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Revamping the Grange in time for a bean supper

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Revamping the Grange in time for a bean supper

FREEPORT — This is a summer of new beginnings for the Northern New England conference of Seventh Day Adventists. Instead of their annual camp meeting at Pinetree Academy, this year the group decided to give back to the community they have been coming to for so long.

After asking local leaders and police if there were any projects they could help with, Greg Carter, of Portland, picked Grange Hall, the 136-year-old building located on Elm Street. Carter is a pastor in Portland and the project coordinator for the Grange remodeling.

"The project was a good fit for us," said Carter. "[The Grange] needed some TLC."

The Northern New England conference of approximately 1,500 hails from Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.  This year they have donated their time to make much-needed improvements at the Grange.

Luckily, the group consists of professional builders, electricians, plumbers, painters and carpenters who have volunteered to complete some of the major components of the project, including sheetrocking new walls and fixing leaks on the roof. The younger members help with less technical tasks.

On Monday, 20 or so young teens and pre-teens filled the space priming, painting and doing yard work.  On Tuesday, a slightly older group of kids, ages 16 to 20, came by and help out with the project.

Volunteers are providing the labor, while local companies Ace Hardware and Home Depot have donated supplies for the project.  Fortunately, for the volunteers, Amato's has also donated pizzas to feed the workers during the day.

"This is something we hope to do every year now," said Carter.

The Grange is used for community events throughout the year. In fact, the group has to complete the job and clean up by Saturday, when the hall will be used for a bean supper.