Tuesday night, the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce (SLRCC) kicked off its community coin challenge as a part of the Feed the Need community wide initiative to eliminate hunger in the Sebago Lakes region.
“If we put out 200 jars and each one collects $100 that’s $20,000,” said Sheri Huff, who started the community coin challenge to make a difference for the local food pantries located in the area serviced by SLRCC.
“One in four children go to bed hungry in Maine,” Huff told the group gathered for the kick off event at Windham Weaponry. For the next 10 weeks, jars will be placed around the community to collect coins and folding money. The final event will be Octoberfest, where everything is free, but accepts donations for the activities. In the past the event has been in the parking lot at Buck’s Naked BBQ, but this year, with the anticipation of expanding the event, it will be held at Camp William Hinds on Plains Road in Raymond.
“We have excitement in store for everybody. We’ve grown so much that it’s too crowded, has limited parking and is too successful,” said Allan Faraday from Windham Weaponry which donated $10,000 to get the challenge rolling. At Camp Hinds, there will be more space and more possibilities for all age levels. There will be more food, waterfront activities and things like rock climbing, ropes courses and tomahawk throwing.
“It will be big and exciting and raise some serious money for the 13 food pantries. We have a lot of work to do until October,” Faraday said.
Businesses and families are encouraged to sponsor events like horse drawn carriage rides that will take people from the parking lots to the waterfront, a coloring contest, food or dessert. Community champions, those who sponsor at the $500 level will be added to a big board that will be displayed at Octoberfest. For those who donate $365, they are sponsoring a family of four for an entire year because $1 feeds a family of four for one day.
There will be a yard sale and pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Saturday, October 17, the day of Octoberfest, at Camp Hinds. Quality yard sale items can be dropped off at Lee’s Family Trailer Sales and Service on Route 302 in Windham.
The day will be longer, extending to 3 p.m. so participants can have a chance to experience everything. There will be seaplane rides and helicopter rides that day. So far 40 businesses have committed to helping at Octoberfest. None of the regular contributors dropped out despite the move to Raymond, Huff said.
Gorham Savings Bank has volunteered again to count the money donated. Other businesses are encouraged to host their own events. Sebago Trails Paddling Company did a full moon guided paddle and raised $250.
“The chamber [SLRCC] is so compassionate. It is businesses that step up that make this happen,” said Huff.