Lincoln County businesses and organizations are offering assistance, such as delivery of resources and welfare checks, while residents are in quarantine due to the coronavirus.
Across the county, several efforts have been created to get needed resources, such as food, medication, and personal products, to people who cannot leave their homes.
According to guidelines from the White House and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the elderly and people with serious medical conditions that impair lung or heart function or weaken the immune system should “stay home and away from other people.”
The owner of Damariscotta’s Main Street Grocery, Jane Oliver-Gravel, restarted a free food program.
Based primarily on referrals, the program assists the elderly and families in need. To make a referral, call Oliver-Gravel at the store, 563-3507.
More than 70 families have signed up, according to Oliver-Gravel.
“I started it. It’s gotten way too big for me to handle,” she said.
Now the program is a group effort of several organizations, including Healthy Lincoln County, the CLC YMCA, MaineHealth, Lincoln Academy, the Ecumenical Food Pantry in Newcastle, and Camp Kieve.
“People had just been coming out of the woodwork wanting to help me,” Oliver-Gravel said.
According to Oliver-Gravel, Camp Kieve is preparing and delivering meals, while Lincoln Academy is preparing meals for pickup at the YMCA. The Newcastle Publick House has also helped prepare meals.
Oliver-Gravel and S. Fernald’s Country Store, of Damariscotta, are assisting with organization.
The program has no grants of funding outside of personal and business donations.
Oliver-Gravel has created a long list of drivers for most towns in Lincoln County, except for Jefferson and Wiscasset.
“We deliver enough for them to get a couple days worth of meals out of each bag that we deliver to the family,” Oliver-Gravel said.
In Wiscasset, the group Friends of Wiscasset Village has started an online fundraiser with the goal of raising $15,000 to help as many as 150 families affected by the coronavirus. The money will help families pay rent and utilities, and buy groceries, over the weeks and months ahead.
To donate, visit the fundraiser at tinyurl.com/t693kn4.
Funds will go first to families with children in the Wiscasset School Department. Families can email their address and information on their needs to email@example.com.
Families in need may also write to Wiscasset GoFundMe, P.O. Box 617, Wiscasset, ME 04578. Contributions may also be sent to the address.
At press time, $1,530 had been raised.
The Nobleboro Fire Department is another of several organizations offering help.
According to the department’s Facebook page, it is trying to make a list of vulnerable people in town, such as those 70 years of age and older and those who are immunocompromised, as well as people with heart disease, diabetes, or lung disease. In addition, the fire department wants to know about people who have been instructed to self-quarantine.
The department will take names and addresses of those who meet any of these conditions to deliver supplies, such as food.
Anyone in need of assistance may contact the fire department at 563-2433. The fire department will staff the station from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day until the state of emergency is over.
In Whitefield, three stores – Country Corners, the North Whitefield Superette, and Sheepscot General – are teaming up with Whitefield Cares! to bring food to residents’ front steps.
People who can drive can call and arrange a time to pick up their order. However, those who are sick or at high risk can call one of the stores and receive delivery from a Whitefield Cares! volunteer.
Orders will be prepared for delivery at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on days when the stores are open.
Whitefield Cares! organizer and Whitefield Selectman Lise Hanners is coordinating delivery drivers, who leave boxes of items from the stores outside the front door of the recipient.
To place an order, call Country Corners at 549-3135, the North Whitefield Superette at 549-7921, or Sheepscot General at 549-5185 and pay with a credit card.
To volunteer as a driver, fill out the form at whitefieldcares.org.
Hannaford Supermarket, with locations in Boothbay Harbor, Damariscotta, and Waldoboro, is offering a time when only high-risk populations may shop.
Customers age 60 and up and those identified by the CDC as high-risk may shop from 6-7 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, according to an email from the supermarket chain.
“We are asking our local communities to help us ensure the integrity of this measure. Our goal in this effort is to limit occupancy in the stores during this time,” Hannaford Supermarket President Mike Vail said in the email.
In Alna, the town office has reduced its hours, but the food pantry based there is offering to arrange delivery based on families’ needs.
As of March 17, the pantry has a variety of produce, canned goods, and meat, as well as diapers, toilet paper, and dry dog food. Some items may be in limited supply.
Alna residents and the owners of the Alna General Store are working together under the name Alna Cares to help residents.
“Alna Cares is a small group of volunteers brought together by the owners of the Alna General Store to help the people of Alna who may be in quarantine or otherwise in need of assistance during the COVID-19 crisis,” Catharine Audette, who runs the Facebook page for Alna Cares, said.
Message the Facebook page to arrange grocery or medication delivery, as well as child care or animal care. The store owners and Alna Third Selectman Greg Shute are coordinating volunteers.
Students out of school have an opportunity to help their elderly neighbors during the state of emergency.
State Rep. Chloe Maxmin, D-Nobleboro, has set up a phone banking effort. Students can call senior citizens from home to ensure they have access to food, health care, and medications, among other needs.
The community service includes making calls, as well as running errands for those who need essential items.
To volunteer, go to tinyurl.com/wrddyv9.
A similar initiative is underway in Somerville, where the town is offering well-being checks on residents. To arrange a check-in or to volunteer, call the town office at 549-3828.
A more comprehensive effort is the county’s RUOK program, introduced by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office in February. The program offers daily welfare checks on anyone in need. To sign up, call 563-3200.
The Lincoln County News will continue to compile information about community resources. To submit information about available resources, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 563-3171.