Charitable giving a component of Falmouth 300th celebration

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FALMOUTH — Falmouth’s 300th-anniversary celebration is in full swing with many events planned for this winter and more being added all the time.

As part of the tercentennial, the planning committee has also announced a new initiative called Donate 300.

The goal is for civic organizations and businesses to collect 300 items for donation to a local charity. For instance, for the month of January, the town is asking for 300 boxes of cereal for the Falmouth Food Pantry.

“When we first began planning for the 300th, we held public brainstorming meetings on how best to mark the tercentennial and the idea of charitable giving was repeatedly brought up as being an important and necessary component,” Erin Bishop Cadigan, the tercentennial coordinator, said this week.

“As one attendee put it, ‘Falmouth is a giving community. If our goal is to showcase Falmouth, we should showcase that aspect as well,'” Cadigan said. “This resonated with the planning committee and we are working to include charitable giving and support for Falmouth nonprofits in a variety of ways throughout 2018.”

The Falmouth-Cumberland Community Chamber of Commerce agreed to be a partner on the Donate 300 challenge, she said, and each participating member was then asked to think about how the items they collect could best tie into their mission.

“So, for example, Maine Soggy Dog is collecting items to benefit the Animal Refuge League. The library, which has a very active knitting group, chose to collect hand-knit hats and mittens, (while) Falmouth Martial Arts is collecting for Toys for Tots,” Cadigan said.

As the Falmouth300 website says, “Stop by the (participating) businesses or organizations during their designated month with a donated item to help them reach their target goal of 300 items for the charity of their choice. Have a heart, lend a hand, join the Donate300 Challenge.” 

Each business was encouraged to choose their own charity and many of them opted to support the Falmouth Food Pantry, Cadigan said, while others chose programs like The Locker Project or the Portland Vet Center.

The participating businesses were allowed to select the month that best suited them and the charity they wanted to support. Each month in 2018 has now been assigned, with one exception. 

“We are still looking for a business to get involved in September, if any are interested,” Cadigan said.

Overall, Donate300 “is a simple way for businesses to get involved in the 300th and to give back to their community,” she said.

“Many of them already do donation drives, so it was a way for them to reach a larger audience and to collect even more for those in need. Businesses were really eager to get involved, which speaks to the level of community-mindedness Falmouth is fortunate to have.”

In terms of the excitement that’s beginning to build around the 300th anniversary now that 2018 is here, Cadigan said, “It feels like there is a renewed buzz about town since the fireworks kick-off” in December.

In addition, sales of Falmouth300 memorabilia, which is one of the key ways the planning committee is funding tercentennial events, is also going well. “The hot item this winter is the Falmouth300 hoodie,” she said.

“More people are liking us on Facebook (and) people are signing up for our monthly email updates and signing up to volunteer,” according to Cadigan. “Our upcoming event with Richard Blanco on the power of place has sold out (and) this week the official program guide will be landing in mailboxes.”

“We think that will generate a lot of excitement, once people really see the scope of everything that will be taking place in 2018,” she said. “I would encourage everyone to visit our website to learn about all the events and activities. There (really) is something for everyone.”

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.

Falmouth is hoping to collect 300 boxes of cereal during the month of January as part of the town’s tercentennial celebration. The collection is part of a year-long initiative, Donate300, led by the Falmouth-Cumberland Community Chamber.