ROCKPORT — With just days to go before the holidays, four high school girls from Camden Hills Regional High School arrived at Knox County Homeless Coalition/Hospitality House on Wednesday, Dec. 22, ready to go gift shopping. All of this month, the Hospitality House has gathered wish lists from their families and invited the community to 'adopt a family' for the holidays by shopping for gifts and giving them tot he families. As of Dec. 22, the day the girls arrived, all 84 families (230) people had been adopted.
Mallory Caron, 17, Alli Wells, 17, Grace Iltis, 15, and Lauren Rothwell, 15, are part of a school club called ‘Camden For Community.’
“We started the club last year to try to connect students with community service opportunities,” said club founder and treasurer Caron. “So we saw the article from Penobscot Bay Pilot ‘All I want For Christmas is.....driving lessons’ and we decided to get involved. We were reading it and saw the part where someone our age was asking for driving lessons as a Christmas present and since a couple of us are taking driver’s ed and getting our own licenses we could really relate.”
The girls connected with a family who has two teenagers 14 and 18. With money the club raised from a Christmas By The Sea 50-50 raffle as well as a bake sale, they were off to go shopping at Reny’s Plaza, T. J. Maxx and Walmart for gifts that were on the family’s list.
“It makes me really happy that we can give back to others and that our club has the support to help other families,” said Iltis.
“Our next project for the club is to give more support to several local food pantries,” said Caron. “With the last of the money we raised, we’re going to go buy food and donate it.”
Ev Donnelly, the initiative’s coordinator, was all smiles as she carried a load of packages to the barn for volunteers to wrap. “The community really came through for us,” she said. “I’m still getting emails and calls from people looking for ways to help.”
To learn more about Camden For Community visit: facebook.com/camdenforcommunity
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org