The chairmen of Nobleboro’s Democratic and Republican committees stood side by side on Saturday, Feb. 11, serving 15 gallons of chili with 50 pounds of baked potatoes steaming next to them.
Winslow Myers and Gene McKeever, respectively, and their committees gathered at the First Baptist Church to raise funds for heating assistance for Nobleboro residents. The event, which drew 150 people, raised $6,689 for The Community Energy Fund of Lincoln County on Saturday and is still accepting donations.
“It goes back to a common goal that’s worthy, and a lot of difficulties melt away,” Myers said about the bipartisan event.
“And it’s fun,” McKeever said with a wide smile. “It has been so much fun to meet everyone and dish out chili. I’m digging it.”
Mary Sheldon, Nobleboro resident and active volunteer, brought together the groups to organize the event. A 10-member committee, some from the political groups and others unaffiliated, met for weeks to plan.
“We’d have to be fools not to want to help the community,” McKeever said. “Everybody on the committee has said, ‘We’ve got to do this.’”
Sheldon said the two committees joined once before for a different fundraiser in 2017, which gave her the idea when thinking about ways to help this winter.
McKeever and Myers said their groups would consider a similar event together in the future — after some time to rest.
They prepared 12 different chili recipes, some vegetarian, some with chicken, some spicy, some mild. Fifteen trays of cornbread, 50 pounds of potatoes, and 20 pies rounded out the meal.
Items were donated by Ginger Mousse Bakery, Hannaford, Moody’s Diner, Reunion Station, Rising Tide Co-op, and Spear Farms. Flower arrangements for the event were provided by Louis Doe’s Home Center.
All proceeds from the event will go to the Community Energy Fund of Lincoln County, where they will be directed to Nobleboro residents. The fund began in 2005 to benefit those who do not qualify for state or federal heating assistance programs.
The fund has distributed $2,104,053 since its founding.
Planning committee member Pam Edwards, speaking next to the pie table she oversaw at the event, said she thinks local communities have grown kinder and more involved in recent years.
“I’ve seen more and more people give … I’ve seen just a change in attitude since the pandemic,” said Edwards, who also volunteers at the Waldoboro Food Pantry. “It’s wonderful.”
Maine Sen. Cameron Reny, D-Bristol, and former state Sens. Dana Dow, R-Waldoboro, and Chloe Maxmin, D-Nobleboro, were in attendance among a friendly crowd from Nobleboro and surrounding towns. Dow washed dishes in the church kitchen as the event wound down.
““The teamwork was seamless, the food abundant, the ‘eaters’ enthusiastic. It did feel like a warm and united gathering,” said Patti Bradley, co-chair of the Nobleboro Democratic Committee.
To receive assistance from the Community Energy Fund, residents can apply through the Nobleboro town office at 192 Route One.
Donations are still being accepted. Checks made out to The Community Energy Fund of Lincoln County with the memo specifying Nobleboro assistance can be sent to Roy Blomquist, treasurer, NRDC luncheon, 21 Nobleboro Woods Road, Nobleboro, ME 04555.