FARMINGTON — An evening of cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, a bonfire and music at Titcomb Mountain this week will benefit Franklin County’s first homeless shelter.

Family Fun Night takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 14.

For a donation of $10 per person or $25 for a family, skiers and snowshoers can enjoy the trails and warm up by the fire in the lodge, organizer Briana Noles said.

People may roast marshmallows at the outside bonfire if they bring roasting sticks. Participants can also enjoy listening to the music of Turner Templeton in the lodge, she said.

“It’s a family night with games included,” she said.

Noles is one of several volunteers for Western Maine Homeless Outreach. She and community members and groups organized the fundraiser for the shelter.  

The shelter opened in November in a space at the Living Waters Assembly of God Church on the Wilton Road.

“While the number of homeless is hard to determine,” she said, “we do know there is a waiting list for the shelter.”

Noles has been working with WMHO board member Chuck Ellis on the fundraiser.

There is a large group of community volunteers involved, Rachel Jackson Hodsdon, president of the executive board, previously said. 

When homeless people appeared on Farmington streets last spring carrying signs, a group of people, churches and agencies acted. Providing a night in a motel was only a Band-Aid approach to the problem, Pastor Susan Crane recently said.

The group was aided and encouraged by Betty Palmer of Phillips, director of the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter in Waterville.

“No one expects to be homeless,” Palmer said in a video message shown in January, “but 8,000 people in Maine will be homeless this year.” That doesn’t include the ones not counted, such as those staying with families or “couch-surfing” from friend to friend, she said.

There are fewer than 1,000 shelter beds available in the state.

When Noles started the fundraising project, she intended for the funds to help purchase a sprinkler system. Plans for it are under consideration, she said.

The money raised will be used for housing and helping families and children until they can pull their lives together.

Donations may be sent to Western Maine Homeless Outreach, 547 Wilton Road, Farmington, ME 04938.

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