One winter day three years ago, Boothbay Region Elementary School student Suzie Edwards and her dad, Steve Edwards, were in Portland. They saw a homeless man wearing summer clothes and a sign telling passersby he was in need of warm clothing.
“Suzie wanted to do something to help people like him,” her father said.
The 9-year-old came up with a full-on fundraiser: Fill the Boat With Love, held at McSeagull’s that year, and in 2017. In the first two years, an estimated $1,500 was raised, along with food donated to Boothbay Region Food Pantry and clothing, Steve Edwards said. Youth clothes are donated to Boothbay Region Elementary School and adult clothes to The Clothing Closet.
On Sunday, Dec. 30, the annual Fill the Boat with Love returns for year three, this time at Brady’s Restaurant at 25 Union St. in Boothbay Harbor from noon to 5 p.m. Brady’s will be open for the event only and will close at 5 p.m. No dinner will be served.
Music and karaoke with Darrell Gudroe and an open mic will be happening all five hours – and, no doubt, Suzie will be performing. If you’ve never heard this young lady sing, you’re in for quite a treat! Any musicians who’d like to stop by with their guitar, mandolin, fiddle, flute ... (you get the idea) and sing a song or two are most welcome. Suzie would love it if everyone got up there to sing a tune.
Donations for the food pantry – non-perishable items only, please; The Clothing Closet and Midcoast Humane, should be placed in the appropriate boat. Donations in the form of checks or cash will also be gratefully accepted, but not in the boats. Checks should be made payable to the organization.
An exciting development for the event this year: New York Life is the corporate sponsor along with local sponsors Waves Restaurant, Bob’s Auto Detailing, FV Sea Star, FV All Out, FV Nick & Andy, FV Lettie Elise, Red Cup Coffeehouse and Orne’s Candy. Local residents Kyndall Schmidt and Heather Reynolds, both New York Life employees, are the advising-organizing team working with Suzie, Steve, and Brady's owners Jeff and Jenn Jones. The couple are super enthusiastic about hosting the event at their new restaurant.
“I’ve known Suzie for ... good grief ... for awhile,” Jenn Jones said. “And she’s good friends with Brady, our dog. Any friend of Brady’s ... If we can help Suzie help the community that’s what it’s all about. She’s a young kid who is, I think, an inspiration to us all. We should all be more like Suzie!”
Jeff added, “We’re all about the community and are more than happy to donate the space.”
There will be a special appetizer menu during the event and it will be Happy Hour all five hours, because as Jenn said, “It’s a happy event!”
This fundraiser gives back to those who bring a donation of food for the pantry, clothing items (think winter) or the humane society (such as gently used towels, food, toys and treats. For a complete list, visit https://midcoasthumane.org/donate/donate-supplies. Donors will receive free raffle tickets for items the following businesses/sponsors generously donated: Greenleaf Inn, Eventide, sweet bay, Boothbay Canine, Thistle Inn, Elliot & Elliot, Gimbel’s, A Silver Lining, Balmy Days Cruises, Robinson’s Wharf, the fishing vessels Knotty Girl, Anxiety, Evangeline, and Bottom Line; McSeagull’s, Pinkham’s, Boat House Bistro, Caper’s Deli, Gimbel’s Log Cabin, Grover’s Hardware, Hammond Lumber, Oak Street Cafe, Sea Glass Spa, Black River Gallery, House of Logan, Boothbay Harbor Boat Race Committee, Oasis Salon, Salty Dog Pet Outfitters, Carriage House, Tigger Leather, Boothbay Region Art Foundation, Coastal Maine Popcorn and Salt River Lobster!
Questions? Contact Kyndall at KRSchmidt@ft.newyorklife.com