Rotarians and Friends prepared for distribution of 500 bottles of laundry detergent for Harrison Food Pantry l-r Denise Eldridge, Barbara Allen, Carol Madsen, Carol Rothenberg and Sandy Swett. Submitted photo


BRIDGTON — Rotarians Carol Madsen and Carol Rothenberg, both from Waterford, were joined by Friends of Rotary Barbara Allen of Waterford, and Denise Eldridge of Bridgton, to affix Rotary labels on 500 bottles of laundry detergent for the Harrison Food Bank. Sandy Swett, director of the bank expressed her gratitude for all the work that Rotary is doing for the local food pantries. The detergent will be distributed to pantry clients this week. Two weeks ago, 220 bottles of detergent were distributed to the Sweden, Naples, Bridgton and St. Joseph’s food pantries. This is all part of a health & wellness grant the Bridgton-Lake Region Rotary Club received from its district, which covers southern Maine and coastal NH in July.

Since mid-April, Bridgton-Lake Region Rotary Club has distributed 1591 Health & Wellness Kits and 225 Kids Back-to-School Hygiene Kits through local Food Pantries. Most H&W Kits contained toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, bar soap and dish soap (for handwashing).  Most Kids Kits contained toothbrush and holder, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, bar soap, face masks, lip gloss and stickers.  In addition, 220 laundry detergents, 210 shampoos, 136 tubes of toothpaste and 155 extra-large bottles of dish soaps were delivered to local pantries for as-needed selection by clients.  The last 500 detergents were delivered to HFB this week.

All those we thank!  We especially want to thank Reny’s which offered products at a discount, Dollar Tree in Oxford which offered great service along with low prices, and Food City which ordered and allowed for deep discounts for the laundry detergent. In addition, Rotarians stepped up like Aaron Hagan of Key Bank providing hand sanitizer for the Kids Kits, Bridgton Hospital providing CDC Flyers on Handwashing, and Pediatrician Lisa Ryan of Mercy Hospital providing tips for parents for teaching their children proper handwashing.  Many others contributed with donations including Oxford Hills Rotary Club, and individual Rotarians and Friends of Rotary.  Grants from the District level of Rotary amounted to nearly $6000.  Last but not least, money raised from drive through Community Kettles at the Bridgton Community Center amounted to nearly $1000 after expenses.  A huge thank you to everyone who donated, attended Community Kettles and to our District level which awarded us the maximum amount allowed for a grant.   And, we especially thank the dozens of Rotarians and Friends who assembled packets over the summer.  All of you have made this program the success it has been.

Why it’s great to be a Rotarian! One of the many benefits of being a member of a Rotary Club is that not only can we contribute our time and effort to projects but money to help fund them as well.  Over the years, many members of our local club have raised funds through Rotary for projects like community gardens, school playgrounds, computers for schools in Africa, toilet facilities for schools in the Dominican Republic, and now hygiene supplies for food pantry clients right here in western Maine.  Other local projects include awarding academic and vocational scholarships for Lake Region High School and Adult Education students, dictionaries for third graders, Holiday gifts for elementary school students, Transportation for the Elderly, Citizen of the Month Awards, Leadership Team Scholarships for Sophomores, World Quest transport, Fuel Assistance, Veterans Assistance for high school seniors, and Youth Safety Bike Helmets.  Most money is raised locally for these latter projects at our annual Great Bridgton Duck Race and our annual Golf Tournament.  We are so thankful to those who support these fundraisers.

Anyone wishing more information about this work with local food pantries or any of our other activities, contact us at [email protected]

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