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Come in From the Cold to Help Sanford’s Unhoused

Donations From Past Event

Donations From Past Event

Photo: Barbara Sutcliffe

By Lawrence Furbish, Rotarian

As anyone who keeps up with the news will know, one of the significant and challenging issues facing communities throughout Maine is how to deal with our increasing numbers of unhoused people. The City of Sanford has created a Homelessness Task Force to work on this difficult humanitarian problem. The latest estimate is that there are 155 people in our city living outdoors or in their vehicles.

So, what can you do about this problem? On Tuesday, January 16, from 5:30 to 8:00 pm at the MEE-D THAI restaurant in Main Street Marketplace, 866 Main St., Sanford, the Sanford-Springvale Rotary Club will hold its third “January Thaw” event to raise money to help the unhoused in our community. In the past two years, this event has raised $10,000 per year plus significant amounts of donated clothing and supplies. The goal this year is to raise $15,000. Tickets are $40 with half going to help the unhoused and the other half to the sponsoring restaurant. Your $40 will get you a signature drink and a sampling of the restaurant’s food offerings. People are also asked to bring at least one warm clothing item. EXIT Reality Corp. International is matching donations up to $2,000.

According to Colleen Adams, Support Services Sergeant in the City’s Police Department Mental Health Unit, donations from Rotary have been used to obtain warm weather items like boots and jackets for those living outside, purchase bus tickets for those with identified housing in other states, rent porta-potties in summer for those living near downtown, buy shower vouchers at the YMCA, and to pay for trash removal to help keep the environment clean. Adams went on to say that currently, we are seeing the largest number of unhoused community members and the donations help to “make life more comfortable by assisting people with their most basic needs.”

To purchase tickets online, click here or email If you can’t make it that night, donations will be gratefully accepted. Contact Elias Thomas, Rotary Club President at

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