The Waterville Rotary Club recently awarded mini grants to eight local organizations addressing food insecurity and/or lack of essentials experienced by many residents in central Maine.

This is the second year that the club has provided this grant opportunity. When the pandemic struck, club members became increasingly concerned not only about the impacts to the people in the communities, but also the organizations doing the front-line work, ensuring that individuals and families have resources to tap into when they are struggling, according to a news release from the club.

Each year the club raises thousands of dollars to reinvest in the communities in a variety of ways, with $10,000 of the funds designated for a project chosen by the reigning club president. President Jeff Melanson worked with the club’s Community Services Committee to select a focus area. Based upon the ongoing need in the community, coupled with the success of the mini grant program last year, the decision was made to allocate the presidential funds and an additional $2,000 from the committee’s budget to repeat the program this year.

“It was clear from our members and the community that people are continuing to have problems making ends meet. So often it is the food budget that gets slashed. Food is such a necessity, one that so many of us take for granted. It just seemed like a meaningful way for us to provide direct support to our neighbors,” said Melanson.

Michele Prince, community services chairperson, said, “We are so grateful to all of the people, many who volunteer hundreds of hours, who are finding ways to provide assistance that touches so many lives and we are honored to support their efforts.”

Grants were awarded to the following organizations:

• Winslow Community Cupboard
• Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter
• Alfond Youth and Community Center
• Starfish Village
• Northern Light/Inland Hospital
• Mid-Maine Technical Center
• Waterville Area Essentials Closet
• Waterville Area Soup Kitchen

The organizations all expressed a deep appreciation for the funding. Bruce Bottigliere from Winslow Community Cupboard said, “Your kindness, compassion and generosity are helping us address the needs of food-insecure children, seniors and other adults in Winslow and the surrounding towns during these particularly challenging times.”