PHILLIPS — A free community meal planned for Martin Luther King Day is the service project for which two local groups received a Maine Commission for Community Service award.

Sandy River Land Trust and High Peaks Alliance were one of 16 schools and organizations awarded $450 to develop a community volunteer service project in celebration of Martin Luther King Day, said Betsy Squibb.

The free meal for community members will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. on Jan. 18 at the Avon Community Building, said Kirsten Brown Burbank.

The meal is just a part of a larger project that includes an AmeriCorps position for the upcoming year. Former resident, Ben Godsoe, will return to the area to take the position, said Burbank.

“We’re bringing one of our own home to serve in our community,” she added.

During the meal the two organizations will provide information about a local project, The Fly Rod Crosby Footpath, that will be the focus of Godsoe’s work in the coming year, she said.

The organizations are concerned with stewardship of the land and preserving and creating trail and public use of land in a special area of western Maine, she said. An effort to recognize the opportunities of the area in regards to trails and recreation.

“It’s not just about skiing … it’s a special place. There’s a lot of opportunity,” she said of the effort.

The proposed footpath will begin in Strong where Cornelia “Fly Rod” Crosby is buried, go through Phillips where she lived, to Rangeley where she worked and on to Oquossoc where she helped build a chapel, ending near the Outdoor Sporting Heritage Museum, according to a High Peak’s Alliance website.

Crosby endorsed outdoor activities in Maine through her writing and hunting experiences. She died in 1946.

Squibb has secured three grants in six months to help with the project, including the AmeriCorps position.

“The project is gaining momentum,” Burbank said. “It’s a unique project — one that Godsoe can make whatever he dreams it to be.”

He’ll be working on connecting the dots through GPS mapping, working with landowners, conservation and researching Crosby, she said.

“It’s building outdoor recreation/ecotourism for this area as people experience the path she once walked. It’s a part of our history and culture,” she said.

This is the first AmeriCorps position in the Salem, Phillips, Avon, Madrid area since 1999 when Burbank herself served on a project working with rural youth. For her work, she earned an award that provided funding to help her earn her Masters degree. Godsoe will likewise earn an education award, she said.

Along with sharing information and offering a free meal to the community, the groups along with the senior class at Mt. Abram High School are asking participants to bring a non-perishable food item to the meal for local food banks, Burbank said. More information about the meal will be released as the date draws closer.

The groups, as hosts for Godsoe’s AmeriCorps position, will continue to raise awareness and fund raise, she said.

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