Community, Support, and Compassion in Maine
If you are reading this, I hope you are in the midst of a warm holiday season. I hope you haven’t had too much indigestion, and I hope your family isn’t driving you nuts. If you’re having a great holiday – good, this article is for you. And if you’re having a crappy holiday – well, this article is for you too.
Let’s take a moment and reflect on The Grinch. For those of you who are having a total blast this holiday, consider yourself representative of the sunny and optimistic community of Whoville. For those of you NOT feeling a single ounce of warm fuzziness this holiday season, and actually wish that you could erase that annoying rosiness from those bright Whoville cheeks – well…you’re probably feeling like that for a reason.
Do you remember what transformed the Grinch’s hardened heart? What helped extract him from his misery? It was the resilience, kindness, and compassion of his community. So, during this season, let us not disregard those who suffer, or who might not wear a smile on their face. Let us never overlook the fact that there are some of us out there, struggling daily due to a lack of basic resources. Basic resources – like food, housing, healthcare, and community. There are also those who are forced, daily, to deal with systemic injustices that involve race, sexuality, gender, class, and ability. It is important that every community across the country, such as Maine have access to healthcare, especially children. Sometimes it’s not that easy to visit a doctor’s office as situations may mean that you are unable to make it there. That’s why it is important to support programs like The Doctor Spot who is a mobile pediatric clinic. This could help save the lives of thousands of children if they receive enough support. You can learn more about how to donate at lifesaversfoundation.org to help make a difference.
The following is a list of resources in Maine, for everyone. There are lots of really cool organizations in Maine looking to extend a hand to those in need, or to those searching for community. Some provide a service for a small donation through online giving, and most don’t charge a dime. So, bookmark this page and get to know this list. I’ve included blurbs about the organizations from the websites themselves.
If you know of an organization or group that is not listed, please share in the comment section below and I will happily add it to the list.
Drum roll please. Kind People of Maine – here is a list of inclusive, awesome, affordable (and in most cases, FREE) resources for all people.
We have all known the long loneliness, and we have found that the answer is community. ~Dorothy Day
Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. Martin Luther King Jr.
A GUIDE TO RESOURCES IN MAINE
Free Acupuncture for Veterans, Portland: A group of licensed acupuncturists in Portland are providing a free acupuncture clinic to veterans of military service suffering from combat fatigue and other associated health issues. This free, weekly clinic is also available to family members of veterans who desire the healing benefits of acupuncture. The clinic is held every Tuesday night from 6-8 pm in the meeting room of the Congregation Shaarey Tphiloh Synagogue at 76 Noyes Street, Portland, Maine. To allow for maximum relaxation and security during the treatment session, all participants need to be seated by 6:30 pm.
Free Acupuncture for Veterans, Bangor: Bangor Vets Acupuncture Clinic is an acupuncture clinic open to veterans of any war, active duty military, and their family members, to alleviate physical and emotional stress. BVAC services are free. Donations towards the running of the clinic are accepted but not expected. BVAC is held Thursdays, at Grace United Methodist Church, 193 Union Street, Bangor, ME. Doors open by 6:45 (please be signed in and seated by 7:00).
Free Acupuncture for Veterans, Augusta: We are Maine-licensed acupuncturists who volunteer our time as a way to recognize, honor and give back to our military service men and women and their families. Acupuncture clinic is open every Tuesday evening. Doors open at 6:00 (please be signed in and seated by 6:15). Located at 9 Green Street Augusta, ME
Free Acupuncture for Veterans, Brunswick: Welcoming all veterans, active duty personnel, and their families for Free Weekly Acupuncture! Following in the footsteps of Portland, Bangor, Augusta, and many others nationwide, we model our clinic from Acupuncturists Without Border’s Military Stress Recovery Project. Free acupuncture clinic is Wednesdays 6:00 p.m.-7:15 p.m. Doors open 5:45, please be seated by 6. Located at 62 Pegasus Street, Suite 101, Brunswick, ME 04011
Yogave: We know how tough this economy has become for many. Most of us need yoga in our lives more than ever. By providing donation only classes we want to offer the yoga experience to everyone, so pay as you can. Our goal is to open up yoga to all, even those with less fortune then others without the stress of large fees for a class. We want to be able to expand and create more opportunity for everyone.
