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Catholic Charities Maine has more than 500 reasons to Celebrate National Volunteer Week!

April 3, 2024

Portland, Maine - April 21-27 is National Volunteer Week, and every day at Catholic Charities Maine (CCM), we are deeply grateful for the more than 500 volunteers who give 33,000 hours of support to our 20+ programs statewide every year. Their work equates to approximately $1 million in time donated, according to Kelly Day, director of Volunteer Services at Catholic Charities Maine.

One shining example of a person’s selfless support is Anne Skelton of Auburn, Maine, a member of our SEARCH (Seek Elderly Alone, Renew Courage & Hope) team serving older neighbors. Skelton was matched as a volunteer through the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), which is supported by a Federal AmeriCorps project to partner with CCM’s SEARCH program in Kennebec and Somerset counties. SEARCH also connects isolated seniors with community volunteers throughout Androscoggin and Sagadahoc counties and in parts of Franklin, Lincoln, Oxford, Penobscot, and Cumberland Counties.

When a serious accident in 2017 forced Anne to retire early from her 24-year career of teaching elementary school, she was looking for volunteer opportunities. “I wanted to give more back to our community,” she explained. “I really enjoy providing companionship and transportation support to older clients.” Skelton helps 7-10 older neighbors with grocery shopping, errands, medical appointments, and she helps connect them to other community resources. When she has time, she socializes, plays games, or has lunch with clients.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than one in five Americans in the United States will be 65 or older by 2030. Maine has already reached that percentage. For older Mainers, access to public transportation is limited or non-existent, especially in rural communities. For the past three years, Anne Skelton has been named to Maine’s Volunteer Roll of Honor for logging more than 500 hours fighting isolation- one hour at a time - for Maine’s older residents.

“Anne has been helping local seniors so long that her very first client is now in a nursing home,” Wendy Russell, Catholic Charities Maine’s Volunteer & Aging Services director said. “Even though her services are no longer “needed,” Anne still visits her each month. She has become a dear friend, and we see this often with the SEARCH program. These connections are what makes this volunteer work so special for both clients and volunteers.”

“I love to be able to volunteer,” Skelton said. “I enjoy the people I’ve meet, and they enjoy the help.”

For more inspiring stories of the connections SEARCH makes in Maine, please watch here: CCM SEARCH volunteers fight isolation.

To arrange interviews with SEARCH volunteers and clients, contact: Kathy Hayden, (207) 210.0628

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