Bangor Project Repurposing Newspaper Dispensers to Help Needy
By Nick McCrea, Bangor Daily News
BANGOR, Maine — A pair of retired newspaper dispensers soon could be given new life providing shampoo, deodorant, toothbrushes and other basics to those in need in downtown Bangor.
Andrea Beaulieu, co-owner of Bangor-based Studio Linear, started Bags for Bangor three months ago, and the temporary project has taken off to the point where she wants to expand her efforts and continue them year-round.
Beaulieu takes donations from merchants, companies, schools and individuals at her 60 May St. office, sorts them into clear plastic baggies and delivers them to Bangor’s homeless shelters. Bags also were left in boxes on downtown sidewalks, free for the taking by anyone who needs them.
The Bangor Daily News donated two unused newspaper dispensers to replace the cardboard boxes, Beaulieu said.
“This would be a great opportunity to make this a permanent project,” she added. “The donations are still coming in constantly.”
Since the start, Bags for Bangor has distributed more than 500 bags of donations, plus more than 500 additional units of toothbrushes, toothpaste and other personal hygiene products, she said.
Some items aren’t allowed in the bags for safety reasons, including items that contain alcohol, such as mouthwash, and razor blades.
Beaulieu, who works with her family to sort through and distribute the bags, said she’s happy to welcome other volunteers who want to help.
One distribution bin could be placed in West Market Square, and the other could be placed in Pickering Square. Those locations could change based on discussions with the city, which is planning to renovate Pickering Square.
The city’s government operations committee put its support behind the project during a meeting Monday night and urged Beaulieu to push forward and identify spots downtown to put the bins.
“I think this project shows the positive energy we want to have in Bangor,” City Councilor Joe Baldacci said.
For information on the program, visit www.studiolinear.com/bfb.
This story appears through a partnership with the Bangor Daily News.
Copyright 2016 Maine Public