Living as an immigrant in Maine can mean a lot of things that most of us can't really imagine. For example, many of our new immigrant neighbors spend hours (and hours) every day walking from appointments with local state offices to places where their needs might be met. 

The Root Cellar is one of those places. Hundreds of neighbors join us for our Clothing and Household Goods Distribution every month. Watching them line up for the program weekly, with kids and friends in tow - we realize even more clearly how very important this program is.

While Marguerite* is so thankful for a peaceful country to live in, she is challenged by the prospect of providing for her family. Recently we had an opportunity to visit Marguerite in her home and found that they were living very simply, with blankets stretched out on floor and bags of clothing around the room. The couch they had just gotten from a friend was the centerpiece of the home, and the kids crowded around to show off their new 'living room,' insisting that we sit down while they make us tea.

While participants pay a small amount to fill a bag at The Clothing and Household Goods Distribution, we find that they often are looking for items for many friends and family members as well. 

"Going to America is like going to heaven," one young many said to us. "After living in Africa with all the voilence and war that surrounded us, it has been amazing to come to a country where we are received and loved." "The Root Cellar," his mom added, "has been a family to us. We feel we are loved here and we have a place to find help, to give help, to be a part of everything."

"I feel like I'm the one who gets the most out of this," says Julie who volunteers in the program. "I meet so many amazing people and I'm constantly inspired by their determination and perseverance."