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New programs offer help in Liberty-Montville area

By Fran Gonzalez | Apr 07, 2020
Courtesy of: Liberty Fire Department The Liberty Fire Station marquee announces the start of the Neighbor to Neighbor food delivery program. The effort began April 3 and delivers food weekly to Liberty residents.

Montville — Several new programs have sprouted in the Liberty-Montville area, helping residents stay informed, access internet applications and acquire needed food.

Liberty’s Neighbor-to-Neighbor food delivery program, organized by Fire Chief Bill Gillespie and Road Commissioner Tammy Reynolds, provides a weekly delivery of food staples to area families.

Reynolds said the first deliveries went out Friday evening and Saturday morning, April 3 and 4, including donated toys from the Toys for Tots program going to each household with young children.

“The food drive went well,” she said. “We delivered to 41 households, I believe, and will continue to do so until this is over.

“Some people were overwhelmed with joy,” she said. “Some shed a tear and it was so good to help people. If you are a Liberty resident, you can get a free delivery weekly; we don't need a reason to help people.”

Reynolds said to sign up, contact the Town Office at 589-4318, ext. 5, and leave a message specifying address and number of people in the household. People can also request assistance for neighbors.

The Liberty and Montville Wellness Check outreach program, coordinated by Barbara Rehmeyer of the Liberty Library and Bob Kohl of Aging Well in Waldo County, began calling residents April 3 to see how they were doing. Volunteers are trained, have a written agreement on confidentiality, and have a script and resource pages. They record all stated needs for Liberty and Montville's emergency management agencies to handle and call regularly to stay in contact with residents.

For people needing help to complete online applications or apply for state or federal benefits, an online assistance program is currently working with Montville and Liberty residents. Coordinated by volunteers Martha Piscuskas, Svea Tullberg and Susan Shell, the program offers resources and phone help, conducts interviews, assesses needs and sets up an appointment to work on applications.

Meetings will be held in the Overlock Room at the Liberty Town Office so residents and volunteers have ample space to stay a safe distance apart.

According to Liberty Emergency Management Agency Director Elise Brown, the program is still “experimental” at this point. “Since computer and internet access is so limited in our community, we identified this as a likely need to get the financial assistance critical to staying ‘afloat’ during this crisis,” she said.

Brown said the program already has two customers and she expects the requests to grow as phone bank volunteers work through their lists and let people know it is available. To request assistance, residents can contact their Town Office at 589-4318 for Liberty or 342-5544 for Montville.

At present, if residents need to apply for unemployment insurance or seek other online resources, but do not have a good internet connection, the Montville Town Office is offering the use of its free Wi-Fi. The password will be posted on the bulletin board. There is also free Wi-Fi available outside the Liberty Library with no password needed.

There are two food pantries in Liberty that provide services for both Montville and Liberty residents. AMVETS Memorial Post 150 (589-4218) is located on Main Street in Liberty across from the post office, and the Liberty Baptist Church (589-4671) is also on Main Street.

Liberty/Montville Food Donation program is collecting non-perishables at Liberty Fire Station (right-side door) along with pet food and supplies. Cash and gift card donations are accepted at the town offices. According to Liberty Fire Department’s Facebook page, this effort is supplying food to the local food pantries.

Montville and Liberty officials have sent out letters to all residents outlining basic town operations information, as well as encouraging residents to contact EMA with any needs, including food, online help, prescriptions, errands and a friendly ear. Montville residents with questions or needs can leave a message at the Town Office, 342-5544 (messages checked daily), or call John York, Montville's emergency management director, at 382-3077.

Liberty residents with questions or needs can call the Town Office COVID-19 Hotline, 589-4318, ext 5. For regular updates, check Liberty Maine Community News & Liberty Fire Department Facebook pages and the town of Liberty website (see below).

Montville Board of Selectmen is maintaining regular evening meetings Mondays at 6:30 and residents are encouraged to attend using Zoom. To do so, call the Town Office at 342-5544  or send an email by 1 p.m. Monday to montville@fairpoint.net. Liberty selectmen's meetings are Mondays, 6 to 8 p.m. Residents can join by clicking the link at the Town Office website using Zoom.

Montville Transfer Station remains open for its normal Saturday schedule, but with limited services. For more information, call 589-4470.

Montville Town Office: montvillemaine.org/.

Montville Fire Department and Emergency Management Agency: facebook.com/groups/1595249247205442/.

Liberty Town Office: libertymaine.us/.

Liberty Fire Department: facebook.com/pages/category/Government-Organization/Liberty-Fire-Department-182300498460758/.

Liberty Community News: facebook.com/search/top/?q=liberty%20maine%20community%20news&epa=SEARCH_BOX.

 

Liberty Fire Chief Bill Gillespie, left, and EMT Eric Matthews prepare bags of food for delivery April 3. The Neighbor to Neighbor program delivered 41 bags of food to Liberty residents its first weekend. Next to Gillespie is his dog, Bailey. (Courtesy of: Liberty Fire Department)
Fire Department crew members fill bags with donated food at the Liberty Fire House April 3 for delivery to people in need. (Courtesy of: Liberty Fire Department)
EMT Peter Maruhnic prepares to begin his delivery route April 3 for the Neighbor to Neighbor program in Liberty. (Courtesy of: Liberty Fire Department)
Liberty Fire Department Lt. Lisa Gillespie, left, and volunteer Johann Emery, Walker Elementary School secretary, prepare to begin delivering food to Liberty residents April 3 as Bailey the boxer looks on. (Courtesy of: Liberty Fire Department)
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