Giving from one hand to another
LEWISTON – Claire Marquis had yarn to donate. Her daughter, Sara Marquis, was seeking warm mittens for the infants and toddlers in her Head Start program. Therese Fortier had years of experience in knitting mittens for the Catholic Charities Maine SEARCH program.

On a sunny winter day, their combined efforts resulted in a playground meeting where the children put on Fortier’s gift of 12 pairs of mittens.

Fortier was born in Canada and moved to Maine in 1955. While raising two daughters and a son, she hand sewed moccasins at home for 20 years.

She had to stop sewing because of pain in her hands, but after a couple of operations she was ready to use her creative gift again.

Fortier did not speak much English and wanted to help people from her home. A social worker suggested that she volunteer for the SEARCH program’s knitting project that supplies free yarn to knitters who make mittens, hats, scarves, slippers and lap robes for children and adults of all ages.

“I enjoy knitting as a pastime whether for 10 minutes or longer,” Fortier said, “I want to help little children and the elderly in nursing homes.”

SEARCH stands for Seek Elderly Alone, Renew Courage and Hope. Its mission is to enable frail, vulnerable elderly and those with disabilities to remain independent and in their own homes for as long as possible.

Financial donations from individuals, businesses and civic groups are welcome and may be sent to SEARCH, 15 Westminster St., Lewiston, ME 04240.

SEARCH is looking for persons of all ages and religious denominations who would like to be a telephone caller, visitor or part-time helper for an elderly person in Androscoggin County.

For more information about becoming a short-term or longer-term SEARCH volunteer or to refer someone as a client, call the program office at 784-0157.

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