cared for him every Monday morning at the old shelter. We called it "Dog Duty."

Reddy's life was not easy. Traveling up from the Carolinas in 2012, he showed signs of abuse, not trusting anyone. He learned to love all his PMHS caregivers, especially Theresa, Donald, Carrie, Jo, Andrea, Tracy and the dog walkers who walked him or tried to walk him. Thank you for giving him another chance with me.

Yes, he would bite. I swear most were human-error bites. Maybe it was his Pomeranian mix or past abuse memories.

Trust came slowly. I just let him be. No expectations. It was an unconditional love thing between us. He was not the "lap dog" some wanted him to be.

Diabetes and blindness did not keep him down. He somehow always found the dog ramp at the dog door leading to and from his huge backyard where he smelled, romped, peed and pooped.

Pope Memorial Humane Society does a fabulous job caring for their "Jody Foster" dogs. Otherwise, some of us could never afford to adopt a shelter animal. They provided excellent health care, including nail trimming, flea and tick and heart worm treatments, and they trimmed his very hairy "Hobbit feet."

I hope on his walk over the Rainbow Bridge he meets up with Rocky, Obi, PepperAnn, Bashful, and Simba, and all the other WOOFs that went before him. I hope sisSuzanne's yellow lab companion, Olive, is there, too. Reddy and Olive were adorable constant playmates.

I am a stone when it comes to crying. My Ukrainian Grandma Gichun used to tell me stories on her farm about "Stone Soup." I will be making some "Stone Soup" with my overflowing "Reddy-Fox tears."

I'll miss you, Buddy.

Jackie Gichun Freitas

Friendship

Maine Boat & Home Show says thanks

We would like to send a huge thank-you to the city of Rockland and all its citizens for once again hosting the annual Maine Boat & Home Show during the second weekend of August. Thousands of people came to the show (and the city) from all over the state and New England, from all corners of the country and even from other countries. We are grateful, as always, to everyone who helped to make it a success, and were thrilled to orchestrate the event, which was the 17th annual.

Approximately 175 exhibitors set the scene, including a wide range of boats tied up at the docks and arrayed on land and valued at nearly $22 million all told. It was a tremendous display of the breadth and diversity of fine Maine-crafted products. Great crowds turned out and healthy sales were reported by vendors, from boats and fine furniture sold to jewelry commissioned, clothing purchased and food consumed. There was sculpture on the grounds to accent the plentiful exhibits on land and in the tents.

The show is very pleased to acknowledge the support of overall sponsors Awlgrip/Interlux, Bangor Savings Bank, Camden National Bank, CedarWorks, Courier Publications/Village Soup, Epifanes, LCI Fiber Optic Networks, Owls Head Transportation Museum, Rock Harbor Brewing USHarbors.com, and Yarmouth Boat Yard.

As always, the support of the city of Rockland, the Rockland Police Department , the harbormaster’s office, and the Rockland Department of Public Works is also very much appreciated, as is that of Rockland Main Street Inc. Many thanks to all the community and city organizations, individuals and businesses that assisted with the show. This includes the Maine Lobster Festival, the North Atlantic Blues Festival and the Rockland Yacht Club. Shed City provided sturdy buildings to house the on-site show offices.

The media are critical to the success of any event. Our thanks to the many outlets — local, statewide and national — that ran our press releases and photos and came to the event to provide live coverage.

Members of the West Bay Rotary were our most-excellent gate ambassadors for the 16th year in a row. Trash pickup and recycling were adroitly handled by a team from the Camden Hills Regional High School Transition Life Skills program.

And we could go on! Countless individuals helped the show run smoothly, including our grounds crew and dozens of dedicated individual volunteers. The list is too long for us to mention everyone here, but please know that our gratitude is boundless. We couldn’t do it without the whole team.

World Championship Boatyard Dog Trials thanks go to sponsors Bell’s Furry Friends Pet Photography, Casco Totes, Loyal Biscuit, 250 Main Hotel and Water Bark Wellness. Congrats to the winner, a papillon named Tattoo! And of course, a warm round of paws in applause is due the other teams of brave canine contestants and their handlers.

Last, but far from least, we’d like to thank all the community members and visitors who welcomed us, our exhibitors and their crews, and all the show attendees to Rockland. Many folks from afar make this event a destination each summer because they find such a warm welcome here.

We heard so many well-deserved compliments about Rockland, the Midcoast, the show and our wonderful community; we are honored and proud to live and work in this wonderful place.

We look forward to seeing you all around town this fall, and invite you to stop by our offices at 218 South Main St. to say hello, but not until early September when we'll be back from our much-needed rest!

Gretchen Piston Ogden,

Show Manager,

Maine Boat & Home Show

 

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