LEWISTON – Nearly 40 guests attended the Seek Elderly Alone, Renew Courage and Hope Spring Fling recently at Holy Cross Church to celebrate 30 years of volunteer service for the program.

SEARCH is a non-denominational program in Androscoggin County that promotes independent living for elderly and disabled people in Maine. The SEARCH program was the vision of Sr. Marguerite O’Connor, who served as an inspiration to those wanting to help others.

Catholic Charities Maine Chief Executive Officer John Kerry said the mission of SEARCH is to enable the frail, vulnerable, elderly and those with disabilities to remain independent and in their own homes for as long as possible.

“Our volunteers make this mission possible,” he said. “They are the last hope for a lot of people. They are the hands and heart of Catholic Charities Maine and the Church.”

Larry Lachance serves as chairman of the SEARCH Advisory Committee and is a 27- year volunteer with the program. He said he is glad that the program has overcome its challenges.

“There were some tough times with the budget, and we weren’t sure that the program would be here 30 years later,” he said. “But thanks to many long-time and new volunteers, such as 11-year-old Kyle Snyder from Greene, and the leadership staff, the SEARCH program today celebrates its mission and looks forward to the next 30 years.”

Since 1966, Catholic Charities Maine has dedicated itself to creating, administering and advocating for programs and services that reach out and meet the critical human service needs to people of all faiths and beliefs. Last year Catholic Charities Maine provided services to more than 35,000 individuals in Maine.

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