No question: these are troubling times. While we all are coping with inconveniences and worries, we are all experiencing it differently: some facing real challenges and crises; others simply looking at things differently or making minor changes in our lives – some even welcoming the slowing of our pace, the checking-in with family and friends.

To make a donation to any of the community response systems: Make out a check to MSAD 44 and note that it is for BANR.  Send to MSAD 44, 1 Parkway, Suite 204, Bethel, ME 04217.  The money will be distributed to the variety of requests that have come to the Bethel Area Neighborhood Response Team.

BANR-19 volunteers pick up and deliver groceries and supplies, deliver from the Food Pantry, and call neighbors to check in or say hello (email [email protected] or call 207-370-2520).

Bethel Family Health Center: health-related questions (207-824-2193).

Bethel Food Pantry (824-0369): first Wednesday of each month, 9:00 am-6:00 pm; other Wednesdays noon-2:00 pm. Drive up and stay in your vehicle as food is loaded by volunteers.

Meals for area students, and also for adults: 10:00 am-noon and 5:00-7:00 pm Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at Crescent Park, Woodstock, and Telstar High Schools.

Chamber of Commerce: area services (https://www.bethelmaine.com/covid19).

West Parish Congregational Church: emergency food boxes (207-824-2689).

What a proliferation of home-made face masks around the community, many thanks to the local Mask for a Mask program, which has donated masks to Bethel area businesses and agencies. Masks can be purchased from Maine Balsam Fir Products ($15 each or two for $25: 674-5094). Local mask-makers are also part of Sewing Masks for Maine, a 1,500 –member statewide group that has donated about 6,000 masks to Maine healthcare Institutions.

Our students are being well served as well.  Superintendent David Murphy suggests that “our local SAD 44 staff has been well ahead of the curve in providing remote learning for students, thanks to the ongoing investment that has been made in technology and professional development.”  Examples of learning opportunities: www.sad44.org.

It is heartwarming to observe all the creative, compassionate ways people – singly and in large groups – are reaching out to each other. In our Bethel Area community – and indeed, around the world – many heroes have emerged, and the public is grateful. The healthcare workers, the teachers, the businesses that have been creative in continuing to serve customers and keep employees on the job, the parents who continue their jobs at home while keeping their young kids happy and productive – and so many more. Thanks!

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