Following The River Fund Maine's COVID-19 Response, TRFM re-established a Community Outreach Fund in 2021. Advised by Development Committee Chair, Jean Benedict and overseen by The Executive Committee.
Support over the last 12 months has been provided to The Bethel Community Ice Rink at Ethel Bisbee, Telstar High School's Future Business Leaders of America, Museums of The Bethel Historical Society - Mornings at The Museum, The Valentine Farm Conservation Center - Monarch Festival, and The Bethel Area Food Pantry.
Aimed to support unmet community needs, this fund is quick to act in times of need. Your donations mean the world to us and the community programs we support. We’re counting on your support to help us grow the support for our community.
Bethel Recreation Department - New Equipment
The Bethel Community Ice Rink is located in the heart of Bethel Village on Philbrook Street, the site of the old Ethel Bisbee School. With generous support from donors, The River Fund Maine was able to procure a new 28" Cub Cadet snow blower for the 2023 season. This addition to the community ice rink lightens the workload for the incredible volunteer team making that winter magic, and improves the experience for all who utilize this community resource.
The easiest way to find out the status of the rink is to follow the Bethel Community Ice Rink Facebook group.
Bethel Area Food Pantry - Thanksgiving 2022
The Bethel Area District Exchange and Food Pantry mission is to eliminate food and clothing insecurity in Western Maine by providing clients with nutritious food and easy access to inexpensive clothing. In order to accomplish our mission, we will build strong community partnerships and increase our client serving capacity.
When the Food Pantry moved into the Nazarene Church it was open first once a month and then twice a month from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of each month. During the first six months of the Pandemic the Food Pantry was open every week. Since the Pandemic, the Food Pantry is open the first and third Wednesday of each month from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for curbside pickup. Clients stay in their vehicle as volunteers load two weeks worth of food. The Food Pantry serves as many as 90 families twice a month.
The River Fund Maine & Sunday River were happy to supply Bethel Area Food Pantry clients with turkeys and Thanksgiving fixings this holiday season, and provide support to their year-end giving campaign.
Valentine Farm Conservation Center - Monarch Festival 2022
The Mahoosuc Land Trust’s annual Monarch Festival is an effort to raise awareness of habitat loss for some of Maine’s key pollinators and to inspire visitors to enhance their home landscapes to support these threatened pollinators. It is a free, family friendly, community-wide event at the Valentine Farm Conservation Center. Our partnership ensures that the 2022 event can continue to deliver a free, quality educational experience for all.
Monarchs are among the most visible and well-known of the local pollinators to frequent the garden, and therefore make a logical poster species for an educational event. They are also critically endangered primarily due to habitat loss. Watching monarch caterpillars munch milkweed leaves, chrysalises hatch into new butterflies, and tagging butterflies before their return to Mexico are interactive ways to engage and educate visitors and to inspire them to plant pollinator-friendly gardens at home.
The festival is a celebration of the ongoing work in the Habitat for All garden, but it is also an opportunity for visitors to learn more about Mahoosuc Land Trust’s land conservation and other environmental efforts.
FUTURE BUSINESS LEADERS OF AMERICA
BETHEL ICE RINK
The Bethel Community Ice Rink is located in the heart of Bethel Village on Philbrook Street, the site of the old Ethel Bisbee School. Philbrook Street is the road next to Brooks Bros hardware store on Main Street in Bethel. Just drive up Philbrook Street and the rink will be on the far side of the parking lot. We hope that this ice rink project will breath new life into this town owned property. For its first year the rink will be open during daylight hours. We hope in future years we can light the rink to offer evening skating. The rink is made possible by the generous support from The River Fund Maine, Norway Savings Bank, the Bethel Rotary Club, the family of Jarrod Rice, the family of Phil Sherridan, the Town of Bethel and many individuals. The easiest way to find out the status of the rink is to follow the Bethel Community Ice Rink Facebook group.
During the COVID-19 crisis, the hospitality industry—the area’s largest employer— was one of the hardest hit economic segments. TRFM knew it was time to increase our service to the population we are dedicated to serving: the children and families of Maine, so we:
Made a substantial contribution to a local food initiative that provided up to 10,000 meals for the elderly and families with food insecurity.
Worked with the Telstar Regional school system (MSAD 44) to acquire internet enabled laptops for all students in the MSAD 44 area so that they could continue to go to school.
Paid the internet access fees for the 2020 academic year for any family in Andover, Bethel, Gilead, Greenwood, Newry and Woodstock in Oxford County, Maine whose wage earner has been furloughed due to a COVID-19 business closure.
The River Fund Maine is a trusted community partner, that’s quick to act in times of need.
MUSEUMS OF THE BETHEL MAINE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
“Arriving Home,” will weave together the stories of all of those who have called this region their permanent or temporary home. We believe that this will be of particular interest to the River Fund, as a major component of this gallery will be a focus on the hospitality industry and the importance of tourism both during the 19th century and today. The display will include several panels and artifacts which highlight the important role of the ski industry generally and of Sunday River specifically.
Some other aspects that will be considered include: the way that changes in transportation (especially the arrival of the railroad) shaped the development of the region; the arrival of various groups of immigrants, such as the Irish in the mid-19th century and Finnish people half a century later; the sacrifices made by local members of the Armed Forces and by civilians on the home front during the nation’s wars; and the work done by individuals and organizations to build and strengthen community ties.
We hope that this exhibit, once open, will help continue to make the Museums of the Bethel Historical Society a point of pride for the community, will be an essential destination for visitors to town, and will offer something new to longtime residents as well.
The exhibit is intended to be constantly evolving. Periodic updates will be made as we raise funds for technical improvements; conduct new research that leads to revisions or reinterpretations; or acquire new items. We hope to open the exhibit in June of 2022, with many of our most important artifacts, dozens of interpretive panels, and numerous photographs on display.