By Laura McCann Tripp
OXFORD — Our nonprofit organization, From Lil with Love, started as a first grade homeschool project with our daughter, Liliana. She wanted to learn about the less fortunate and how to help them. After discussions about what we could do to help, we decided to have a food drive at the end of our driveway. A collection box went up and a sign indicating that we were collecting food for the homeless, to be donated to the Helping Hands Food Pantry in Oxford.
The box was in place during October and November 2020. Liliana’s initial goal was 18 cans of food to donate. Through great community support and some wonderful neighbors, we ended up with over 500 pounds of food and $350. Liliana was absolutely overjoyed.
She immediately looked to her next goal. In learning about the homeless, she became very concerned with the plight of homeless children in our county. Liliana wanted to help them as much as she could. In February, she decided to make gift bags for the children in shelters, including toys, hygiene items and snacks. Again, she had a very modest goal. She wished to make 15 bags. The community was once again more than willing to help with this project. We received donations from Oxford Federal Credit Union, Dirigo Federal Credit Union, Norway Savings Bank, Hampton Inn, Oxford House Inn, Justin Campbell and community members. We ended up donating 60 bags for the three area homeless shelters, filled with shampoo, conditioner, soap, lotion, hand sanitizer, toothbrush and toothpaste, hats, mittens, scarves, warm socks, snacks, juice, toys, water bottles, frisbees, pencils and crayons. These bags were given to the children in the shelter, with the remaining saved at the shelter for new children coming in.
Our family was so humbled by the donations and support from neighbors, community members and local businesses. We knew as a family we were committed to this project for the long term. In March we filed paperwork to become a 501(c)3 approved nonprofit organization. However, paperwork does not stop a girl with a mission. Liliana was again thinking about the homeless children and wondered how it would feel not to have an Easter basket. She put together 21 Easter baskets for the homeless shelter and a local domestic violence advocate.
Liliana has a long list of future projects: We are working on filling backpacks for any students who may need help with school supplies; she is anxious to run another food drive, with the goal of being able to make large donations to two food banks in Oxford County; she is also looking to fill Christmas stockings for children in need. This girl’s caring heart cannot be stopped!
We are always looking for support from community members. Please check out our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/FromLilwithLove  and contact us via email at FromLilwithLove@hotmail.com.