Cape Elizabeth Benefit Raises Nearly $15,000 for the People of Lincoln
CAPE ELIZABETH---“For me, this is a healing thing because this is a very wealthy area down here compared to where we live. So to think they would be doing this for us is very heartwarming.”
Fighting back tears, Rev. Michael Robinson, pastor of the First Congregational Church of Lincoln, United Church of Christ, conveyed both gratitude and a sense of disbelief as he looked out at people he had never met before holding a dinner and silent auction to benefit laid-off millworkers in his community. Reverend Robinson was among seven people who traveled from Lincoln to attend the event held at St. Bartholomew Church in Cape Elizabeth on Friday, March 28. The fundraiser was organized by the Cluster 22 Social Justice and Catholic Service Committee, comprised of parishioners from St. Bartholomew Parish in Cape Elizabeth; St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Scarborough; and St. John and Holy Cross Parish in South Portland (pictures below).
Around 50 volunteers planned and worked at the event which raised nearly $15,000 for the Lincoln Mill Worker Fund, including a $2500 matching donation from the Modern Woodmen of America. A boiler explosion at the Lincoln Paper and Tissue mill last November resulted in 200 layoffs, a serious blow to an already struggling area.
“It means the world to us that someone who doesn’t know us reached out to us,” said Gert Campbell, business manager and parish catechetical leader at St. Mary of Lourdes Church in Lincoln.
“This is just overwhelming to have this amount of people looking out for people three hours away,” said Jamey House, a laid-off millworker who attended the benefit. “It just goes to show you how generous the people of Maine are.”
The fundraiser came together after Fr. Michael Seavey, parochial vicar of the Portland Peninsula & Island Parishes, received an AFL-CIO newsletter, which included information about a fund set up to benefit the laid-off workers. Fr. Seavey sent the information to area pastors, including Monsignor Michael Henchal of Cluster 22, who brought it to the attention of the cluster’s Social Justice and Catholic Service Committee.
“They just took off with it. I was amazed,” said Msgr. Henchal.
“If the roles were reversed, the people of Lincoln would be doing this for us,” said Fr. Seavey. “In Maine, we really are one big, small town.”
The members of the Cluster 22 Social Justice and Catholic Service Committee are Kathy Williamson, Elizabeth Campbell, Nancy McClay, Cyndi Tayman-Veroneau, Suzanne Landry, Gerry Corcoran, Mike Audet, Fran Audet, Carol Kuendel, Tracey Merrill, Margie Stenberg, Deacon Richard Stenberg, Kelly Murphy, Kathy Sparda, Bill Krahe, Sharyn Shearer, Msgr. Paul Stefanko and Msgr. Michael Henchal.
People who wish to help the Lincoln community can do so by contributing to the Lincoln Regional Food Cupboard and Resource Center, which has been helping laid-off workers with food and fuel. The cupboard has set up food and fuel accounts at the Lincoln Maine Federal Credit Union, 171 W. Broadway, Lincoln, ME 04457. Checks should be made payable to Lincoln FCU but should specify to which fund you are donating.
These pictures were taken at the Silent Auction and Dinner on Friday, March 28th at St. Bartholomew Church Hall. The benefit raised nearly $15,000 for the mill workers who lost their jobs in Lincoln and East Millinocket. Thanks to everyone for their generosity.