Friday, March 25, 2022

Cinderella Project event Sunday to benefit WHS students

2016  Windham High graduate Hannah
McFarland has created the Compassion
Cloud Collective, a new nonprofit which will
host an 'Oscars Watch Party' at 6 p.m. Sunday,
March 27 as a fundraiser for the Cinderella
Project of Maine which provides prom dresses
and attire for high school students across the
state of Maine. COURTESY PHOTO  
By Ed Pierce

Prom season for Windham High School students is nearing and with it comes all the excitement and memorable times to be savored for a lifetime but for some area families hit hard by the pandemic and struggling to make ends meet, the costs associated with attending a prom can limit some budgets.

But now a nonprofit organization, The Cinderella Project of Maine, is teaming with Smitty’s Cinema to make going to the prom a bit less stressful through a special fundraiser this weekend in Windham. The event is an “Oscars Viewing Party” starting at 6 p.m.  Sunday at Smitty’s in Windham that will include pop-up shops, a raffle, a drawing, menu service and all the festivities from the 94th Academy Awards presentation in Hollywood on the big screen.  

No admission will be charged to attend but participants are asked to bring a donation item to benefit the Cinderella Project of Maine, a nonprofit organization located in Belfast.

Hannah McFarland has organized the event, the very first for her newly formed nonprofit called The Compassion Cloud Collective. She said she chose to help the Cinderella Project of Maine because of the impact its work has on the community.    

“They collect new and gently used prom attire for teens in Maine in an effort to make sure everyone gets an opportunity to have a memorable prom without the added stress of cost.”

McFarland first became involved with the Cinderella Project of Maine in 2017 when she worked for Smitty’s Cinema as assistant director of marketing and sales.

“That was when I learned what they were all about and the impact they make and Smitty’s has given me permission to continue on the Oscar’s event tradition,” she said.  

Now serving as the lead activities coordinator and administrative assistant for Modern Woodmen of America’s Regional Director Scott McDonald, McFarland aims to help Windham High School students attend prom by providing them free and fabulous prom gowns while at the same time promoting positive self-esteem and community volunteerism among the teens.

“In 2016, I started with Modern Woodmen as an activities coordinator and fell in love with the job. Since then, philanthropy, compassion and giving back to my community has been one of my biggest missions,” McFarland said. “Now in 2022 I have worked alongside nearly every nonprofit in the state of Maine. I would not have the love, drive and resources for philanthropy work without the example set by Modern Woodmen of America and their generous outpouring into our community in so many impactful ways.” 

According to McFarland, her new The Compassion Cloud Collective is a multi-mission, nonprofit organization owned and operated by female business owners who seek to find the silver lining in all of life's storms by using the strengths of each of their partners. 

“Each one of our seven partners has their own mission that they stand for, but all of them as a collective are fighting together to raise awareness on mental health in today's world,” she said. “For this event we chose Windham, although The CCC seeks to cover all of Maine. I am a 2016 Windham High School graduate and worked at Smitty’s Cinema in Windham for seven years. Anyone who knows me, knows that Smitty’s had more of my time than my actual home and that Smitty’s was my home for several years. It was important to me for the first event of my own nonprofit be in the town that watched me grow into the person I am today. The good, bad, awkward and happy days Windham has been a part of for me.” 

Planning for the “Oscars Viewing Party” began at the start of this year and McFarland said that the event grew and developed from there.

I could not have made this event happen without Modern Woodmen’s generous donations of prom attire, the support of Smitty’s Cinema in my event accommodations and the collaboration of my wonderful partners of The CCC.”

Beyond hosting the fundraising event Sunday on behalf of the Cinderella Project of Maine and spreading the word to make the greatest impact upon public donations for the effort, McFarland said that Modern Woodmen is donating $1,000 worth of prom attire to make sure that teens across Maine have the best prom ever this year.


She said those donations will be recognized and displayed along with the others that come for the event on Sunday.


“We are also holding a raffle of assorted goods from each vendor, tickets are a minimum of a $1 donation and the donations will go toward the efforts of The CCC both present and future such as Oscar’s event costs and future events are planned.” 


Vendor booths for the event Sunday include Windham’s Modern Woodmen of America, The Compassion Cloud Collective, K Sweets, Ritual Maine, Stone Donut Design, Moon Lady Plants, Macs by Seyya, and Cosmic Complexions.


“Our hope is to bring awareness to the endeavors of the Cinderella Project of Maine because in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, they need our support more than ever and our Maine teens deserve it,” McFarland said. “Along with that we really just want a chance to introduce who we are at The CCC to the community of Windham and to have a blast while making an impact where it is needed. We believe at The CCC that working together as a collective group can make bigger waves and deeper impacts than we can ever imagine as individuals.” <

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