WELLS, ME – More than $10,000 was raised in last week’s “Turkey Stewfest” at Congdon’s Family Restaurant & Bakery, all of which will go to Good Shepherd Food Bank to feed hungry Maine families.
The Stewfest on Dec. 16 followed a successful “Chowderfest” fundraiser in May, which offered a cup of chowder for any donation to Good Shepherd and brought in more than $30,000. In both fundraisers, Maine Masonic Charitable Foundation and area Masonic Lodges contributed a significant portion of the funds and assisted in the drive-thru distribution.
Guests also shattered previous records with the contribution to Congdon’s “Giving Tree,” which collected hundreds of toys, baby clothes, and diapers since Black Friday. The items were then given to Maine WIC and Alpha PRC in Sanford to distribute to area families in need during the holidays.
Gary Leech, owner of Congdon’s, estimated they received 10 times as many items as previous years.
“We just loaded up a 16-passenger van for WIC and have another big delivery going to Alpha PRC,” said Leech. “Our guests are just awesome – we asked for their help and they stepped up in a huge way. The Masons too. Throughout the pandemic, we were continually amazed at the generosity of our community.”
During last week’s Stewfest, dozens of bags of canned and dry food items were collected and distributed to Maine food pantries. Also, more than 100 cups of stew and 250 doughnuts was brought to Preble Street Resource Center in Portland.
Early in the pandemic, Congdon’s became a toilet paper depot, accepting and distributing toilet paper rolls as they were disappearing from grocery store shelves.
Between all of the initiatives, Leech estimated Congdon’s guests raised more than $50,000 to help people in need during the pandemic and donated thousands more worth of groceries, toilet paper, toys, and clothes.
“This has been such a difficult time for so many Mainers,” said Leech. “Even people who were struggling themselves went out of their way to help others. We are so blessed to live in an area that takes care of its neighbors. Thank you all so much.”
Congdon’s is closed for Christmas weekend, but will reopen New Year’s Eve Day and be open Thurs-Sun, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.