A whole lotta love took physical form Dec. 29 at the fourth annual Fill the Boat With Love fundraiser, held for year two at Brady’s Restaurant in Boothbay Harbor.
Generosity and caring overflowed for three charities: Boothbay Region Food Pantry; the Clothing Closet at Boothbay Region Elementary School, serving the elementary and high schools (call 633-5097 or 633-2421 for information); and food, blankets, toys, coats and more for the animals at Midcoast Humane. A boat represented each cause.
The food pantry boat weighed out at 309 pounds! The other two, though not weighed, were full. Besides the goods, $1,850 was raised through the sale of raffle tickets and in-kind donations.
The event is the brainchild of Suzie Edwards. “I feel we did even better this year,” the BRES eighth grader said. “I think that’s because we did a lot more advertising and had posters in more places.”
Brady’s owner Jen Mitchell agreed. “There were a lot more people here this year. It was crazy,” said Mitchell, who is always up for a good cause. “We want to keep doing this because it’s important to reinvest in the community, to help take care of the little guys – and the animals. And Suzi is an important part of this community and inspires a lot of adults.”
Mitchell shared a few stories about the goodwill of the day: One donor asked her to randomly hand out the raffle tickets his donation bought. And a couple came in for the first time. They didn’t know anyone, or what was going on. “But by the time they left, they did know people here, made a donation and had a great time. They got to experience the Boothbay Harbor spirit! We want people to come in and feel welcome.”
That generosity of spirit extended from the outside deck where the boats were, to the inside where comradery, laughter, music and singing filled the space. Murky Waters’ Tim Sprague, Dick Spofford, Bill Hallinan and Mike Solomon played a mix of rock, country rock and good old fashioned country tunes. And Sally Spofford did a set with the band on guitar and as lead vocalist. Corey “Bo Bo” Tibbetts stopped in and sang “Johnny Be Good” with the band.
Many people picked up the mic for a bit of karaoke, including Tibbetts; Jackie McLoon – who knocked off everyone’s socks singing “Shallow”; Scott Edwards (“Cat’s in the Cradle”); Annielyn MacCusick (“Jolene”); Suzie’s dad Steve Edwards – sounding awesome singing Marshall Tucker Band’s “Can’t You See”; Suzie (solo, “Photograph” and “Royals;” and with her ukulele: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Someone Like You”); Sarah Gudroe, a country tune; and Darrell Gudroe and Shane McBay, “If I Had A Million Dollars.”
A few days after the fundraiser, Suzie and Steve met with Food Pantry Co-President Fleet Davies, who had driven back from Rhode Island to receive the donations. “He told us he was thrilled and that the donations would help about 200 families on the peninsula,” Suzie recalled.
BRES Vice Principal Tricia Campbell, on hand to accept the clothing donations for the schools said, “Each year I’m so moved and impressed by the effort and passion Suzie puts into the fundraiser. I’m impressed by her commitment, her maturity, and willingness to step into a leadership role. If you saw (Steve and Suzie) bring in all those clothes … I was reminded of the love and caring this community has for our kids.”
The night the fundraiser ended, plans for the next one were tossed around. Mitchell said as it looks right now, the plan is to move the event from the last Sunday in December to mid-January when there’s less going on and people aren’t away for the holidays.
See you all then!
“Love, love, love ...There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done ... Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung ... All you need is love ...” – The Beatles/John Lennon and Paul McCartney, “All You Need Is Love”