AUBURN – Organizers are expecting a big crowd for Wednesday’s fundraising dinner to help an elderly Auburn woman recoup some of the financial loss she suffered from a scam last summer.

Momma Baldacci’s Spaghetti Supper to benefit Hinckley is slated for 5 p.m. at Auburn Middle School. It carries a $5 price tag — or whatever people can give to assist the woman who lost her life savings, Barbara Hinckley.

Barbara Hinckley stands beside the piano she loves to play in her small home in Auburn. Steve Collins

Former Gov. John Baldacci, who put the dinner together, said Tuesday that he’s looking forward to it.

“I used to run a kitchen,” he said, “so it allows me to get back to my roots.”

Baldacci said a lot of people have volunteered to lend a hand, including 20 players from the Maine Nordiques who are going to help serve the food.

Experts from the state, the AARP and the police are slated to speak about financial scams that target the elderly, but they won’t be too long winded, Baldacci promised.


There will also be tables with information to try to keep others from falling victim the way Hinckley did when a caller pretending to be from Publisher’s Clearing House kept phoning her with one excuse after another about why she needed to send him money.

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

Organizers hope as many as 300 people will show up for the dinner. Among those expected to attend are Gov. Janet Mills and Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque.

“I am grateful to former Gov. Baldacci for organizing this dinner,” Mills said Tuesday. “It represents the very best of Maine people: kind, thoughtful, and generous. And it shows, true to our character, that when one of our neighbors is down, Maine people will always help lift them up. This is exactly why I love our state.”

Hinckley said that Baldacci has been terrific, talking with her regularly and keeping her in the loop about what’s happening as he recruited assistance.

“It’s been a labor of love,” Baldacci said, “a nice way to do good things” during the holiday season.

The ex-governor said almost everyone he’s spoke with has stepped up to the plate.


“People have been very emotionally attached to this,” Baldacci said, caught up in the story that Hinckley told in November in the hope that others would avoid her fate.

Baldacci said she was brave to come forward because so few ever do despite “a lot of this going on in Maine.”

Donations can be given at the door to the dinner, where tickets will also be available.

Anyone who can’t make it to the dinner is welcome to send Hinckley a check in care of The First Universalist Church of Auburn, 169 Pleasant St., Auburn, ME 04210. Just write on the envelope that it’s for Hinckley, a longtime member of the church.

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