SUN SPOTS: As part of Nurse’s Week we are hosting a Scrub Swap Sale for our nursing staff. We are looking for donations of lightly worn scrub tops and pants to be donated for this event. They can be dropped off to Ashley at Clover Health Care, 440 Minot Ave., Auburn anytime between now and Thursday, May 7. Thank you so much! — Ashley in Auburn.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: How does someone start a non-profit charity organization? My son has been home for eight months after 10 years in the army and he is having a disgusting time getting back into the civilian life. Doctor visits take three to six weeks before he can see anyone. He is 90-percent disabled with very little income.The Army has lost most of his information for his injuries and now 26 weeks of unemployment has run out. He has three children and he needs help.

I would like to start an organization to help soldiers return to civilian life. This organization would raise money to help soldiers get a down payment for a house and help them with doctor expenses. My son pays a co-pay which is very expensive when you visit six different doctors constantly. Thank you. — No name via online form.

ANSWER: There is no one answer that fits all situations but Sun Spots can give you a resource that may be able to answer your particular questions. The Maine Association of Nonprofits, 207-871-1885 or [email protected], offers this advice:

“With over 6,000 nonprofits in the state of Maine and over 1.5 million in the nation, starting a new nonprofit may not be the best solution to the problem you are seeking to solve. Increased competition for dwindling resources creates a very challenging environment in which to sustain a nonprofit organization, and talking to similar organizations about possible collaboration is often the best move you can make.”

Their checklist is for basic guidance. You would need to apply for reservation of the name you want to call the nonprofit, recruit board members (at least five), determine your organization’s vision and draft a mission statement, draft articles of incorporation and submit them to the Secretary of State, draft bylaws and get board approval, enact conflict of interest policy, get finances in order, develop a business plan and strategic plan, file for federal tax-exempt status with the IRS, check for sales tax exemption from the state, and comply with charitable solicitation rules.

DEAR SUN SPOTS: This is my first letter to Sun Spots — love this column. I was wondering if there is a place in the Oxford Hills area that accepts clothes to be given out free to people who need it. — Wondering in Oxford County.

ANSWER: The Hartford Community Clothing Center, located across the road from the church, is one place you can check. Donations of spring and summer clothing are being accepted during school hours for the Kids’ Closet at Mountain Valley High School. A rummage sale was held Saturday, April 11, at First Universalist Church, 36 Pine St. in Paris. You can check with the church to see if they have a clothes closet as Sun Spots knows several churches that operate clothes closets year round, but does not know which ones may do that in the Oxford Hills area. Also, not all clothing donations are given away for free; some are sold at yard sales. Maybe readers will write in and let us know where you can donate in the Oxford Hills area.

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