The First Parish Outreach program brings social action ministry to the greater Brunswick area and the state of Maine and supports national and global ministries. The Committee represents the Church by providing leadership that encourages the whole Congregation to recognize community needs and contributes to a variety of social services, providing outreach to local, national and international agencies. The long-range goal is to devote 20% of the operating budget to outreach.
Please see below for the programs the outreach mission supports.
Habitat for Humanity
Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program
OASIS Health Network
Big Brothers/Big Sisters
Merrymeeting Aids Support Services
Brunswick Area Respite
Home to Home
Sexual Assault Support Services
Brunswick Area Interfaith Council
Our Church's Wider Mission
El Salvador Mission
Bread for the World
Carpenter's Boat Shop
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
The Bath-Brunswick area affiliate was formed in 1990 by First Parish members Judith Long and Mercie Normand. Members of the church have consistently served on its Board. First Parish, a Covenant Church, has supported Habitat financially, and has often sent volunteers to build homes in the area.
Habitat for Humanity/7 Rivers Maine meets its mission by partnering with families, businesses, and churches to provide affordable housing in the community; to ensure the health and safety of families through its repair program; to assist in weatherization; and to improve referrals and connections with other organizations in the community. It is working toward a greater understanding of what is effective in our community to get people out of sub-standard housing.
First Parish Church, a Habitat for Humanity covenant church, supports Habitat through its benevolence budget, its prayers, and the many people who volunteer, either through the church or as individuals. (First Parish Church does not need to formally support a project in order for First Parish Church parishioners to lend their energy and talents.)
Weatherization Program to start in fall, 2009. Volunteers will evaluate homes and make repairs, or help make storm windows. Training will be provided.
Habitat New Construction. Family-owned Rehab, Home Repair Programs. Helpful skills: ability to handle hammer, screw driver, drill, saw, etc.; ability to follow instructions, cooperate with other volunteers, yet be flexible. Good humor and patience help a great deal. Training available.
Also needed, individuals/companies in the trades with skills that can be donated or provided at a reduced rate: plumbing, electricity, excavation, etc.
Spring Walk. A major fundraising effort of Habitat. Need lots of people to take a walk along the Androscoggin River, hopefully on a beautiful May day (May 3, 2009); donations of food and drink for the walkers.
ReStore. A retail outlet on Centre Street in Bath which sells donated used and surplus building materials, furniture, house wares and appliances at a fraction of normal prices. Not only does this project raise funds to support the construction of Habitat houses, but also it helps the environment by re-channeling usable materials away from landfills. Needed: donated goods in good condition; volunteers to repair items, take care of stock, and serve as sales associates.
Volunteer Relations Committee. Responsible for communication and coordination among volunteers. Helpful skills or interests: "people person;" organized/detail-oriented; multi-tasking; good oral and written communication skills. Time commitment: 1.5 hour/monthly meeting; more hours as necessary per event.
Family Selection Committee. Coordination of the Family Selection process. Helpful skills or interests: "people" person; financial background; experience working with low-income families helpful. Time commitment: up to 40 hours twice a year in the spring and fall. Training available.
Family Support Committee. Assist families during the home building and purchasing processes and for one year after move-in. Helpful Skills or interests: "people" person; advocacy. Time Commitment: 2.5 hours/monthly meeting; Advocates-1 to 5 hours/month working with family. Training provided.
Office Support. Supporting the administrative and bookkeeping functions of the office on a daily or as-needed basis. Helpful skills or interests: "people" person; good oral and written communication skills; multi-tasking; organizational skills. Time commitment: 2-4 hour shifts are available, Monday through Friday. Training available.
Faith Relations. Increase awareness within the faith-based community about Habitat's mission and solicit faith-based entity support. Helpful skills or interests: "people" person; good oral and written communication skills; good coordinating skills; detail-oriented. Time commitment: monthly meeting; more hours as necessary.
Public Relations and Special Events. Assist with promotion and documentation of Habitat events. Helpful skills or interests: good oral and written communication skills; photography and/or videography; graphic artist. Time Commitment: varies - 2-6 hours/assignment. Individualized training available.
For more information: contact Michele Ober, Volunteer Coordinator, at 207-386-5081 or email at Michele@habitat7rivers.org.
Opportunities To Build Better Awareness Of Habitat Within First Parish Church
Habitat is developing an advocacy program for youth and will be in touch with FPC's church school and youth programs.
The Christian Outreach Committee can sponsor an after-church presentation by Habitat's Speaker's Bureau. It can also sponsor a presentation specific to the Harpswell build, scheduled to start this spring.
