Hope House Gives Back, Distributes Coats to Kids in Maine


By Lauren Holloway, Public Relations/Media Coordinator at Operation Warm

One out of three children in Lewiston, Maine live in poverty, struggling to find basic necessities like food, water, shelter and clothing.

This shocking truth has inspired people like Bruce and Jan Wilson to work towards a solution.

The Wilson’s founded Hope House in 1986, a non-profit organization providing neighborhood support to families. According to Bruce, the organization’s mission supports the United States’ rich legacy of immigration, and the shared values of neighbor helping neighbor. Because of this, Hope House wholeheartedly welcomes New Mainers from all faiths and all countries of origin.

“We started out of our home and we’ve been changing with the community,” Bruce says. “I think the changes have been really great – they’ve added a lot to our community, the cultures they bring are all very different.”

The organization helps an upwards of 100 families throughout the year and each family is made up of five to eight kids. According to Bruce, Hope House operates in an extremely impoverished area and many of its inhabitants are refugees, making their way from Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and more.

The families Hope House helps are also the volunteers that make up the organization. According to Bruce, Hope House is completely volunteer run and wouldn’t exist without the community’s support.

Hope House operates a thrift store in the community, giving out clothing and food. In addition, the organization hosts various giving events throughout the year.

On Saturday, Oct. 14 from 2-4pm, Hope House hosted the Apple Fair – a family fall fun festival that included games, food and prizes.

During the event, children won a variety of prizes including brand new coats from Operation Warm, as well as donated hats, gloves, scarves and more.

Children receive Operation Warm coats during Hope House’s Apple Fair (Photo: Hope House)

“The coats from Operation Warm are a huge encouragement to our work, and actually birthed the idea to do an Apple Fair this fall.  When we are blessed with an amazing provision, we try to do something for the community that holds forth the miracle and allows our neighborhood to appropriately celebrate it!”

Donated clothing items allowed each child to go home with a bag of winter outerwear. According to Bruce, many of the families Hope House serves come from warm climates and aren’t accustomed to harsh winters. Bruce says the donated goods will truly help struggling families as they prepare for another Maine winter.

In addition, children were able to take home toys courtesy of Five Below in Portland. Stukas Farm and Thompson’s Orchards donated bushels of local apples and each family took home a bag to enjoy.

Volunteers from Hope House’s Family Support Center, along with a team from the Chinese Bible Church of Greater Boston, operated the fair and provided tasty apple treats.

Additional treats, bags of apples and new and recycled coats will also be available on Wednesday, Oct. 18 from 10am-noon at the Family Support Center located at 91 College St. in Lewiston.  Parents can find these items in the Free Family Thrift Store and Farmer’s Market every Wednesday.


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