AUBURN — The overwhelming support offered for a 95-year-old Auburn woman scammed of her life savings is amazing a former governor who is organizing a spaghetti supper fundraiser to help her out.

“The community has really come forward,” ex-Gov. John Baldacci said Thursday

Barbara Hinckley, who lost her life savings last summer to a con artist, said recently she has been stunned at all the people coming forward to assist her, especially Baldacci, who calls her regularly.

Former Gov. John Baldacci serves spaghetti at a fundraising dinner. Submitted photo

Momma Baldacci’s Spaghetti Supper to benefit Hinckley is slated for 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8, at Auburn Middle School, with a $5 price tag — or whatever people can give to try to make Hinckley financially whole.

“We’re trying to soften the blow” for her, Baldacci said. “We want people with hearty appetites who care about their community. Stealing from the elderly is not the Maine Way. Let’s turn something bad into something positive by showing the world our true Maine character.”

Baldacci said he is not sure the fundraiser will raise enough to cover everything Hinckley lost, but “we’re going to be able to make a sizable dent” in covering the money stolen from her.

“It restores your belief in people” to see such much willingness to help, he said.

Baldacci said at least 19 area businesses have stepped forward to lend a hand.

“Nobody says no, which is amazing,” he said.

In addition to serving up a good dinner, Baldacci has arranged to have experts from the Auburn Police Department, AARP and Legal Services for the Elderly talk to the dinner crowd about the dangers of scams and how to deal with them.

Barbara Hinckley sits in her Auburn home with paperwork from a months-long scam that promised her millions of dollars and a new Mercedes-Benz, but instead drained her life’s savings. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

“We’re trying to make it a teachable moment” as well as a chance for people to come together to benefit Hinckley.

In addition to the short speeches, the Central Maine Country Music Association will perform at the supper.

The dinner will be “a very good night, a very warm night and, hopefully, a very rewarding night,” Baldacci said.

Over the summer, Hinckley gave away more than $16,000 to a sweet-talking grifter who got her to send him all the money she had saved over decades by convincing her she would come in second place in a Publisher’s Clearinghouse contest, with a prize of $2.5 million and a Mercedes-Benz.

Anyone who wants to help Hinckley may send her a check through her church. It should be made payable to her and sent c/o The First Universalist Church of Auburn, 169 Pleasant St., Auburn, ME 04210. Be sure to write on the envelope that it is for Hinckley.

In addition, organizers said, anyone who would like to donate a service or an item to be bid on at the fundraiser is encouraged to do so.

Donors should bring items to the dinner or describe the service in writing. The written description should be put into an envelope and brought to the dinner or dropped off at the church office on Mondays or Fridays between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.


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