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In 1987 the Brunswick Area Church Council, now the Brunswick Area Interfaith Council, was instrumental in developing the Tedford Shelter. The Council is comprised of representatives from Protestant, Catholic and Jewish congregations in the area.
The program is dedicated to ending homelessness in the mid coast Maine. The first homeless shelter was located at 10 Pleasant Street, Brunswick. In 1999 the shelter moved to 49 Cumberland Street, Brunswick. Currently, Tedford House accommodates 20 single adults. It offers a place to sleep and two meals a day. A professional staff helps clients develop job skills, locate jobs and housing. Those clients in need of medical care are referred to the OASIS Medical Clinic. First Parish Church, along with other community churches, restaurants and individual volunteers, provides evening meals for the adult shelter 365 days per year.
In 2000 a family shelter was opened with six apartments at 34 Federal Street, Brunswick. This provides shelter for homeless families with children. Tedford has developed nineteen units of rental support housing in Bath and Brunswick. Currently it is developing 16 more units in the Lewiston Auburn area.
Assist with final preparation and serving the evening meal at the shelter (4:15-6pm)
Pick-up and delivery of meals donated by various restaurants in the community (4-4:30pm)
Being a substitute for providing an actual meal
Assist with gardening and lawn maintenance
Provide various tangible goods such as coffee, sugar, milk, Kool-Aid, laundry, frozen family style lasagnas and casseroles
Donate new white socks and sweat suits. Often, guests arrive with only the clothes they are wearing.
A significant need currently is for single beds and mattresses. The ones on site are very old and have had a great deal of use. Single bedding is also welcomed.
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MIDCOAST HUNGER PREVENTION PROGRAM
Mission: The mission of the Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program (MCHPP) is to provide food assistance, nutrition education, and referrals to households living at or below poverty in the greater Brunswick area. MCHPP serves eight communities: Brunswick, Topsham, Harpswell, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Lisbon, Lisbon Falls, and Durham.
History: The Mid Coast Hunger Prevention Program was started 25 years ago by clergy involved with the Brunswick Area Interfaith Council. The program initially started as a Soup Kitchen in St. Paul's Church, serving three meals on its first day. The Food Pantry was added ten years later. Six years ago MCHPP held a successful fund raising campaign led by Roy and Polly Greason, and now has its own building at 84A Union Street in Brunswick. Elaine Kurtz served as Board Chair during the expansion period.
Current Programs: MCHPP now includes the following programs:
Soup Kitchen which serves a hot noon meal Monday - Friday to anyone who comes to the agency,
Food Pantry which provides supplemental groceries every two weeks to households meeting certain income guidelines,
Food Bank which collects, preps, stores, and distributes perishable and non-perishable food to the Soup Kitchen, the Food Pantry, and at times, other area food assistance programs,
Reaching Elders program which delivers groceries every two weeks to home-bound seniors and disabled who meet income guidelines,
Strategies for Sustainable Living program which offers educational opportunities including cooking demonstrations, gardening classes and canning classes as well as monthly blood pressure screenings, weekly weight management classes, flu clinics and tax prep clinics.
Current Statistics: The program has come a long way from its beginning of serving those first three meals. In 2008, the Soup Kitchen served 28,313 meals. The Food Pantry provided food to 1,055 households - 382 of which had never needed help before. In the first two months of 2009 the agency is experiencing record numbers of new households needing assistance. The faces of those in need include, senior citizens living on a fixed income, the disabled, single parents trying to feed their children, the homeless, households who can't make ends meet by working minimum wage jobs, and the unemployed. Given the state of the economy, these numbers are only expected to rise.
First Parish Involvement: First Parish Church has a generous history of donating canned goods and other foods on a weekly basis to the program. Donations should be put in the wooden bin in the vestry. For several years First Parish Church, with the impetus and enthusiasm of the Sue and Mark Wild family, has participated in the MCHPP Thanksgiving basket program, providing dozens of Thanksgiving meals to those who otherwise would not have one.
Over the years First Parish members have also been generous with their time, serving on the Board of Directors and volunteering in the programs of the agency. Currently, Amanda Similien serves as the Board chair. Many First Parish members are currently serving as volunteers in the program. It takes a minimum of 107 volunteers each week to run the program. New volunteers are always welcomed.
Volunteer Opportunities: Volunteers can sign up to work once a month, twice a month, or once a week. Volunteers can work in the Soup Kitchen, the Food Pantry, and/or the Food Bank. Volunteers can help with the educational program, with special projects such as mailings, or serve on a committee.
