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UMFK SNO donates to area shelter

December 19, 2007

NR07104

Three students from University of Maine at Fort Kent Student Nurses Organization (SNO) will present a check to the Sister Mary O’Donnel Shelter in Presque Isle. Susan Mitchell, director of the shelter, will accept the donation on Thursday, December 20.   

Every year in December, SNO contributes funds to a charitable cause.  This year the members voted to contribute to the food pantry in Fort Kent and the Sister Mary O’Donnell Shelter in Presque Isle.              

Members of SNO, Kerry Ann Berube, president; Andrew Donovan, vice present and Keisha Hartt, secretary will present the check to Mitchell at the shelter at 1 p.m.             

The Sister Mary O’Donnell Shelter is located at 745 Central Drive in Presque Isle.  It is a temporary shelter and is the only outreach, emergency, and homeless shelter north of Bangor.              

Berube notes, that Mitchell sees families that cannot make ends meet on minimum wage because of the cost of rents, food, gas, oil, etc.  People who stay at the shelter are given three meals a day, as well as personal toiletries, which are donated.            

"It is in times when charities assisting the impoverished have the greatest need that they have the fewest contributors. Economic pressures, such as increasing mortgage rates, gas and fuel oil prices spiraling upward, uninsured medical expenses, which push people into homelessness, also limit the ability of most to be charitable. With this in mind, there is no more deserving recipient of the charitable work of the University of Maine at Fort Kent Student Nursing Organization (SNO) than the Sister Mary O'Donnell Shelter for the Homeless,” said Berube.              

It is required by the shelter that individuals need to be doing job searches five out of seven days per week and are encouraged to seek the help of the Career Center in Presque Isle to get back on their feet during their stay.  Individuals, who have some sort of income such as disability, are encouraged to do housing searches.        

Current funding sources for the shelter include approximately $22,000 in HUD monies through Maine State Housing Authority which will be less in 2008, due to budget cuts.  The shelter also receives FEMA money (about $6,000 per year), some appropriations from the town, churches, individual sources and organizations.                        

“SNO’s gift represents hundreds of hours of volunteer efforts the student nurses.  ‘Nurses care.’ This gift at this time to the Homeless Shelter exemplifies the quality of caring which the nursing program at UMFK seeks to instill in its students. All of the SNO members are pleased to be able to collectively make this timely gift to such a worthy cause," noted Berube.             

The Student Nurses Organization is comprised of all undergraduate nursing students who are pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing and are enrolled at UMFK.  The current officers of SNO are: President-Kerry Ann Berube, Vice President-Andrew Donovan, Secretary-Keisha Hartt, Treasurer-Angela Voisine, Public Relations/Historian-Nic Chasse, and Projects Coordinator-Lindsay Cyr.               

SNO is involved in community affairs and activities towards improved health care and the resolution of social issues through education, such as educating the public on breast health; diabetes; HIV; HPV and vaccine; cardiac health and child abuse prevention, etc.  The organization also holds blood drives and fundraisers.