Photo: Heidi Barker
By Lee Burnett, Submissions editor
Some of Sanford’s newest residents – bracing for their first winter with snow – got ready with a festive community meal and give-away sleds for the kids on Dec. 16.
Welcome to Winter was organized on behalf of the three dozen families of asylum seekers who moved to Sanford seven months ago.
“I organized it, but it was meant for them to take over themselves,” explained Heidi Barker, a driving force in recent months, mobilizing community donations and volunteer efforts. “They did the shopping and the cooking and we raised the money.”
On the evening of the event, the basement room at North Parish Congregational United Church of Christ buzzed with energy. There was cookie decorating, games and a big meal of African foods.
“Not everyone celebrates Christmas, so that’s why we called it Welcome to Winter,” Barker said. “We wanted them to feel welcomed and also to get a little more excited about the winter because they are afraid of it.”
Kids went home with 66 plastic sleds donated by Tammy Daney and the Wolves Club.