Current volunteer opportunities include the following:
Soup Kitchen volunteers who prep the noon meal, serve the meal and clean-up after the meal.
Food Pantry volunteers who work Monday, Wednesday or Friday helping Food Pantry clients make their selections of perishable food,
Food Bank volunteers who sort, clean and prep perishable food when it comes in and sort non-perishables into household size boxes,
Drivers who pick-up food in the morning at local stores,
In addition, if you are an expert on a topic that you think would be a good addition to the educational program; if you enjoy folding letters, labeling and stuffing envelopes; if you would like to share your experience in Development, Finance, Facilities Management, or Education; then volunteering at MCHPP may be just for you.
If you are interested in volunteering, please call Cyndy Carney, Executive Director, or Gina Vickers, Executive Assistant, at 725-2716. For more information, visit the MCHPP website at www.mchpp.org.
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OASIS HEALTH NETWORK
In 1992, Dr. Peter McGuire, now Director of OASIS Health Clinic, served on the Tedford-OASIS Board and started a one evening a week medical clinic. The clinic convened in a room at the Tedford House Administrative Office, located on Middle Street in Brunswick. Care was offered by one doctor and one nurse each evening.
Dr. Dean & Rev. Alice Davies arrived in Brunswick in 1992, and shortly thereafter Dr. Davies offered to help Dr. McGuire with the Clinic. Dr. Davies joined the clinic staff, chaired the Board, applied for grants and recruited additional doctors and other staff members. The clinic was no longer limited to Tedford residents. It was open to the community for people without medical coverage.
In 1994, Dr. John Kanwit, originally at the clinic with Dr. McGuire, persuaded Mid Coast Hospital to donate space for the growing clinic. After several years there, OASIS located at Parkview Hospital Professional Building. Today it is located at a building owned by Mid Coast Hospital.
Today, Oasis Health Network provides care for those members of our community who are uninsured even though they may have jobs. 75% of the people helped by Oasis do have jobs but have low incomes. Help is available in the form of clinics for diabetes, other chronic diseases and dental care. Prescription help is also available. Oasis works closely with area hospitals and refers clients to specialists as needed. There is a waiting list for people to receive care especially for the dental clinic.
Volunteer Opportunities: This program is managed mostly by volunteers with a small paid staff. Skills/Interest needed: filing, computer data entry, grant writing, medical experience (doctors, dentists, nurses, dental hygienists).
The Oasis Health Network is open from 7AM to 4:30/5:30PM Monday through Friday, when the various support clinics meet, and is open Tuesday evenings for individual health care treatment.
Their website is www.oasishealthnetwork.com
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BIG BROTHERS/BIG SISTERS
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bath/Brunswick area was started in the 1980's by members of the Social Action Committee of First Parish Church. Although the involvement by parishioners has become more distant since the local organization joined the national organization, members of First Parish are active participating volunteers. The two programs most supported by volunteers from the church are the Community Match Program and the School-based Mentoring Programs.
Each of these programs matches an adult to an individual child in need of supportive adult friendship. The two differ in that the school-based program includes weekly activities carried out only on the school campus while the community match program extends over the entire community.
The mission statement of the organization follows:
"Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bath/Brunswick is a community resource dedicated to supporting stable, enriching friendships between children and adult mentors. We believe that through establishing strong one-on-one relationships we can help children grow into caring, competent and confident adults." See www.bbbsbathbrun.org
The website continues:
"Affiliated with Big Brothers of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bath/Brunswick provides adult and teen mentors to children, primarily from single-parent households of low income, in Brunswick, Harpswell, and Sagadahoc County. The programs match children "Littles" with adult "Bigs," who act as mentors by providing friendship, support and guidance during the child's critical childhood and adolescent years. Careful screening of the "Bigs" is provided by social work professionals who also supervise, evaluate, and monitor the matches over time, in order to ensure the most effective service possible. Studies show that kids included in ordinary activities with their Bigs, just a few hours per month, experience significant improvements in self-esteem, overall behavior and hope for the future.
In 2008, 696 children supported by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bath/Brunswick were matched with adult and teen mentors from local communities in Bath, Brunswick and Sagadahoc County."
Volunteer Opportunities: Additional mentors are always welcome.
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MERRYMEETING AIDS SUPPORT SERVICES
Merrymeeting Aids has been in existence for the past fifteen years. It provides HIV/AIDS, STD and Hepatitis education, counseling, testing and referral.
