Local churches help laid off mill workers

While many mills across Maine have shut down, a few remain the lifeblood of some communities. Now, workers at two of them are facing a lot of uncertainty. More than 200 employees at the Great Northern Paper Mill in East Millinocket were laid off while the company restructures its operations. Another 200 were laid off at nearby Lincoln Paper and Tissue after an explosion destroyed a boiler. Paper and pulp making operations there are shut down indefinitely.

More than 3 hours and nearly 200 miles away, parishoners and clergy at St. Bartholomew's Church in Cape Elizabeth decided they needed to so something.

Father Mike Seavey of the Diocese of Portland said, "We thought what a wonderful opportunity to show people in northern Maine, with the local resources that we have, that we do care. We care about them and we want to help."

So they banded together with two other Catholic Churches in Scarborough and South Portland to put together a fundraising dinner and silent auction.

Church members were glad to help people so close to home.

Parishoner Nancy McClay said, "The least we can do is to give people some breathing room, maybe with some of their heating bills or food or clothing."

So far, the parishes have taken in more than 60 items to be auctioned off, including a pair of Red Sox-Yankees tickets. They expect to take in a lot more than that before the event is held on Friday.

The dinner and silent auction is set for 6 o'clock at Saint Bartholomew's in Cape Elizabeth.


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