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Crystal Callahan, receptionist at the Partners Bank main office in Sanford, stands at the bank’s Coats for All donation drive table.

Crystal Callahan, receptionist at the Partners Bank main office in Sanford, stands at the bank’s Coats for All donation drive table. All winter clothing collected during the six-week drive, which ended Jan.12, was donated to The Salvation Army. 

Photo: Partners Bank 

Compiled by Carolyn Cadigan

Winter clothing drive helps those in need battle the cold: Partners Bank held a Coats for All donation drive, benefiting The Salvation Army, between Dec. 1, 2023, and Jan. 12, 2024. Conducted at the main office in Sanford, the drive was spearheaded by Crystal Callahan, an employee most of the branch’s customers know because she works at reception and is the live person on the phone. “I am so excited to give back to our community and help this great cause. It’s a great opportunity to clean out closets and get more use out of things you no longer need!” Callahan announced at the beginning of the drive. Along with winter coats, the main office also collected mittens, gloves, hats and scarves, with the total number consisting of 22 pieces for men, 102 for women, 62 for boys, 55 for girls and 10 for babies — a sum of 251 winter clothing items donated to The Salvation Army. 

Here’s your chance to clean out your craft stash for the new year: The Sanford Housing Authority is looking for donations of crafting items that would be used by its senior residents during organized crafting and socializing get-togethers. Suggestions include, but are not limited to: paint, paint brushes, canvas, painter’s tape, yarn, scrap fabric, jars, glue, glue sticks, glue spray, Mod Podge, tape, scrapbooking items, colored card stock, wallpaper scraps, contact paper, colored Sharpies, spray bottles, frames, scissors and rulers. Drop off items Monday through Thursday at the Sanford Housing Authority, 17 School St., between 9 am and 11:30 am. FMI, contact Misty White at mwhite@sanfordhousing.org

Program brings community together to fight food insecurity: The Sanford Backpack Program’s 4th Annual Community Food Distribution will take place on Feb. 15 at Sanford High School, 100 Alumni Blvd., from 3:30 pm to 5 pm (or an earlier end time if all food boxes have been distributed). Fresh produce as well as canned and dry goods will be included. FMI and to volunteer to help at the event, email lori@strongersanford.org

Warming Center issues a plea for food or monetary donations: York County Shelter Programs (YCSP) provides three meals a day to guests of the Warming Center, which the organization has run since Dec. 1 at the site of the former Lafayette School at 69 Brook St., Sanford. As a result, YCSP is requesting donations of food for a meal, or alternatively, gift cards or money (via Venmo @YCSP-Donations) to help with the effort. FMI, contact Scott Davis, Food Service Director, at 207-324-6953 or by email at scottd@ycspi.org

How 11- to 15-year-olds can up their child-sitting credentials: The Sanford-Springvale YMCA is holding a Safe Sitter Course on Saturday, Feb. 24, from 10 am to 3 pm. Open to both members and non-members, this nationally accredited course prepares preteens and teens, from 11 to 15 years old, for the responsibility of nurturing and protecting children. The class covers childcare essentials, choking, CPR and behavior management. Participants should bring healthy snacks and a drink. Space is limited. To register call 207-324-4942

Have a say in how Sanford is tackling climate-related initiatives: The City of Sanford’s Planning Department is making an application to enroll the city in the Community Resilience Partnership. This program allows Sanford to apply for grant funding, available through the state, for climate-related municipal projects. A public workshop is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 1, from 6 pm to 8 pm at City Hall Council Chambers, 919 Main St. – 3rd Floor, and remotely via Zoom. Discussion topics will include improving public transit, evaluating infrastructure and stormwater management, increasing energy efficiency in municipal buildings and protecting area wetlands. Here is your chance to let the city know how you feel about climate readiness, and what you think should be prioritized for the funding. FMI and to access the Zoom link, go here

Free tax prep help offered to qualifying households: York County Community Action Corp. (YCCAC) has kicked off its 2024 free tax preparation service and is currently scheduling appointments. Households with a combined earned income of $64,000 or less in 2023 can receive tax filing help and learn about free, flexible and easy ways to file their taxes. Trained tax professionals will help clients file, enabling them to keep 100% of refunds. Here are the ways YCCAC can help with taxes: (1) Schedule an appointment for in-person service at 207-324-5762, ext. 2718, and leave a message with your name and phone number; (2) Online DIY – File your own taxes (with access to helpline support) at myfreetaxes.com; and (3) Drop & Go – Starting Jan. 29, check in at YCCAC to pick up an intake packet and return it with your required documents; a trained volunteer will prepare the tax return offsite, and YCCAC will call you when the taxes are ready to be picked up.  

School staff prepares for a brave new world of education: On Jan. 13, the Sanford School Department sent 11 staff members spanning its K-12 schools to an education technology summit focused on elevating technology use, especially artificial intelligence (AI), in the classroom. These staff members joined educators from across the state at the one-day summit, jointly hosted by the Association of Computer Technology Educators of Maine (ACTEM) and the Maine Educational Technology Directors Association (METDA), to hear featured keynotes and participate in breakout sessions and networking opportunities centered around AI. Keynote speakers included Dr. Amanda Fox, lead researcher at OpenAI, who spoke about the future societal impacts of AI and how to raise a generation prepared to interact safely with AI systems. Breakout sessions covered topics such as using AI chatbots to enhance tutorials, AI bias and ethical considerations, using machine learning to individualize instruction and Natural Language Processing applications across subjects. In addition, time was spent discussing the impact of AI on district policies. With AI and automation shaping the future of work, ACTEM and METDA aim to hold conferences that arm teachers with forward-thinking uses of emerging technologies. The educators in attendance were left motivated to integrate ethical, creative AI to prepare students for the world ahead. 

Volunteer Food Pantry driver needed for food pickup: The York County Shelter Programs (YCSP) Food Pantry needs a volunteer driver for Saturday and Sunday mornings. The driver would use the YCSP van to travel to Hannaford in Kennebunk to pick up food at 8 am, and then return to the Food Pantry, finishing by about 9:30 am. If interested in volunteering, contact Mike Ouellette, Food Pantry Coordinator, at 207-391-3125 or by email at mikeo@ycspi.org

The show must go on, with your help: The Maine Attraction Water Ski Show Team’s Benefit Dance & Auction is being held at Sanford Memorial Gymnasium, 678 Main St., on Saturday, March 16, from 6:30 pm to 10:30 pm. The event, for those ages 18 and older, will be a St. Paddy’s-themed night of fun and excitement. Attendees can dance to the music of Something Stupid and bid on auction items, all while enjoying complimentary appetizers and a full cash bar. The non-profit, family-oriented organization is offering single tickets or VIP tables, which include eight entry tickets, a reserved table, eight drink tickets, 16 raffle tickets and a sweet treat. FMI and to purchase tickets, go here

Straight edges, corner pieces and everything in between: The YMCA Trafton Senior Center has announced this year’s puzzle competition details. This year will feature a Shamrock Puzzle Tournament, to be held Saturday, March 16, from 1 pm to 4 pm. Teams of four (in which at least one member is age 60 or older) will be timed to see how quickly they can complete a puzzle. There will be two divisions — 500-piece and 1,000-piece puzzles. The winning teams take home a trophy. Space is limited, and participation costs $20 per person (or $80 per team). FMI and to register your team, contact Robin Bibber at 207-457-0080 or by email at rbibber@sanfordymca.org

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