LEWISTON – Turner resident Anne Labranche sees to it that scores of elderly people are remembered on their birthday.

Since October 2000, she has prepared and mailed a personal birthday card to every client of the Catholic Charities Maine SEARCH program. “For some clients, it is the only birthday card they receive and they often send a thank-you card for the birthday card,” said program director Phoebe Lowell.

Every month, Labranche sits down on a Saturday evening in her Turner home and prepares a month’s worth of birthday cards. “It is satisfying knowing that people are happier because someone has remembered their special day,” she said.

She and her husband, Dick, are lifelong residents of Maine and have two daughters. Anne, a nine-year survivor of breast cancer, is a 20-year employee of Liberty Mutual where she is active in United Way campaign activities. It was on a visit to the SEARCH program as a United Way volunteer that Labranche realized she could do something to brighten an elderly person’s day. Thus began her birthday card project.

“We are so appreciative of Anne’s long-time and faithful volunteerism with our program,” said Lowell. “For most of the past four years, Anne has even supplied the cards and postage at her own expense, but we are sharing that cost now,” she concluded.

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 encouraged and may be sent to SEARCH, 15 Westminster St., Lewiston, ME 04240.

SEARCH is looking for interested persons of all ages and religious denominations who would like to be a friendly 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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