Appreciates each and every donation

17 years ago

To the editor:
The Sister Mary O’Donnell Shelter will remain open 24 hours a day for the month of February due to the generous response of Aroostook County residents. Individuals and businesses have donated money and supplies from throughout this County and beyond. Some who grew up in Aroostook and moved have sent contributions from Arizona, Connecticut, and Germany! People are sending in amounts from $5 to $5,000 and we greatly appreciate each and every donation.     The outpouring of support and fund-raising efforts from everyone is amazing and restores one’s faith in human nature. Expanding on this wave of awareness, I wanted to provide some details about Shelter services and overall costs. I have been accurately quoted as saying it will take an additional $5,000 per month to keep the Shelter operating 24/7 throughout the year. That figure includes providing all the services we have provided up to December of 2006. $5,000 a month would allow us to rehire the full-time social worker, restore 20 hours of outreach to transport people to medical and DHHS appointments, and help people become self sufficient through consistent expectations and accountability.
As an Agency, Homeless Services of Aroostook strives to fulfill its mission rather than just let people stay warm. Sister Mary O’Donnell Shelter was opened in 1984 to give those in need a place to stay while they got back on their feet. It was never designed to house individuals indefinitely. Based on that premise, those staying in the Shelter are expected to do job or housing searches Monday through Friday, follow specific rules to keep everyone safe, participate in chores to help keep the building clean, and do whatever they can for themselves to improve their situation.
The social worker met with each person on a regular basis to make sure he/she was doing what was expected to get a job and an apartment. In addition to that, she would also refer to other agencies to get needs met such as child care or mental health attention. One Shelter attendant on duty during the day, no matter how intelligent and caring, cannot provide that level of service.
We are diligently searching for private grants and other funding, as well as discussing fund-raising ideas within the County. The Board of Directors, the Shelter staff, and those in need sincerely thank you for your generous willingness to help. If anyone has any questions about services provided or operating costs, please feel free to contact me at 764-5114 or P.O. Box 1753 Presque Isle ME 04769.

Susan Mitchell, executive director
Homeless Services of Aroostook