National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day


Imagine spending the longest night of the year on the streets with no place to call home…

The Lewiston/Auburn Alliance for Services to the Homeless (LAASH) and New Beginnings invite the community to join their annual candlelight vigil to remember homeless people during
the holiday season from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Friday, December 21, in downtown Lewiston.

For more than 10 years, LAASH and New Beginnings have held the vigil as part of a national movement of cities marking National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day on or near the winter solstice, the first day of winter and the longest night of the year.

Please meet at 4:30 p.m. in the courtyard of the Trinity Jubilee Center at Trinity Episcopal Church. The courtyard entrance is on Spruce Street near the corner with Bates Street. Vigil
participants are invited to bring nonperishable and canned food which will be collected at Trinity.

After a few words and lighting of candles, vigil participants will walk several blocks down Bates Street to Main Street. The procession will turn right on Main Street and continue up Sabattus Street and stop in front of Calvary United Methodist Church in the triangle between Sabattus, College, and Bartlett streets. Vigil participants are encouraged to bring signs to hold as the vigil remains in front of Calvary to raise awareness of homelessness to passersby during the evening commute.

Participants are invited to join the vigil at any point, and groups from businesses and service providers near the route are especially encouraged to join as the vigil passes.

Refreshments donated by Hurricane’s and the Bread Shack will be available indoors at Calvary. Staff from New Beginnings will provide van service back to Jubilee or the Park Street garage as needed.

The route is near local services for low-income and homeless people in downtown Lewiston:

. New Beginnings operates support services and housing for youth, including a drop-in center, 245 Lisbon, and 24-hour emergency shelter at 491 Main St., 795-4077.
. Trinity Jubilee Center, 247 Bates St., provides daily meals and food, a warming center, refugee assistance, and resources to those in need, 782-5700.
. The Nutrition Center, 208 Bates St., includes St. Mary’s Food Pantry, youth and gardening programs, and cooking and nutrition education programs, 513-3848.
. The Center for Wisdom’s Women, 97 Blake St., includes a women’s day drop-in center with activities, workshops, and support groups, 513-3922.
. The City Mission group at Calvary Church, 59 Sabattus St., serves hot supper downstairs 4:30-5:30 pm Wednesdays and breakfast 7:30-8:30 am Sundays, 782-3221.

Each year since 1990, the National Coalition for the Homeless has co-sponsored National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day to bring attention to the tragedy of homelessness. In an effort
to maximize the impact of the day, organizers have encouraged statewide and local groups such as LAASH to hold events of their own. Last year, more than 152 cities across the nation
sponsored events to recommit to the task of ending homelessness.

LAASH is a collaborative made up of organizations that serve local low-income and homeless
people. LAASH, along with the United Way of Androscoggin County and other local supporters,
has launched a 10-year plan to end homelessness in Lewiston-Auburn. For more than 30
years, New Beginnings has kept youth off the streets through their shelter, housing, and
outreach programs.

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