November 26, 2019
The University of New England’s Office of Citizenship & Civic Engagement recently partnered with the Heart of Biddeford for a service event involving students from the Class of 2022.
Sixty-five students gathered on Main Street to give back to the community by decorating the downtown with holiday lights and creating care packages for the York County Shelter Program.
The event was featured in a report on NEWSCENTER Maine.
“We’re really close with our community in Biddeford,” sophomore class president Kaitlyn Quirk (HWOS, ’22) told NEWSCENTER Maine. “We’re always looking to help out when they need us.”
Students spent about three hours stringing lights and putting together 50 care packages for the shelter residents. The packages included personal hygiene items such as shaving cream, razors, hairbrushes, shampoos, soaps, and dental care items. All of the items were donated or given as gifts by local area dental offices and hotels. Students delivered about $2,000 worth of donated items to the shelter.
Staff from UNE’s Citizenship & Civic Engagement Office obtained generous vouchers from the Salvation Army of Northern New England that allowed each adult resident at the shelter to receive a sweatshirt and a pair of sweatpants. Children at the shelter could use the vouchers to receive sweatshirts, sweatpants, pajamas, and a stuffed animal.
“It just means a lot that we get to help them out in any way we can really," sophomore class vice president Gunnar Fryzlewizc (Education, ’22) told NEWSCENTER Maine. "It brings a nice smile to my face.”
Events like this are crucial to connecting UNE students to the southern Maine region that many of them now call home.
The Office of Citizenship & Civic Engagement and the Heart of Biddeford hope to make this project an annual tradition.