DoYogaWithMe.Com: Okay, this isn’t necessarily local to the state, but I’ve included it for those stuck inside their homes during a brutal Maine winter or for those that can’t afford classes at their local studios. It’s truly an amazing resource. From the website: DoYogaWithMe.com is a free, constantly expanding resource of online yoga videos created by a passionate group of experienced instructors. Our yoga videos include classes, poses, breathing techniques and anatomy videos. Every one of our hundreds of HD videos can be viewed in its entirety without payment. You don’t even have to sign up.
Mom To Mom Of Maine : Mom to Mom is a group of over 200 Southern Maine moms with many different parenting perspectives, backgrounds and lifestyles who have joined together to establish an amazing support network. Part of what makes our group so special is that we are constantly learning from each other, cheering each other on and inspiring each other to do our best each day.
Birth Roots: The Birth Roots model is non-clinical, community based education and support throughout pregnancy and the first year of parenting. Our programs and events build community, encourage instincts and intuition, address social, emotional and non-clinical needs and promote our philosophy of“Community Supported Parenting.” Birth Roots is a 501(c3) non-profit organization devoted to removing obstacles to perinatal health by offering continuous support through pregnancy and postpartum in a community setting.
The Center for Grieving Children: Offering our services for free, for as long as people need them, the Center’s mission is to provide loving support that encourages the safe expression of grief and loss and fosters each individual’s resilience and emotional well-being. The Center reaches individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds, and relies on financial contributions from individuals, businesses, foundations, United Way, and special events. The Center is a 501(c) 3 organization.
Equality Maine: EqualityMaine works to secure full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Maine through political action, community organizing, education, and collaboration.
MaineTransNet: Maine Transgender Network, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides support and resources for the transgender community, families, and significant others, and raises awareness about the varied forms of gender identity and expression by providing training and consultation for mental health and social service professionals.
USM’s Center for Sexualities and Gender Diversity: The University of Southern Maine’s Center for Sexualities and Gender Diversity seeks to ensure a university environment that is positive, safe and supportive for individuals of all sexual orientations and gender identities, in particular members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning and Allied (LGBTQA) community.
Access Maine: This website was developed to assist Mainers with disabilities, their families, and providers. Includes everything from community gatherings of like-minded people, to support groups, to accessing information about services and care.
Black Girl in Maine: I started this site in 2008 as a way to blow off steam and frankly to connect with any other people of color who are in Maine or other Northern New England states, whether by choice or by unforeseen circumstances.
DownEast Community Acupuncture: We are a community acupuncture clinic located on Verona Island, between the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Bucksport. We offer treatments in comfortable recliners in a large room, providing personal attention, while also healing as a group. The community model allows for frequent and affordable visits, leading to fast and improved results. Acupuncture treatments are offered on a sliding scale ranging from $15-$35 per treatment. No income verification required. No questions asked. You decide what you can afford.
Maine Center for Acupuncture: Maine Center for Acupuncture was created to provide safe, effective, and affordable acupuncture treatments to families, friends and neighbors in the Greater Portland area. MCA is a place of learning, rest and healing. It is a sustainable community-based clinic that exists only because people pay for their treatments individually and spread the word to others.
Wildwood Community Acupuncture: A community acupuncture clinic is a place where you can get affordable acupuncture in a group setting. The clinic is a quiet, safe space in which multiple recliners are set up in small groups. All treatments are $30.
Androscoggin Community Acupuncture : 95 Park St, 2nd floor, in Lewiston. First appointment: $30-$50;
Follow up appointments: $20-$40 (You decide what you pay). Please call 207-939-1293 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.
Peninsula Free Health: Peninsula Free Health provides health services for those who have no medical insurance and cannot afford private medical care. We are a group of volunteers who are committed to making sure that everyone in our region can receive high quality, affordable healthcare. To begin, we are offering free services on Monday afternoons at the Blue Hill Congregational Church. We welcome suggestions and input as we grow and strive to meet the needs in our community.
Community Clinical Services: CCS provides quality medical, behavioral and dental services to people in Lewiston/Auburn and surrounding areas regardless of ability to pay. CCS is the federally qualified health center serving Lewiston, Auburn, Durham, Sabattus, Wales, Lisbon, Lisbon Falls, Poland, Minot, Mechanic Falls and New Gloucester. We serve and welcome children, teens, adult and elders from locations outside our towns, too.
