IT IS THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN!
As most of you know, this is the time of year when Non-Profit organizations ask for Annual Appeal Donations. We are no exception.
We felt it would be good time to “re-introduce” ourselves for you. The Mid-Coast Recovery Coalition (MCRC) was established in April 2016 by our founder, Dr. Ira Mandel, a family physician, who was the only doctor in Knox County treating drug addiction (other than the local methadone clinic). He recognized that most people with addiction lived with chronic anxiety due to living in unhealthy environments and situations. Without addressing the underlying reasons for their drug addictions, most people could not break their cycle of substance use. Fundraising began and its first “recovery coaches” were trained to help people and their families find the help that they needed. Contrary to most other organizations involved in helping people with substance use disorder, all of MCRC’s programs were offered to the public regardless of availability of insurance and were offered at no charge.
In 2018, MCRC was presented with an opportunity by a donor to purchase a three-story house in Rockland to be converted to a “recovery residence” for men. This donor had first hand experience seeing many good men have addiction relapsed after release from jail or prison due to lack of a safe and supportive home. In July 2018 the first resident moved into “The Friends House” and the house was home to 4 men in short order, the maximum allowed by the City of Rockland at that time due to fire code issues with the stairs.
On November 19, 2018, the foundation was poured to create a new fire code compliant stair tower that allowed 8 more men to reside in The Friends House. The stair tower was completed and a dedication ceremony was held in June, 2020 in memory of Ryan Gamage. Ryan was instrumental in the planning and construction of the project and wished to complete the construction for the benefit of many men in recovery.
In 2019, MCRC established a relationship with “63 Washington” a nonprofit organization that owned another 3-story home in Camden that was ideal to be used as a recovery residence for women and their children. After an active fundraising campaign, we were very fortunate to have raised funding to purchase the home and began providing a recovery residence for women and their children.
MCRC has continued to offer housing and help with substance abuse to all that have shown a desire to take control of this disease. We do not discriminate because of past circumstances, or financial situations. Providing they have a true passion for getting the help they need, we have room and they can follow house rules, we admit them to our sober living homes. It usually takes an average of 2 months for the new residents to obtain a source to pay for room and board as a lot of our residents are just getting out of being incarcerated. During the time with us, they learn how to live on their own, be a respectful and contributing member of the community, and how to live without the addiction that had controlled their lives.
MCRC has come a long way in the 6 short years we have been in existence. This year we have had 40 residents living in the two houses. Of these residents, 9 men have left for stable housing, 2 have left for programs closer to their homes, 2 women have left for other housing and 1 has stayed on to provide help with the residents. Several have been able to get their drivers licenses’ restored and most have found gainful employment. We have partnered with the Herren project to help men leaving treatment find sober living and have had 3 men be able to go on cross country trips to visit family they hadn’t seen in years. MCRC is also very proud to be able to reunite families with their loved ones! A quote from a parent was “thank you for giving us back our daughter”.
I believe our biggest success this year was becoming the first men’s house to work with DHHS to help fathers get their children back. One of our dads was able to regain custody of his 9 year old daughter, find sobriety and move into his own apartment. We are very proud to offer a safe place in both houses for resident’s children to visit, and stay with their parents if allowed by courts.
The Friends House also received their second perfect annual MARR (Maine Association of Recovery Residences).
MCRC does receive room and board from those that can pay, has several fundraisers per year, and does receive some grants, however, to continue to be a successful part of the community, we need your help to cover the costs of running these sober living houses.
Let us change the stigma of addiction together!
We are asking for your help to continue our work on addiction here in the Midcoast, for without donations, we would not be able to continue telling our success stories.
ANY AMOUNT will be appreciated!
Mailing address for donations – PO Box 1002, Camden, ME 04843
The Staff and Board of Midcoast Recovery Coalition