Unity College student Margaret Dean, right, works on assembling window inserts Saturday afternoon at St. Mary’s Nutrition Center in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — The Maine Partnership for Environmental Stewardship, an AmeriCorps program, partnered Saturday and Sunday with a Rockland-based nonprofit organization for the second consecutive year to build and install window insulating inserts for low-income families in the Lewiston-Auburn area.

Bates College student Grace Ellrodt drives a screw into the framework for a window insert Saturday afternoon at St. Mary’s Nutrition Center in Lewiston where she was volunteering with the Maine Partnership for Environmental Stewardship, an AmeriCorps program. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Paige Dahlke, an energy efficiency coordinator with the Maine Partnership for Environmental Stewardship, said the organization for the past two years has partnered with WindowDressers and Efficiency Maine to provide window inserts.

She said the inserts help reduce a household’s energy costs by about 30%.

This year, the Maine Partnership for Environmental Stewardship, working inside St. Mary’s Nutrition Center at 208 Bates St., constructed 155 window inserts for 24 households.

“That’s just what we did here in Lewiston,” said Dahlke, adding there are five additional sites across Maine where window inserts are being assembled.

Dahlke said she and other volunteers enter the homes of those who will receive the inserts and measure their window frames.

Once the measurements are gathered, they are sent to WindowDressers.

After receiving window inserts, Heather Ouellette, right and Anna Guest of Lisbon Falls volunteered to help build some this year. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

According to the nonprofit’s website, the measurements are punched into a database. After that, the inserts are cut, wrapped in clear polyolefin film and finished with a compressible foam gasket that helps stop drafts from entering the house.

Dahlke said some of the volunteers are Bates students, while others received window inserts from the group last year and decided to return this year to pay it forward.

Dana Baer, a retired engineer from Brunswick and a board member of WindowDressers, said he has been volunteering with Window Dressers for five years and was helping Dahlke and the other volunteers Saturday.

“Paige is the boss this weekend, and I’m basically here to help and mentor,” Baer said.

Baer said that he finds the window building to be a “great way to come together and do something good for the community.”

“Everyone who volunteers here has their own reasons for helping out,” Baer said. “Some people are in it to help the environment. Some are in it to help the community out any way that they can. I know others who are in it for the social aspect.”

Baer said of the 8,000 inserts that WindowDressers creates every year, “about 35% of them are donated to low-income families.”

“That’s why it’s nice to partner with Paige and the AmeriCorps program,” Baer said. “The AmeriCorps group does an amazing job finding families who need these inserts.”

Dahlke said the window building will continue through Wednesday.

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