I have lived in Maine all my life. As a Mainer, I have been both a recipient and a provider of the generosity of Maine people. When my mother,  a single parent, was temporarily disabled from a workplace injury, the neighbors lined up to ensure that we had casseroles to eat.

In Maine, we help our neighbors stack their wood. We stop when there is a disabled vehicle to ask if help is needed. We have bean suppers for community members who have cancer. We bring food and clothing to those who have suffered loss.

Immigrants are our neighbors in need. The services provided to indigent Mainers should be extended to new Mainers and those who desire to be new Mainers. Helping others is a Maine tradition.

Seven years ago, I had the pleasure of welcoming two young women seeking asylum from Afghanistan to our community. In Afghanistan, they would have been subject to a forced marriage arranged by their brother without their consent.

They were lucky to receive excellent legal services and gained asylum in the United States. They chafed at reliance on the generosity of others and were elated to receive their green cards. Able to find employment, they went on to work their way through college and will soon achieve degrees in accounting and statistics. They will add much to the community.

I hope others will join me in support of LD 1317 —  An Act To Restore Services To Help Certain Noncitizens Meet Their Basic Needs. 

Jan Collins, Wilton