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Rotary event raises more than $11,000 for the unhoused

January Thaw attendees

January Thaw attendees Photos: Barbara Sutcliffe

By Barbara Sutcliffe

On Tuesday night, Jan. 16, 80 people came in from the cold and snow to support Sanford-Springvale Rotary’s January Thaw event, which is designed to help Sanford’s unhoused population. Held at Mee D Thai Restaurant in Main Street Marketplace, the fundraiser featured plentiful samplings of Thai food and a signature drink, with half of the ticket price going to the unhoused in our community. Many area businesses and individuals became sponsors along with Exit Realty Corp. International. Funds raised so far exceed $11,000 with more donations on the way.

Sgt. Colleen Adams and Lacey Bailey

Sgt. Colleen Adams and Lacey Bailey

Colleen Adams, Support Services Sergeant in the City’s Police Department Mental Health Unit and Lacey Bailey, Substance Use Liaison embedded in the MHU, gave a presentation about Sanford and other southern Maine communities’ unhoused populations. There are currently over 200 individuals living outdoors in Sanford. Sgt. Adams and Ms. Bailey detailed efforts to help these members of our community.

Funds raised at the January Thaw event will be used by police to provide aid directly to homeless individuals in a variety of ways, including obtaining boots and jackets for those living outside, purchasing bus tickets for those with identified housing in other states, renting porta-potties, buying vouchers for showers and towels at the YMCA, paying for trash removal to keep outdoor areas clean and assisting the unhoused in meeting their most basic needs. Donations are still being accepted – please contact Rotary President Elias Thomas at

Collection of warm clothing items

Collection of warm clothing items

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