The organization advocates for preventive education and social change. Its mission is to impact the underlying beliefs, attitudes and prejudices that allow HIV infection to spread in the community. Merrymeeting Aids has a strict confidentiality policy to protect the client.
A web site is available at www.merrymeetingaids.org.
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Respite Care is an adult day service in the community, which provides supportive care to individuals and their families who face life changes due to aging. The program offers activities for the participant and a time away for the caregiver, who may be caring for a family member or friend twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Margaret Hutchins of First Parish Church was instrumental in beginning this service in 1989. Margaret arrived from California, after caring for her mother and seeing the need for a day respite. Finding no established program in this area, Margaret began networking and an adult day service was developed at the United Methodist Church in Brunswick. Margaret continues to volunteer at Respite Care.
The service is provided daily from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. During the year, an Alzheimer Support Group is held along with other programs related to aging. Many families have reaped the benefits of this ever so important community program.
Volunteers (training provided); occasional
assistance in publicizing events or need for volunteers.
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HOME to HOME
Home to Home is an organization designed for children of divorced parents. One parent will drop the child off to the other parent, and the parents will not see or communicate with one another. The parent with the child is met at one door, and the child is walked to another door and given to the other parent. This procedure is mandated by the courts. This program was started by the AAUW, and Barbara Norton, of First Parish was very instrumental in its beginnings. The program has had various homes, Brunswick Naval Air Station, Pilgrim House and now MidCoast Hospital, all providing a safe place for the child. There is one paid employee who recruits and trains volunteers approximately 10 to 15 hours per week. The program operates Wednesday and Friday nights and weekends. It is currently serving 15 families, and most children are under school age. Susan Wild of First Parish currently coordinates the program.
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SEXUAL ASSAULT SUPPORT SERVICES OF MIDCOAST MAINE
The mission of Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Mine (SASSMM) is to provide support and advocacy to survivors of sexual assault; to provide community awareness and response; and to provide prevention education regarding sexual violence. Formed in 1983, it serves the counties of eastern Cumberland, Sagadahoc, and Lincoln. They now have 7 staff people who coordinate services and fundraising. See www.sassmm.org for more information.
SASSMM supports a hotline and trained volunteers who provide crisis support and advocacy to survivors of sexual assault. They also provide referrals to support professionals, as well as support groups for survivors. They have recently offered a full-time advocate at five area law enforcement agencies to provide on-going support and referrals for sexual assault survivors. In 2005, they served over 1000 people affected by sexual assault.
SASSMM offers training and education programs to businesses, organizations and schools to explain the many forms of sexual assault, and how to address this growing issue. These programs reached 4538 school students and staff, and 1893 non-school community members in 2005.
First Parish members have participated on the Board of this organization for many years. Dodie Jones served as president for a number of years.
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Jill Miller, a member of First Parish who was dying of cancer sought help from then pastor, John Wild, to address the lack of support for those in situations like hers. First Parish members Frank and Debbie Lunblad and Tiny Drier, and Linda Kelly were the driving force behind starting Hospice in this area. Other members gave time and talents over the next 30 years.
Several First Parish parishioners are active in the organization itself, many parishioners volunteer with Hospice, and Hospice has given special training to our lay pastoral callers who are on call to use these skills.
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BRUNSWICK AREA INTERFAITH COUNCIL
The Brunswick Area Interfaith Council is an organization for lay and clergy of many of the faiths represented in the Brunswick area: Catholic, Baptist, Episcopal, Methodist. Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, Jewish, Seventh Day Adventists, and Quakers. The Council was first organized in 1956. Over the years it has been more or less useful, depending on the needs of the time.
When it has been most valuable it has provided spiritual guidance to the community at a time of crisis, such as the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York City, and it has speared headed important developments such as Tedford Shelter; pastoral care at Regional Hospital, which changed into the various services now at Mid Coast Hospital; the soup kitchen and food bank. precursor of the MidCoast Hunger Prevention Program, Pejepscot Terrace Housing, and Adult Respite Care. At this time the position of president and at least 2 of its lay members are filled by First Parish Church parishioners
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Connections is a mentoring program for Junior and Senior High school students. Caring adults from the community attend a series of training sessions. to become volunteer mentors. The adult is then matched with a young person, who is in need of encouragement in coping with the challenges of life. All activities occur on school grounds during school hours.
