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Local groups urge kind acts for day of service

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Responding to a call for a statewide day of service for Maine citizens on Jan. 5, four Aroostook County organizations encourage people to give back in their communities with acts of kindness.

The Maine Commission for Community Service spearheaded the event at the request of Governor-elect Janet Mills, whose inauguration was scheduled for Jan. 2 in Augusta.

United Way of Aroostook, Aroostook County Action Program, Presque Isle Rotary and Presque Isle Kiwanis are hoping the day of service will help people see how small acts of kindness can have big impacts, and also set the stage for an entire year of giving in 2019.

For Jan. 5, it’s the small things that count. as far as Sherry Locke, executive director of United Way and past president of Presque Isle Kiwanis, is concerned.

“When we think of giving we typically think of monetary gifts, and although those are very important to the work we do, we also recognize the importance of giving of your time and acts of kindness that can make our communities stronger,” said Locke.

Locke, along with Jason Parent, ACAP executive director/CEO and Presque Isle Rotary president, said though weather and time of year make it difficult to plan larger events in Aroostook County, nearly anyone can give a small piece of themselves simply by choosing to be kind.

“Hold the door open for someone, return a cart for someone at the store, or even just share your smile,” said Locke about how simple it can be to give on Jan. 5 or on any day.

Other ideas may include dropping off some baked treats at your local fire or police station, registering for a day to prepare a meal at the local homeless shelter, contacting an animal shelter to walk dogs or spend time with the animals, shoveling the steps or path for a neighbor, checking in on someone who lives alone, or delivering some food to your local food cupboard.

“Really, the only limitation to how you might help in your community is your own imagination,” said Parent. “You can even make community giving a family bonding experience by finding something to do that’s both meaningful to the community and a meaningful activity for your family to participate in together.”

Community might even involve cleaning out cupboards or bookshelves. United Way is currently accepting donations of gently used books for their new Book Nook at the Aroostook Centre Mall. Also, Aroostook County credit unions are tackling hunger by accepting donations of cans of soup as part of a national Souper Bowl of Caring until Feb. 22. Every $1 collected in donations will purchase a can of soup for distribution. All donations will benefit people in Aroostook County.

For more ideas, contact a local church, school, hospital, nursing home, library or any other community organization to learn how to help.  

“A simple act of kindness can cause a ripple effect throughout our community,” said Locke, “and that simple act of kindness can start with you.”

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