NORWAY — The Norway Center for Health and Rehabilitation is paying it forward by organizing a “good deed” campaign to help local homeless teens.

Bonnie Iwans, who has served as director of admissions for the Norway Center for Health and Rehabilitation for the past three years, said that every December, the center attempts to give back to the community in some way.

“Last year, we gave back to the elderly community,” Iwans said. “This year, we started looking outside of the elderly community to find a group to help.”

She said that every year, the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School hosts the Christmas for Teens Benefit Concert, which assists low-income and homeless students over the age of 13.

In seeing the need, Iwans said the thought was, “Why not give back to local teens who are homeless, or at risk of being homeless?”

A planning committee was formed, Iwans said, including Jennifer Boutot, April Barker, Sarah Dailey, Michelle Worthley of Rumford Group Homes, Shannon Moxcey, Nikki Hartzog and Shauni Crosby.

Iwans said collection boxes will be set up at a variety of locations throughout the Oxford Hills area, including the Norway Center for Health and Rehabilitation, Norway Savings Bank, the Paris and Norway police departments, town offices in Norway, Paris and Oxford, Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services in South Paris and the Rumford Group Homes Family Shelter.

At each location, the collection boxes have a list of accepted items attached. The items include clothing, such as socks, hats, mittens, pajamas and vests.

Hartzog said they would also accept toiletry and luxury items, such as earbuds, TracFones, makeup, hygiene items, jewelry, gift certificates and backpacks.

“We’re accepting regular clothing items, but we’re also looking for unique things that we can put into a gift basket for homeless teens, or teens at risk of being homeless,” Hartzog said. “We want to provide items for the teens that they may not be able to get by themselves.”

Iwans said people can also make cash or check donations by contacting the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School.

The goal for the planning committee is to wrap up the collection of donations by Dec. 17, put them in gift bags Dec. 19, and give the gift bags to homeless teenagers on Dec. 21 at the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services office at 1 East Main St. in South Paris.

Iwans said the process has been successful, so far, enough to warrant the planning committee remaining intact while they figure out what to do next.

“The police departments said that they wanted (the committee) to go beyond December and look toward other groups who may need a good deed campaign,” Iwans said. “It’s been a good collaboration so far.”

Iwans also lauded Agren Appliance in Norway for providing the collection boxes.

For more information on the collection boxes or how to donate, contact Iwans at 207-595-3816, Boutot at 207-743-7075, Barker at 207-381-7146 or Moxcey at 207-595-8280.

[email protected]

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