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Local unions at Sappi Somerset Mill raise over $33,000 for Christmas meals and area food banks

This year marked the 13th annual Christmas Dinner Harvest
Union members from Sappi Somerset Mill in Skowhegan deliver nearly 10 tons of food to community...
Union members from Sappi Somerset Mill in Skowhegan deliver nearly 10 tons of food to community food banks.(WABI)
Published: Dec. 18, 2020 at 5:02 PM EST
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SKOWHEGAN, Maine (WABI) - Volunteers from the unions at the Sappi Somerset mill in Skowhegan sorted and delivered more than $30,000 of food to the Central Maine area Friday.

“With the pandemic and so many families out of work, we really feel pretty proud that we’re able to give something back to our community. This is really something special to these guys and girls who are out here working,” said organizer and president of USW Local 9 Patrick Carleton.

Local unions at the Sappi Somerset mill in Skowhegan teamed up Friday to give back to the local community.

This year marked their 13th annual Christmas Dinner Harvest.

Nearly 10 tons of food was passed out to area food pantries.

“We recognized that food insecurity in central Maine and the foothills was really really a challenge for a lot of families so we decided to up the ante. We started out the first year making 4,000, this year we raised $33,286,” said Carleton.

That money bought non-perishable food items and full Christmas dinners for families in need.

Patrick Carleton says every year he challenges his team to raise $2,000 more than the previous year.

“We got a good group of guys at the mill that just want to help out and it’s a good time of year for everybody to get together and show the community that we’re here to help whenever they need it, it just feels good to get all the guys together and that’s a good feeling,” said IAM 2740 President Wes Perry.

Food pantries in the Central Maine area have been working to meet the needs of their communities during the pandemic.

Skowhegan community food cupboard president Jennifer Grenier says they look forward to this delivery every year.

“They usually give us a call and we know it’s coming right before Christmas and the need right now is greater than ever so we appreciate it,” said Grenier.

“We’re just all Mainers helping Mainers, that’s what it’s about,” Carleton said.

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