Contact: Craig DeForest, 581-1796; George Manlove, 581-3756
ORONO — The Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism at UMaine is holding its Fourth Annual “UMaine Cares” service event in Orono, Old Town and the Greater Bangor Area in celebration of National Make a Difference Day on Oct. 25.
UMaine Cares began in 2005 as an effort to raise funds for hurricane relief in the Gulf Coast area. Student groups and individuals volunteered to clean up the campus. For each volunteer participant, one dollar was donated. They also sold UMaine Cares bracelets to raise funds.
The program has now expanded, doubling in size from last year, and focuses on serving the needs of the surrounding communities. An estimated 150 students, representing almost 20 student groups, will be volunteering for half and full days with local organizations, with university faculty and staff members serving as team leaders.
Many of the participating community organizations have developed strong relationships with the Bodwell Center and UMaine students. Crossroads Resource Center, a food pantry serving hundreds of area families, is one such organization. Students, faculty, and staff provide ever-increasing support through student volunteer hours, donations, and an ongoing partnership. On Oct. 24-25, student volunteers will hold a food drive for Crossroads, in addition to taking donations for the Ronald McDonald House in Bangor.
Good Shepherd Food Bank, based in Auburn with a warehouse in Brewer, will host 30 students at an apple orchard in Fairfield to participate in a “gleaning party” on Saturday, Oct. 25. Students will spend the day picking apples, which Good Shepherd Food Bank will distribute to hundreds of pantries, kitchens and group homes throughout the state.
Other organizations welcoming student volunteers include: Bangor Area Homeless Shelter, Bangor Humane Society, Hands of Hope, Manna Ministries, the Orono Bog Walk, Salvation Army, Leonard’s Mills Logging Museum in Bradley, United Cerebral Palsy of Northeastern Maine, and the American Heart Association for its annual Heart Walk.
Community organizations interested in hosting student volunteers, or anyone who would like to be involved with UMaine Cares on Oct. 24 or Oct. 25, are encouraged to contact Craig DeForest at the Bodwell Center for Service and Volunteerism by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 581-1796.