Portland Osteopathic Children’s Clinic: Portland Osteopathic Children’s Clinic is a non-profit health care facility designed to provide free osteopathic manipulative medicine to uninsured and under-insured children.The founders are osteopathic physicians who are currently health care providers in the greater Portland area. They wish to ease the burden of parents who struggle with rising health care costs by providing free osteopathic specialty care.The clinic is currently held on Fridays at the Center for Grieving Children, 555 Forest Avenue, Portland, Maine (www.cgcmaine.org).
2-1-1 Maine : 2-1-1 Maine is a comprehensive statewide directory of over 8,000 health and human services available in Maine. The toll free 2-1-1 hotline connects callers to trained call specialists who can help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Finding the answers to health and human services questions and locating resources is as quick and easy as dialing 2-1-1 or visiting www.211maine.org
Maine Consumers for Affordable Health Care: The purpose of the Guide to Navigating Maine’s Health Care System is to offer a basic overview of health care in Maine – what programs are out there and who they serve. Includes resources for Dental/Children/Pregnant Women/Mental Health/Immigrants/Hospital FreeCare Guildelines/etc. Find sliding scale clinics in your area here. Find free clinics in your area here.
City of Portland Public Health Division: the next 5 services falls under the Public Health Division of Portland, Maine. If you want all the information in regards to Public Health in Portland, simply click on this link.
Family Health: Includes resources for School-Based Health Centers, Maternal & Child Health, Children’s Oral Health, and Family Violence Prevention.
India St Public Health Center: At the India Street Public Health Center we help Portland residents reduce health risks, prevent HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, and manage existing health conditions. Includes the Portland Community Free Clinic, located at 103 India Street, which provides primary care to uninsured, low-income adults living in Cumberland County, Maine. All services at the PCFC are provided at no charge. Also includes Positive Health Care, which is comprehensive primary care services to individuals living with HIV/AIDS, including HIV/AIDS treatment, psychiatric services, case management, adherence counseling, substance abuse counseling, risk reduction education, HIV testing, and an after hours call service. No one is denied treatment because of an inability to pay.
Portland Community Health Center: Portland Community Health Center’s mission is to provide high quality patient centered healthcare that is accessible, affordable, and culturally sensitive.
Catholic Charities Refugee and Immigration Services: Many of the refugees who have been resettled in Maine in recent years have fled from war or genocide in their home countries, including Somalia, Sudan, and Iraq. They sought safety in neighboring countries and refugee status through the United Nations before they were placed in refugee camps to await resettlement in another country. Many of them have been waiting years, and in some cases decades, to be resettled. Throughout the state, although concentrated in Portland, RIS is contracted to provide primary refugees with initial resettlement (30-90 days post U.S. arrival) and limited ongoing case management and employment services (up to 60 months from U.S. arrival).
Minority Health Program: The Minority Health Program (MHP) addresses the health issues and needs of all minority communities in Cumberland County. MHP links people to needed health and social services and improves community health status through Community Health Outreach Workers (CHOWs) and clinical partnerships.
American Civil Liberties Union of Maine: The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine is the state’s guardian of liberty. We are active in the courts, the legislature and the public sphere to defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights for all Mainers. Our priority issues include criminal justice reform, freedom of speech and religion, immigrants’ rights, LGBT rights, privacy, racial justice, reproductive freedom, voting rights, and women’s rights.
Immigrant Legal Advocacy Program: The Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project helps low-income immigrants improve their legal status and works for more just and humane laws and policies affecting immigrants. The program aims to help immigrants make sense of the immigration process and can provide information relating to immigration forms such as form i-130 for example. Get in touch if you need help and support relating to immigration in the US.
Elder Advocates: Linda Weare, LSW, is the City of Portland’s Elder Advocate. She is available to assist senior citizens and their families: sort out problems, answer questions, and advocate for rights. Linda’s role has two parts. First, she provides easy access to information about a variety of services available to seniors in the Portland area. Second, she provides support to health and social service providers so that their services are easily accessible to senior citizens.
Maine Legal Services for the Elderly: Legal Services for the Elderly began serving clients in 1974 and now has offices in five locations, Augusta, Bangor, Lewiston, Presque Isle and Scarborough. LSE provides persons age 60 and over with free legal advice regarding health care, health insurance, Medicare (including Part D), MaineCare (Medicaid), Social Security and other public benefits, pension and retirement benefits, powers of attorney, consumer matters including creditor and bankruptcy problems, physical and financial abuse, guardianship defense and other issues.
Safe Voices: The Mission of Safe Voices is to support and empower those affected by Domestic Violence and engage the community in creating social change in Androscoggin, Oxford and Franklin Counties. Safe Voices does not discriminate on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, age, or physical or mental ability.
Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence: Our mission is to create and encourage a social, political, and economic environment in which domestic violence no longer exists, and to ensure that all people affected by domestic abuse and violence are supported and that batterers are held accountable. MCEDV mobilizes and coordinates community action through a statewide network of domestic violence projects. Through these partnerships, we focus our resources on public policy, education, and systems advocacy.
Maine Women’s Lobby: I was unsure whether to include this one, since they don’t offer a “direct service”…but because of their advocacy on a state level, I decided, that they did, indeed, offer services that are essential to the health and well-being of Maine women. So here is the mission of the MWL – you could always get involved if you’re interested! For more than 30 years, the Maine Women’s Lobby has been working to increase opportunities – through education and advocacy – on behalf of women and girls. Our goal is to ensure that women and girls in Maine can lead healthy and productive lives free from violence and discrimination. We bring the voice of Maine women through public policy development, education, and advocacy focused on four core issues: economic security, health care and reproductive rights, civil rights, and freedom from violence.
Disability Rights Maine: This is the state Protection and Advocacy agency. It provides free advocacy services for people with disabilities about legal issues related to assistive technology, employment, health care, housing, special education, voting and working while receiving disability benefits. Also investigates reports of abuse or neglect. Alongside that, you may also decide to research the disability insurance cost to see if getting any further insurance can benefit you as well, as you may never know when you might need it.
Good Shepherd Food Bank: The mission of Good Shepherd Food Bank is to provide food for those at risk of hunger by soliciting surplus food and distributing it to nonprofit programs throughout Maine. This link goes directly to their food map – just type in your zip and find resources near you.
UMaine’s Cooperative Extension: Maine Harvest For Hunger: A way to get involved, on a smaller level, to help feed the hungry (even if you don’t do more than maintain a summer/fall garden). Since 2000, hundreds of volunteers have donated more than 600 tons of fresh produce to hungry Mainers through UMaine Extension’s Harvest for Hunger program. We need your help! Home gardeners, farmers, employers, civic organizations, schools, and volunteers – you can help feed hungry Mainers.
Preble Street Maine Hunger Initiative: Preble Street is a great organization to support. They do so much more than the Maine Hunger Intiative; their mission is to provide accessible barrier-free services to empower people experiencing problems with homelessness, housing, hunger, and poverty; and to advocate for solutions to these problems.
Community Supported Agriculture in Maine: With over 180 farms and 6,900+ shares, Maine’s CSA community is transforming relationships with food and farms. There is no formula to a CSA. Each is unique as the community supporting it. The bottom line is that people make commitments to farms, and in return farmers make commitments to produce for their members the freshest, most flavorful, highest quality food possible.
Cultivating Community: Founded in 2001, Cultivating Community creates and sustains greater access to healthy, local foods; empowers people to play many roles in restoring the local, sustainable food system; and models, teaches, and advocates for ecological food production.
Maine Farmer’s Markets that Accept EBT Cards: It is simple to use your SNAP funds at farmers’ markets! Most markets process EBT payments just like credit cards, and have a clearly marked table (often called the information booth) where you can pay for purchases and ask questions. Many farmers’ markets offer special discounts to SNAP customers (up to 50% off SNAP-eligible purchases). At some markets EBT and credit/debit card customers are given tokens to use for their shopping. Others give customers a list of the market vendors to keep track of purchases and pay at the end. Either way, it’s a simple and discreet process, and you’ll take home fresh, wholesome food for your family! These are the farmers’ markets currently accepting EBT payments.
Thanks for reading! Remember, if I missed something, please leave the information in the comment section below.