JAY — Buttons for Babes Giving Circle has seen many changes since it started more than 10 years ago and now needs more volunteers to keep the program going.

Fern Doirion, an organizer for Buttons for Babes Giving Circle moves a container of buttons to be sorted Tuesday afternoon, May 23, at Otis Federal Credit Union in Jay. Also seen is Rita Crowley. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

“We need volunteers,” Fern Doirion said Tuesday afternoon, May 23. Volunteers have gotten fewer after COVID-19, she added.

“We get excited about buttons,” Bonnie Samson stated. “We are finding different colors actually go together.”

“It’s contagious, whether I am by myself or downstairs with others,” Sheila Giffin added.

“We have become good friends,” Martina Eastman said.

From left Martina Eastman, Sheila Giffin and Bonnie Samson are seen Tuesday afternoon, May 23, at the Otis Federal Credit Union in Jay. Buttons for Babes volunteers meet there twice a month. Volunteers are needed to wash and sort buttons, sew the bracelets and sell them at craft fairs and other venues. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

Otis Federal Credit Union in Jay provides space for the group to meet the second and fourth Tuesday of every month from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Storage space for buttons is also provided.


“The [staff] has always been welcoming and accommodating,” Eastman said. “When we first started [making bracelets], it took us three hours to make one. Anyone with basic craft or sewing skills can do it.”

Buttons for Babes Giving Circle volunteers clockwise from left Fern Doirion, Rita Crowley, Martina Eastman, Sheila Giffin and Bonnie Samson meet Tuesday afternoon, May 23, at Otis Federal Credit Union in Jay to sort buttons and sew bracelets, sales of which help needy children in the area. Absent at the time were Laurie Gagnetin, Celia Holmes and Gail Long. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

“Not everyone wants to make bracelets,” a flyer created by Shannon Smith, the group’s treasurer notes. “There is other prep work that needs to be done before the buttons are ready for bracelets. When the buttons are donated, they must be cleaned of thread, staples, etc., washed, and sorted by colors.”

Volunteers are also needed to help sell the bracelets at craft fairs and other venues around the state.

Bracelets will be available for sale at the Auburn middle school in August and at a Lewiston store in September. Both are new venues, Doirion said.

“Somebody gave my daughter a big tote of buttons,” Fern Doiron stated. “Two ladies saw us at the Auburn Mall, came back and gave us buttons.”

“Fern is a great sales lady,” Eastman noted. “She goes to new venues.”


Chris Bourassa came up with the idea for Buttons for Babes to raise money for children in a homeless shelter. United Way of the Tri-Valley Area originally oversaw the project. which has expanded to help any children in need.

When Smith was president of the Emblem Club in West Farmington, she chose the project as the chosen charity for members to support.

Now independent, Buttons for Babes is overseen by Doirion, Eastman and Gail Long. Other active volunteers include Rita Crowley, Laurie Gagnetin and Celia Holmes.

Buttons may be dropped off at the credit union during business hours.

For more information about Buttons for Babes, contact Doirion at 207-320-1940.


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