FARMINGTON – As with many non-profit organizations, COVID-19 brought difficult challenges to Mission at the Eastward in 2020. Quickly changing programs to insure safe socially distanced environments, while maintaining the state of Maine’s and CDC’s guidelines and paying attention to governmental restrictions, although necessary, put a strain on MATE’s work, programming, leadership, and the non-profit’s resources. Despite this, MATE’s many loyal supporters have put MATE in a good financial position to move forward in 2021. Planning is now underway for the summer ahead, while MATE’s leadership acknowledges there are still many unknown factors that could affect programming in 2021.
Priorities can shift during times of crisis and change for a non-profit, so this past year, the MATE Board embarked on a sustainability study looking at the impact, finances, infrastructure needs and safety and liability issues of the organization and its programming that needed to be addressed. As a result of the study, the Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to close the camping program known as Camp at the Eastward. While this program has been beloved by many, for over a decade, financial resources, interest and attendance has been dwindling, and it was anticipated that COVID concerns could potentially close down the camping season in 2021 as it did in 2020 for safety and health reasons. Because MATE wants to continue to enrich the lives of youth by supporting camping experiences, MATE will be joining with Camp Wilmot in Wilmot, NH to promote camping opportunities for youth from CATE communities at that location. It is MATE’s intent to offer camping scholarships for those in need so that youth can still have a wonderful camping experience this upcoming summer.
For 2021, MATE will focus its time, energy and resources on the housing and repair ministry, emerging programs that seek innovative solutions to homelessness, and reassessing its youth enrichment programming, MATE Youth Connection. More specific information will be forthcoming during the coming months.
MATE is a non-profit organization based in Central Western Maine, with a 60-year history. Each summer, teams of volunteers take on housing repair and renovation work, which benefits low-income households, the elderly, veterans, people with disabilities, and others unable to afford necessary work. Supported primarily by donors, volunteer groups, grantors, church mission partners and local businesses and organizations, people partner with MATE annually in this work, coming from all over the Northeast.
Anyone interested in MATE should contact Rev. Thea Kornelius, MATE’s Executive Director at: Mission at the Eastward PO Box 206 Farmington, Maine 04938, 207-778-4705 or email her at: email@example.com. Tax deductible contributions are also welcomed by visiting the website www.missionattheeastward.org and clicking on the Donate button or donate by mail to the address above. There is also a monthly newsletter, MATE Matters, which can be requested.