Amy Sanchez’s passion for her neighborhood, Lewiston’s Tree Streets, goes beyond community pride.

Sanchez grew up in the area before spending a couple of decades away.

“But I love Maine and I love Lewiston and Auburn,” she said, and returned to her hometown about 10 years ago to raise her son as a single parent.

About five years ago, she left a relationship and was without a home. She ended up at St. Martin de Porres, a shelter in Lewiston. But her beloved dog, Maisie, couldn’t come with her.

“I got lucky, and somebody kept her, and I was able to see her,” Sanchez said. “When I got out and I could have her, you know, I thought there are a lot of people that have this problem.”

That experience gave her the idea to start a Tree Streets-based organization where pet owners could get food, veterinary care and other resources. She wasn’t sure how to do it, however, until she joined Healthy Neighborhoods, the community organization focused on creating a thriving Tree Streets.


“Being a part of Healthy Neighborhoods and all of those things made me realize I could make a difference doing something. I didn’t have to just think about it. I could actually do something about it,” she said.

Last year, with a $6,000 grant from Healthy Neighborhoods, she launched Kommunity Kritters. It started with an event at the Pop-Up Garden on Bartlett Street in which, with the support of the Greater Androscoggin Humane Society and Kaydenz Kitchen, they were able to give away $3,000 worth of food, litter, leashes, collars, waste bags, toys and more.

“Anything we could think of that they might need, somebody might need, we had it and we gave it away,” Sanchez said in an interview last year.

Since then, the organization has grown. In May, it moved out of a space within Kaydenz Kitchen and into 128 Pine St., “which puts us directly in the Tree Streets neighborhood. We have much more space and are able to offer many more open hours,” she said.

And earlier this month, Kommunity Kritters received its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.

“Amy works to better her community on a daily basis in many more ways as well,” her friend, Jimi Cutting, said, including stepping “out of her comfort zone” to speak publicly on the need for a shelter in Lewiston.


Earlier in the pandemic, she got another grant from Healthy Neighborhoods to make roughly 2,000 masks.

This year, she received a $2,000 grant to help start “Who Are You,” or WAY, which helps people who are unhoused or do not have the resources to get vital documents, like ID cards, birth certificates or social security cards.

“A lot of times when you’re homeless or your stuff can get stolen, or you just lose things because you go to somebody’s house and either gets forgotten or gets lost, and it’s just really easy to lose important things like that,” Sanchez said.

“We actually just delivered our first ID that we got for someone, our first client,” she said.

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