On Tuesday, March 24, the city of Portland issued a stay-at-home order for residents, closing non-essential businesses. The state of Maine soon followed, extending this stay-at-home order until at least April 30th.
Maine resident, Joseph Meyers, started “Quarantine Karaoke,” a Facebook group that gives singers space to perform while all venues are closed. As of April 14th, it has over half a million members. Singers go live or record themselves from their kitchen tables, offices, or music rooms. This group has become an outlet for singers and people looking for comfort during this time of uncertainty.
The CDC now recommends that the public wear makeshift masks to protect each other from the coronavirus. Students at the College of Pharmacy have begun sewing masks to give to parents, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. This helps prevent asymptomatic patients from unknowingly spreading the virus.
Sewing Masks For Maine is a group that harnesses the skills of sewers to supply masks for medical professionals. Their website enables the public to help make, drop off or request masks. Kris Hall, UNE Program Manager for the Center for Excellence in Collaborative Education, is one of the founders of this group. Dr. Emily Dornblaser, a College of Pharmacy faculty member, also helps to organize people in effectively distributing masks. According to a Maine Public interview, the group has already delivered more than 2,000 masks.
Maine grocer, Rosemont Market and Bakery, has created a program, Feeding the Frontlines, to feed medical personnel at different hospitals. Recently, Rosemont delivered 150 meals to Maine Medical Center. This program is donation based and not only helps feed medical workers but also helps keep all of the Rosemont employees employed.
Fostering and adoption from animal shelters has increased nationally, and you know Maine is part of that trend. Maine is the third most animal friendly state in the nation. The Red Cross’ shortage of blood donations has led to Maine residents, like my roommate, to set up appointments to give blood.
As uncertain and scary as this time has been, the community in Maine has stepped up to support one another, meeting practical needs as well as lifting spirits.