Heather Letourneau makes 100 burritos Tuesday at She Doesn’t Like Guthries in Lewiston. An anonymous donor gave Letourneau $500 to make lunch for those in need at the Trinity Jubilee Center soup kitchen. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

An anonymous donor paid a local restaurant to feed 100 people in need two days before Christmas.

The donor’s kind act was in memory of his 4-month-old niece, Hailey. “I want to keep Hailey’s memory alive by paying it forward in my niece’s name.”

Hailey Goodwin passed away when she was 4-months-old. Her parents encourage people to pass along “hugs” by doing something nice for others, which may spur additional acts of kindness and continue to keep memories of Hailey alive. Ashley Goodwin photo

Hailey Goodwin was 4-months-old when she passed away April 23, 2014. Over the six years since her death, anonymous kind deeds have become nothing new to the Goodwin family.

“We call them hugs,” said Hailey’s uncle. “Hugs from Hailey.”

Goodwin’s family is keeping Hailey’s memory alive by encouraging others to offer acts of kindness. These gestures — ranging from paying for someone’s coffee to an annual hat-and-mitten drive for children in need that collected over 700 pieces of winter clothing on Hailey’s seventh birthday — have helped her parents get through the loss of their child.

Ashley and Kenny Goodwin of Monmouth created the Facebook page “Hugs from Hailey” following their daughter’s death. Page followers post acts of kindness, which the family calls “hugs.”

“I feel closer to my daughter every time someone posts a hug,” said Ashley Goodwin.

Goodwin said that “small hugs,” such as giving an umbrella to a mom with an infant waiting for the bus in the rain, to “big hugs,” such as food drives from businesses, have been posted on the Facebook page.

“Literally thousands of people doing kind acts all the time and they vary so widely,” said Goodwin. “It’s been a lot of beautiful things from our family, friends and total strangers from around the world.”

“It was a movement that was not intended,” Goodwin said while explaining how the idea came to be.

“I was buying picture frames at Walmart for Hailey’s funeral,” said Goodwin. “As I was walking through the parking lot, I noticed an elderly woman struggling with her shopping cart.” Goodwin offered to take the woman’s cart back to the store and the woman was taken back. “You would do that for me,” the woman said to Goodwin. “Right then, in all my pain, I felt compelled to help others,” said Goodwin. “Right then, I could feel Hailey.

Hailey’s uncle said the hope is that doing something nice for someone will spur the recipient to do something nice for someone else in return, which keeps memories of his niece alive.

The uncle, who wishes to remain anonymous, happened to win a painting giveaway at She Doesn’t Like Guthries, a restaurant in downtown Lewiston, and wanted to pay it forward in his niece’s name.

Cassandra Culleton asks a man if he would like a burrito Wednesday at the Trinity Jubilee Center soup kitchen in Lewiston. An anonymous donor paid She Doesn’t Like Guthries to make 100 burritos that were given to those in need. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Like many small businesses, “they (Guthrie’s) have been hit hard because of COVID,” said the uncle. “So, I collected some money, gave it to them and asked them to make lunch for a charity of their choice as a hug from Hailey.” “I can hug Guthrie’s by helping them out during tough times and I can hug the community at the same time. Maybe someone will give a hug in return — it will be like a three-way hug.”

She Doesn’t Like Guthries co-owner Heather Letourneau and her husband, Randy, have made donations to the Trinity Jubilee Center soup kitchen over the years, donating soup at Christmastime and for Trinity’s annual Empty Bowls Supper. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“Making ends meet in the restaurant industry has been tough,” said She Doesn’t Like Guthries co-owner Heather Letourneau. “We had to get creative so that people remember that we are here.”

She said the anonymous donor was a regular at the cafe before COVID-19 changed the way restaurants operate. Letourneau had not seen him for a while. But then he won the artwork raffle. He came in soon after and handed Letourneau $500 to make lunch for a charity of her choice.

Letourneau reached out to the Trinity Jubilee Center soup kitchen and started to cook. She and two of her employees made 100 barbecue chicken and ground beef burritos Tuesday morning and delivered them to Trinity the next afternoon.

Percy Evans waited outside Trinity as lunch was served to go Wednesday morning. “I think it’s good for the homeless people,” said Evans. “I think it’s real good for us to have something to eat and stay warm.”

Evans has been staying with a friend until he moves out on his own next Thursday.

“I’ll take two,” Evans said to Cassandra Culleton as she handed out burritos and tomato soup.

“I’m happy and extremely thankful,” said Tanya, who asked that her last name not be used. “We all struggle, but this makes it a little bit easier,” said the mother of three children.

People wait outside Wednesday for the Trinity Jubilee Center soup kitchen to begin serving lunch to go in Lewiston. An anonymous donor paid She Doesn’t Like Guthries to make 100 burritos that were given to those in need. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“I am happy to see that Trinity is getting the donation,” said Goodwin. “They do amazing things for the community that I work in and I’m really happy to see this hug grow to help so many people at once.”

“It’s amazing that Hailey’s life, although short, has impacted so many people,” said Goodwin.

She Doesn’t Like Guthries is an eco-friendly cafe that supports the community through local live music and artists. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo


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