Bethel Rotarian Scott Parker stands June 5 among mattresses left from the club’s annual yard sale, which he trucks to Lewiston to furnish apartments through Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services. Rose Lincoln/The Bethel Citizen

BETHEL — Every August the Rotary Club of Bethel holds a giant one-week yard sale, saving some unsold items for the following year and tossing most of the rest in an industrial trash bin.

That changed last year when member Scott Parker met Adam Leff, who suggested they truck the leftover furniture to Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services in Lewiston to furnish empty apartments for immigrants and asylum seekers.

Leff, civic engagement coordinator and French and history teacher for Gould Academy in Bethel, has been going to Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services in Lewiston every Sunday with his students, who have logged over 2,000 hours working with families from Afghanistan, Ukraine, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda.

Parker is retired from running his business as a preparedness consultant but still trains Maine School Administrative District 44 teachers and administrator on lockdowns, shelter-in-place plans and evacuations.

Parker delivers beds, pots and pans, bureaus, glasses, silverware, clothing and rugs.

“They are not necessarily interested in colors, just functionality,” he said.


When the truck arrives, Lisa Day of Maine Immigrant and Refugee Services and past recipients help unload the truck and set up the apartment.

This year, they have driven 10 loads in a borrowed truck from Charlie Reiss of Bethel Kitchen Designs.

Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry recently donated 400 chairs from their hotels. Parker took 200 to Lewiston and saved the others for the August yard sale.

Jofrae Alford of Bethel Early Learning Center donated all her unsold day care furniture and Parker drove it to Lewiston where another day care is just getting started.

“Everybody seems to be pitching in,” Parker said.

The Rotary Club of Bethel yard sale will be held Aug. 1-6 at Lincoln and Cross streets by the Gem Theatre and Chamber of Commerce.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: