Vigil to raise awareness of homeless on Monday

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LEWISTON — The Lewiston/Auburn Alliance for Services to the Homeless and New Beginnings will hold the annual candlelight vigil to remember homeless people during the holiday season from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 22.

The public is invited to participate.

For more than 12 years, LAASH and New Beginnings have held the vigil as part of a national movement of cities marking National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day on or near the winter solstice, the first day of winter and the longest night of the year.

Supporters will meet at 4:30 p.m. in the courtyard of Trinity Jubilee Center at Trinity Episcopal Church. The courtyard entrance is on Spruce Street near the corner of Bates Street.

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Vigil participants are invited to bring nonperishable and canned food, which will be collected at Trinity.

After a few words and lighting of candles, vigil participants will walk several blocks down Bates Street to Main Street. The procession will turn right on Main Street and continue up Sabattus Street and stop in front of Calvary United Methodist Church in the triangle between Sabattus, College and Bartlett streets.

Vigil participants are encouraged to bring signs to hold as the vigil remains in front of Calvary to raise awareness of homelessness to passers-by during the evening commute.

Participants are invited to join the vigil at any point, and groups from businesses and service providers near the route are especially encouraged to join as the vigil passes.

Hot soup provided by St. Mary’s Nutrition Center and bread donated by Forage Market will be available indoors at Calvary.

New Beginnings will provide van service back to Jubilee or the Park Street garage, as needed.

The route is near local services for low-income and homeless people in downtown Lewiston, including New Beginnings on Lisbon Street, Trinity Jubilee Center and the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, both on Bates Street, the Center for Wisdom’s Women on Blake Street and the City Mission group at Calvary Church.

For more information about LAASH, which is a collaborative of organizations that serve local low-income and homeless people, contact Chairwoman Janice Lara-Hewey at jlarahewey@ccmaine.org.

For more information about New Beginnings, which offers outreach programs to teens and youth in Androscoggin, Kennebec and Franklin counties, go to newbeginmaine.org or call 207-795-4077.

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