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Maine Parishes Pitch in Pots and Pans to Provide for Refugees

AUBURN---Parishioners at several Maine parishes cleaned out their cabinets and cupboards for cookware to help refugee families living in Maine.

Throughout October, a cookware collection was held for families being assisted by Catholic Charities Maine’s Refugee and Immigration Services (RIS) program, the state’s only refugee resettlement program.

Parishes pitching in included Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Auburn, All Saints Parish in Brunswick, Holy Savior Parish in Rumford, St. Brendan the Navigator Parish in Camden, and Corpus Christi Parish in Waterville. Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Windham will hold a similar collection during the winter.

“Each parish contributed more than $1,000 in cookware,” said Bill Wood of Catholic Charities Maine. “Their donations of cookware to new Mainers was indeed a quantity of quality items. Their witness and sharing affirms the gift and meaning of faith. This project was really successful!”

“The pots and pans are distributed by RIS to new Mainers,” said Susan McGaulley of Catholic Charities Maine. “They’ve been able to get food at food pantries and from other sources and now, because of the generosity of parishioners, they can get the cookware needed to prepare their meals.”

“We are sincerely grateful for this generosity,” said Michael Smith, director of mission for Catholic Charities Maine. “These pots and pans will help these families provide for themselves. We had a real need for larger cookware items to serve family-sized meals and the parishes helped fill that gap.”

St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish in Scarborough held a collection for personal care items like toothpaste and soap during the summer and received donations of nearly $1,000 in gift cards for cookware and bedding along the way.

Parishes are continually moved to respond to those in need.

“It was a delight for our parish social ministry program to help families served by RIS,” said Deacon Denis Mailhot, the coordinator of parish social ministry at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish. “We strive to help parishioners and young people see the ties they have with others and the responsibility they have for each other. At the heart of our parish is the understanding that love of God and love of neighbor go together.”

RIS is dedicated to helping refugees and immigrants become independent, productive members of our communities. From cultural orientation and referrals to case management and ongoing support, RIS provides the highest quality professional resettlement and cultural adjustment services to the refugees assigned to its care.

“The parishes’ generosity will help many families begin their new life here in Maine,” said Smith. “Our faith calls us to love others, especially those marginalized by society, and their response to this collection truly brings this part of our faith alive.”

To learn more about RIS and the ways in which you can help its mission, call (207) 871-7437 or click here.