The group met at Lafleurs last year, before the pandemic. From left to right: Back row: Celia Holmes, Gayle Long, Jean Bernard, Diane McDonald, Sheila Giffin, George Doiron (musical accompaniment),Shannon Smith,treasurer,middle row :Janis Pelletier, Front row: Martina Eastman, Jay Bee coordinator, Karin Paine, Fern Doiron. Absent; Bonnie Samson, Rita Crowley, CJ Jerry, Donna Storer, Sheila Flagg, Mary Castonguay, Jean Gilbert, Connie Fournier, Helen Hobbs. Submitted photo

Some of the bracelets created by the group. Submitted photo

REGION — The Button for Babes Giving Circle members held regular “button bees” to turn recycled buttons into button bracelets and selling them for $5 each.

The Buttons for Babes Giving Circle is an independent group made up of area residents and the bracelets are a popular item. Donations for bracelets benefit children in Greater Franklin County through designated gifts to the United Way.

Chris Bourassa is a passionate volunteer who wanted to continue giving back to her community when she lost her job. So she started making one-of-a-kind bracelets with recycled buttons to support children who were homeless and living at a group home in Rumford. Her bracelets feature new and vintage buttons and no two are alike.

“It’s all about the kids and the need. They are loved and they need to be treated with love,” Giving Circle member Chris Bourassa said.

As demand for the bracelets grew, as well as local children’s needs, the United Way of the Tri-Valley Area offered to help, and in 2009 became the program’s fiscal agent, overseeing the project as well as accounting for the all of the bracelet contributions. As of September 1, 2016 Buttons for Babes has transitioned to become a Giving Circle (givingcircle.org) and continues to support the causes members hold dear.

Contributions support the unmet needs of children throughout Greater Franklin County. This may include funding the cost of a program offered by a coalition or a non-profit organization that supports children, or helping individuals with very specific needs. This includes transportation costs to medical appointments, basic needs such as food and clothing, beds and bedding for a safe sleeping environment, or scholarships for children with special needs to attend enrichment classes or summer camp.

Buttons for Babes volunteers have raised over $40,000. Those funds have been disbursed back into the community through way of applications (discontinued June 2016), and also through multiple program support. Some of the organizations being currently supported include Theresa’s Totes, Children’s Task Force, and WM Homeless Outreach.

To become involved or acquire a bracelet contact Chris Bourassa at [email protected] or 207-860-8579. Follow on Facebook too, at Facebook.com/Buttons4Babes.