PHOTO: Littles Ireland and Nicholas Norton, of Lewiston, read pen pal letters from their Bigs as part of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine’s efforts to Keep Kids Connected during the COVID-19 pandemic. The agency’s largest fundraiser, Bowl for Kids’ Sake, is being transformed into a virtual “Whatever It Takes 4 Kids’ Sake” event. (Submitted photo)
OAKLAND — Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine is reinventing its largest annual fundraising event, “Bowl for Kids’ Sake,” to do “Whatever It Takes” to support the 435 kids the agency serves in eastern, central and midcoast Maine.
With all 13 of the agency’s bowling events canceled, supporters will instead be walking, biking, reading, hiking, painting and doing other activities of their choice to raise funds for local youth, one-to-one mentoring programs.
According to Gwendolyn Hudson, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Maine, revenue from Bowl for Kids’ Sake makes up half of the organization’s annual budget. The unforeseen changes due to Covid-19, Hudson said, are expected to result in a loss of more than $200,000 this year.
“Many Littles are experiencing increased stress, anxiety, fear and isolation,” Hudson said. “Even in the best of times, they are facing adversity at a higher rate than the average young person, and will bear the greatest burdens of trauma and financial insecurity because of this pandemic.
“Funding is critical right now to continue to provide Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring services to our most vulnerable population–our kids. That’s why we are asking our supporters to do whatever it takes to support our Littles,” she said.
Teams and individuals can register online at bbbsmidmaine.org, and then create a personal fundraising page where supporters can make safe, electronic donations. Whatever It Takes 4 Kids’ Sake runs now through July 31. Every person who registers is included in a weekly drawing for local business gift cards. Individuals who raise $125 and teams that raise $500 or more will receive Big Brothers Big Sisters t-shirts.
For more information about participating in Whatever It Takes 4 Kids’ Sake, becoming a sponsor, donating weekly prize gift cards, or information about becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister volunteer, visit bbbsmidmaine.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 207-236-BBBS (2227).