|27||The Kelley||Kids||Prospect Harbor||ME||$50.00||0938|
|28||Marie||Mc Callum||Ocean Park||ME||$25.00||0236|
On November 3rd members of Bangor Lodge #244, and Old Town Lodge #1287 teamed up with the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services, VA Maine Homeless Veteran Program, and several other charitable agencies to provide much needed assistance to local homeless Veterans in Bangor and the surrounding area.
The day started off in Maine fall fashion with a fresh 2 inches of snow on the ground, along with wind and a morning temperature of 25 degrees. But this didn’t slow this team of volunteers which assisted with the objectives of the stand down. While the other charitable agencies were connecting the Veterans with resources, winter clothing, toiletry kits and non- perishable meals the volunteers from the Bangor Lodge were busy preparing a hot lunch for the Veterans, and volunteers alike.
The day would not have been complete without the contributions from the Old Town Lodge #1287. Utilizing their Freedom Grant, the Lodge purchased over $2000.00 worth of non-perishable food which was distributed to homeless, and needy Veterans who attended the Stand Down.
In the end the day was a huge success. The members of the Maine Elks Association Northern District truly displayed the true meaning of “Sharing and Caring”” by ensuring our Veterans know that, “so long as there are Veterans the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks will never forget them”. Thanks to all who volunteered.
by BOB KEYES STAFF WRITER PORTLAND PRESS HERALD
With the postponement of the annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down, regional service agencies and others who support veterans in Maine are scrambling to cover the loss of a centralized event where the state’s homeless veterans could gather to receive the support they need.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced the event, held at Togus VA Medical Center in Augusta, to take on a new form. In past years, Veterans Affairs staff and volunteers provided food, clothing and health screenings to homeless and at-risk veterans, who also received referrals for employment, housing, health care, substance use treatment and mental-health counseling.
This year, thanks in part to an infusion of federal money to address homelessness, other agencies across the state are stepping in by focusing their work on veterans who need assistance with things like medical care, food security and employment services.
In addition, the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services is partnering with Maine Veterans in Need to arrange multiple mini-Stand Downs across the state this fall, in an effort to bring supplies and services closer to those who would benefit from them. The events, which were still being scheduled, would involve the distribution of items like hygiene kits, care packages and cold-weather clothing.
But they will not involve personal medical services such as flu shots, medical checkups and mental health evaluations, as in the past.
“The way we are looking at it right now, anything is better than nothing,” said Jarad Greeley, homeless veterans coordinator at the bureau. “The advantage of doing multiple locations instead of one is that it limits the transportation of veterans. If we can go to the veterans themselves, it eliminates a lot of travel.”Advertisement
David Hassen, who oversees veterans activities for the Maine Elks, said lack of health check-ups and administrative assistance would be the biggest loss. The mini-Stand Downs will help, and their success will depend on service organizations supporting the new effort, he said.
Jim Gehring of the Presque Isle Elks, Lodge #1954, welcomes the concept of a regional Stand Down.
“The Stand Down was great, if you were in walking distance of the Togus campus or if you were in a community with the ability to get veterans transportation to Togus,” he said. “But there’s no veteran transportation up here, so we get by with a little help from our communities.”
The Elks used to arrange transportation to the annual event, but for a variety of reasons – a lack of trust in government and fear of admitting to being homeless chief among them – many veterans didn’t bother to make the trip, Gehring said. The Elks and other groups have improvised.
“Instead of doing a Stand Down, we are coming in through the back door with our own supplies,” Gehring said. “We can give the veterans what they need, and they don’t identify us as the government, so they trust us.”
There are about 140 homeless veterans in Maine, according to state statistics. That number is up from about 100 before the pandemic, Greeley said.Advertisement
In an interesting twist caused by the pandemic, the Maine Bureau of Veterans’ Services has “a ton of extra money” to spend on homeless services through the CARES Act, Greeley said. The bill funneled $17.2 billion to the Veterans Health Administration and increased funding for homeless programs.
“Pre-COVID, those funds were hard to find. I always had to ask other organizations – the Elks, the Legion, the VFWs – if they could put up the tab to put someone in a motel for a couple of nights,” Greeley said. “Now, I don’t have to ask them, which means they can do other things.”
Those agencies and others like Goodwill Northern New England, Easter Seals and Pinetree Legal are filling needs based on their specializations, said Jonathan Barczyk, acting public affairs officer for the VA Maine Healthcare System.
“We’re not replacing the Stand Down, but we are continuing to go about providing services and connecting veterans with the resources that best suit their needs, and a lot of that is through a number of community partnerships that we have with different organizations across the state,” he said.
Goodwill is focusing on job services by pairing veterans with both a career adviser and life navigator – “a social-worker type position” – said Heather Steeves, external communications manager.
