UNE Donates $2,500 Worth of Feminine Pads
On April 26, 2023, four graduate students from UNE (University of New England) delivered $2,500 worth of feminine pads to St. Elizabeth’s Essentials Pantry! This donation was the culmination of a Reproductive Health community service project. Several other students were on this team and they were all from Nursing, Social Work, and the Medical degree programs. The students applied for and received a generous monetary grant from the University which was supplemented by other donors to reach the $2,500. The students then shopped for the feminine pads making 11 different trips to Walmart and bundled some of the pads so they are ready for distribution this Tuesday.
The team also partnered with Z Fabrics which sewed cloth rice bags which were donated. After heating one in the microwave, the bag is placed on the abdomen to help relieve menstrual cramps.
We are so grateful for these donations which help improve reproductive health for impoverished women, and we enjoyed the chance to meet with some of the students who had the passion to complete this amazing project in less than 2 months. We hope to partner with UNE again in the future!
Earthbreeze has accepted St. E’s as an Outreach Partner
Earthbreeze Eco Sheets has accepted St. E’s as an Outreach Partner through their “Buy One, Give Ten Program”. The Oregon based company has committed to supporting St. E’s by donating enough laundry sheets to do 18,000+ loads of laundry annually. This is a huge bonus as we see our numbers go up each week along with the cost of the purchased items of diapers, toilet paper, etc.
According to their website, “The creation of our Buy One, Give Ten Program which was launched in Nov 2020 was inspired by our common desire to make a difference. With this program, you choose where you want your contribution to go. Each purchase of Earth Breeze Eco Sheets allows us to donate 10 loads of laundry detergent and each purchase of Earth Breeze dishwasher Power Pebbles of Earth Breeze Hope Cloths donates 10 meals to those in need on your behalf.”
We welcome Earthbreeze as one of our Community Partners.
St. Elizabeth’s Receives Grant to Provide Period Products
The Episcopal Diocese of Maine has received a $7,500 grant from the Maine Community Foundation to be used by St. Elizabeth’s Pantry to purchase period products for distribution to our neighbors. St. E’s is very grateful to the Foundation for this award.
Period poverty is defined as having insufficient means of menstrual products and period hygiene education. It is estimated that the average person with a cycle spends $6,360 in their lifetime on menstrual products! Period stigma and financial barriers can make accessing period products difficult. This grant will enable the addition of a reliable supply of period products to our list of regularly offered items.
Celebrating our 20th Anniversary
The 20th Anniversary Event held via Zoom on October 27, 2021 on began with a prayer given by Deacon Kris Conley. Memories were shared of three devoted volunteers who passed away recently: Deacon Richard Rasner, former Executive Director, Gretchen Lane and John Hughes.
An early contributor to the St. E’s project team, The Rev. Peter Swarr joined us to describe how St. Elizabeth’s Essentials Pantry was started in a windowless basement across from Preble Street Resource Center in 2001. Some of those involved in the planning and operations shared memories of those early days. St. Elizabeth’s Pantry had three different locations before moving to St. Luke’s Cathedral in Portland, our home since 2007. St. Luke’s has provided steady leadership and has been a gracious host ever since.
As our organization grew and matured, St. Elizabeth’s was honored to become a Jubilee Center, a special designation in the Episcopal Church nationwide. The Very Rev. Benjamin Shambaugh was on hand to explain how that honor came about. The Rt. Rev. Thomas Brown described the increasing importance Jubilee Centers will have in the future in Maine.
Executive Director Sarah Coburn Borgeson and Board Chair Anne Jacobs closed by saying that they are grateful every day for our amazing volunteers. Volunteers are at the heart of everything we do as we strive to serve all who come to our Pantry every Tuesday with a warm welcome. The Pantry has been open all but three months of the Pandemic, and we could not do that without our dedicated and faithful volunteers.
The closing prayer was given by The Rev. Holly Hoffman.
At the event we remembered —
We are delighted to welcome our new Executive Director, Sarah Coburn Borgeson!
Sarah comes to St. Elizabeth’s with over 25 years of leadership experience in non-profit human services organizations in the Boston area. Her primary focus has been on hunger relief strategies and activities for low income populations in both urban and suburban settings. She has extensive experience in building and strengthening community and congregational relationships, working with diverse populations and volunteer management.
Sarah holds a B.A. degree from Boston University and a Master of Social Work degree from Case Western Reserve University.
St. Brigid’s and Maine Needs Prepares Cleaning Kits for St. E’s Distribution
St. Elizabeth’s was excited to receive 110 cleaning kits from Maine Needs containing items that were donated, collected and assembled by St. Brigid’s school in Portland. Laundry detergent, a wide range of toiletries, and a variety of cleansing products made up the kits.
Based in Portland, Maine Needs strives to help individuals and families in Maine meet their basic material needs by providing donated clothing, hygiene products, household items, and other necessities. For more information or to discover ways you can help with their mission, visit www.maineneeds.org.
Kneeler Honoring the Rev. Dick Rasner
On November 22, 2020, the Dean of The Cathedral Church of St. Luke, the Very Rev. Dr. Ben Shambaugh blessed kneelers recently created by members of the congregation. This kneeler was created in memory of Rev. Dick Rasner who was the Executive Director of the Pantry for many years. We are honored and grateful for the amazing and vibrant kneeler! The hand stitched kneelers found throughout the Nave of the Cathedral take more than 57,000 individual stitches, 300 square yards of stitching material and a third of a mile of wool. Creating each kneeler takes about two years of work. The Cathedral welcomes all to visit, and you’ll see kneelers representing all the Episcopal churches and Ministries of the Diocese of Maine.
Creating our Banner with ARRT!
ARRT! along with Rev. Holly Hoffman, St. E’s former Executive Director took a Sunday afternoon to create the banner used on our home page. ARRT! (Artists Rapid Response Team) collaborates with 60+ non-profit, progressive groups to promote social changes in Maine. This collective of approximately twelve artists meets monthly to create issue-oriented, socially engage banners and props. Check out their website for more information at https://www.arrteam.org/