DEAR SUN SPOTS: Do you know of any nonprofit organizations that are accepting school supplies? I am a retired teacher and would like to donate some items. It would mean a lot to me.— Chris, no town

ANSWER: You could start by calling schools in your area to see if there’s anything they need in the classrooms or for designated families.

United Way of Androscoggin County has a Backpack Project ( each year. Check its website for information or call 795-4000. The email is [email protected].

Catholic Charities of Portland ( has a Backpack Drive and is looking for new pocket folders, notebooks, rulers, colored pencils, pencil cases for elementary and high school students,  small scissors, regular and washable markers, three-ring binders, filler paper, calculators (simple or complex and or used), and new or used water bottles. Call 1-800-781-8550 or email [email protected].

DEAR SUN SPOTS: Do you have a name(s) of someone who does home cleaning? I had surgery recently and am recuperating so could use some extra help on a temporary basis.  — Stacy, Poland

ANSWER: In the Rolodex, I have PJM Cleaning and Home Improvement in Lewiston (209-4458 or 436-5111) and Sue’s Residential Cleaning Service in Auburn (212-0812). These people have been recommended many times.


With requests like this, I also always give SeniorsPlus a mention as they keep a list of resources to help senior community members with recommendations for housecleaning tasks and so much more! Call them at 795-4010.

Readers, if you want to recommend someone, please share the info!

DEAR SUN SPOTS: I’d love to hear from other parents regarding what cellphone apps they use to help keep track of their children and other family members. I’m getting ready to purchase phones for my 12-year-old twins, with the understanding that we will be using this kind of app for everyone’s peace of mind. I’m also considering using the app for an elder family member, but only because we’ve discussed it and she agrees it’s a good idea. Any recommendations? — No name, no town

ANSWER: These apps are also handy to have when a loved one is traveling or just commuting a fair distance. It does give everyone peace of mind, for sure.

This online article gives good information about the Top Five family locator apps: and includes links to each one. Listed are Life360 Family Locator, FamiSafe, Sygic Family Locator, Verizon Family Locator (for that company’s customers only), and GPSWOX Family Locator.

There are lots of features to choose from with parental controls, etc. Using one of these apps is an effective way to stay in touch with your other members. It makes sense to be able to look at the app and see that your child has arrived at soccer practice, for example.

For those of us who were around before cellphones, this may seem strange but when you’re a parent, having all the tools available to help keep your kids safe is important. I hope readers who use these apps will write in with their recommendations.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name. We won’t use it if you ask us not to. Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected].

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