“We know, for veterans, it’s often not just resume that gets in the way of long-term success,” she said. “It can be other life factors, such as mental health, homelessness or food insecurity. If they need to be connected to food stamps, we will help them with that. Any issue they might have in their life, we will work with them holistically, so they can succeed in the long run. We will stay with them until they reach stability.”
The Goodwill life navigator helps mitigate the barriers at home that inhibit productivity at work. The focus is timely. Goodwill served 74 veterans between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019. The following calendar year, which included job losses because of the pandemic, the number of veterans seeking job services through the nonprofit nearly doubled to 132, Steeves said.
Up north in Presque Isle, the Elks Lodge operates a warehouse-size furniture bank, providing free furniture, appliances and other items for veterans who are transitioning from homelessness to safe and secure housing, Gehring said. The Elks collect furniture by donation and through a company that secures used hotel-room furniture.
“They often have no clothes, no furniture – basically nothing, including no money,” Gehring said. “We can take a vet and his family and get them completely set up in an apartment, including everything you need to start your life over again. That is what we do.”
Letter from Special Deputy Andy Constantine concerning updates to the GER’s Maine visit November 10-11 2020
On Tuesday November 10th, 2020 our Grand Exalted Ruler the Hon. Paul R. Ryan and First Lady of Elkdom Stacey will make their official visit to Maine.
A reception and dinner will be held in their honor at the Augusta Elks Lodge #964 starting at 6:00 p.m. Information and costs will be sent out by the Lodge shortly, please make your reservations with them.
Also during their stay in Maine they will visit the Gardiner Elks Lodge #1293 for lunch Tuesday November 10th, and the Waterville Elks Lodge #905 Wednesday evening. These Lodges will send out notices with pricing.
|25||William J.||Davis||Presque Isle||Me||$25.00||0804|
On Sunday, August 30, 2020, the Presque Isle Junior Golf League at the Presque Isle Country Club completed its sixth-consecutive successful season under the guidance and leadership of Barry Madore, a member of the Presque Isle Elks and the Presque Isle Country Club golf pro. This year twenty-six area youth attended golf league sessions over the course of eleven weeks beginning on June 7, 2020. Golf instruction was offered on Friday mornings with league play occurring Sunday evenings over the eleven-week season.
In the course of the junior golf league program, golfers between the ages of eight and fourteen are introduced to the game of golf, an outdoor recreational activity, which the young people will be able to enjoy for the rest of their lives.
In addition to learning the fundamentals of golf, participants also learn useful fundamental values, especially respect, respect for other players, respect for the golf course property and respect for the rules of golf.
Alan Harding, past exalted ruler of the Presque Isle Elks and current chair of the Presque Isle Elks Drug Awareness Program, stated, “The Elks Junior Golf Program, together with the Elks Junior Bowling program, may be the only drug awareness programs which the Presque Isle Elks are able to hold his year on account of the current Covid-19 restrictions. Each of these programs are important to youth drug abuse prevention because of the positive impacts they have upon the healthy development of a young person. Through participation in these recreational activities, young people build better socialization and communications skills, improve their self-esteem and learn the importance of following established rules. All of these skills have been demonstrated to significantly reduce the likelihood of inappropriate or unlawful drug and alcohol use by young people.”
Popular drug awareness programs, which the Presque Isle Elks, Lodge #1954, have been unable to hold to date on account of the Covid-19 restrictions, have been the “Hooked on Fishing, not Drugs” Youth Fishing Derby and the Soccer Shoot. Whether the Presque Isle Elks will be able to hold its annual Hoop Shoot program will be determined in the next few weeks.
Reuben Caron, Exalted Ruler of the Presque Isle Elks, Lodge #1954, said, “The Presque Elks are committed to implementing as many Drug Awareness Programs as the existing circumstances will allow. The Elks appreciate well the importance of all programs designed to prevent drug and alcohol abuse and addiction. They will offer as many programs to this community as possible in the future.”
Shown above are participants in the 2020 Presque Isle Elks Junior Golf League: Davin Bua; Tucker Lamoreau; Riley Thomas; Bella Albert; Wilder Young; Kason Bua; Cody Baser; Collin Robertson; Ethan Collins; Cruze Casavant
Second row: Darren Donovan, Mentor; Teddy Donovan; Tyler Dean; Evan McEachern; Silas Baser; Carter Vigue; Nick Lavigne; Denver Miller; Charlie Peers; Brennan Bugbee; Patrick Collins; Meredith House; Isaac Manion; Libby Boone, Instructional Assistant; Barry Madore, Presque Isle Country Club Pro and Elks Junior Golf League Chair; Third row: Moe Collins, Presque Isle Elks, Board of Directors Chair; Steve Hanning, Sponsor; Jack Lamoreau; Michael Collins, Mentor and Sponsor. Absent from the photo were Charlie Doyen; Duke Deschesne; Cameron Locke; Sidney Smith, Mentor; and Brody Smith, Mentor.
|28||James||Nyman Jr||Lees Summit||MO||$25||0777|