In the late 1990's First Parish worked with other churches in the community to form a Board of Directors. Rev. William Imes was instrumental in the development of this program first held at Brunswick High and Junior High Schools. Later, the program reached to Mt. Ararat High and Middle schools. Funds initially came from the local Rotary Club for games, field trips and training programs. First Parish Church currently provides funding for this program.
In recent years, Big Brothers/Big Sisters developed a mentoring program, and now Connections volunteers serve primarily in Brunswick High School. Brunswick High School guidance counselor and First Parish member, Christina Ring works closely with Rev. Oren Schroeder (also of First Parish) to manage the program. At present there are fifteen volunteer mentors.
Volunteer Opportunities: Adult volunteers are always welcomed and certified by the program. When the school guidance counselor determines a student might benefit from the relationship with a mentor, the counselor matches the volunteer to a student, and the relationship begins.
For more information call Oren Schroeder, 729-4413; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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OUR CHURCH'S WIDER MISSION
Our Church's Wider Mission is the program of the United Church of Christ through which we do the work beyond the local church: through the Maine State Conference, national ministries, and UCC-related institutions. We give financial support to Our Church's Wider Mission that makes this broader mission possible.
What First Parish Church determines to give to Our Church's Wider Mission, directly impacts the levels of funding for the Maine State Conference and for UCC national ministries. As a national organization with distribution avenues already in place, Our Church's Wider Mission is an efficient way to help those in need.
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In 1987, a work group from the UCC Norwell, MASS went to El Salvador for the first time. In 1990, Valerie Ricker, then living in MASS, went with the Norwell group. In 1999, Valerie, now in Brunswick, was joined by Susan Chadima, and together they went with the Norwell group. In 2000, a work group left from First Parish Church, thus the beginning of an annual outreach trip to El Salvador.
ASAPROSAR (Asociacion Salvadorena Pro Salud Rural/Salvadoran Association for Rural Health) was founded in 1985 by Dr.Vicky Guzman, a native of El Salvador. Dr.Vicky was very concerned about people in need of health care and preventive medicine, as she worked in remote mountainous areas of El Salvador. ASAPROSAR was not an easy accomplishment for Dr. Vicky, amidst the strife of ongoing civil war in her country.
The mission remains to help villagers improve their health and well-being. The guiding principle of ASAPROSAR is the empowerment of the people to be involved in solving the problems within their communities. Depending on funding, the number served yearly by ASAPROSAR ranges from 30,000 to 90,000. ASAPROSAR relies primarily on government funding. The amount of funding depends on the amount of foreign aid received by El Salvador, and how the current political party in El Salvador establishes spending priorities.
ASAPROSAR's future goals are to maintain and expand funding to the services they provide. These services are Rural Health Care and Education, Rural Pre-school Program, Barefoot Angels' Urban Youth Program, Eye Care at the Vicky Guzman Clinic and Sustainable Agriculture.
For additional information about ASAPROSAR web site: asaprosar.org. The website has links to other organizations that provide support to ASAPROSAR.
assist with construction projects in Santa Ana, El Salvador;
assistance raising money for construction projects; assistance raising
money to subsidize costs for the people participating in the work camp.
Needed Donated Materials (school supplies, used clothing and shoes in
good condition, used eye glasses, toys and sample toiletries-hotel
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BREAD FOR THE WORLD
Bread for the World is a nationwide Christian movement that seeks justice for the world's hungry people by lobbying our nation's decision makers.
In October 1972, a small group of Catholics and Protestants met to reflect on how persons of faith could be mobilized to influence U.S. policies that address the causes of hunger. Under the leadership of the Reverend Arthur Simon, the group began to test the idea in the spring of 1974. By year's end, more than 500 people had joined the ranks of Bread for the World as citizen advocates for hungry people. This small group has grown to a nationwide movement of more than 56,000 members.
First Parish Church became a member of Bread for the World in 2005. Members of the congregation participated in the letter writing campaign in the fall of 2005, helping to stop Congress from pushing hundreds of thousands of hardworking people and their children off the Food Stamp Program.
Representatives of the Christian Outreach Committee meet with other member churches in the Bath/Brunswick area to learn more how to affect relief from world hunger. They also organize a yearly "gift" of letter writing effort in concert with the national Bread for the World organization.
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THE CARPENTER'S BOAT SHOP
The program was established by Bobbie and Ruth Ives in 1979. Bobbie sang in the First Parish Church Choir, while attending Bowdoin College. He completed graduate studies in theology, was ordained a UCC minister and served Monhegan Island, New Haven and Round Pond congregations before starting The Boat Shop.
Bobby created his own ministry while working with young people who lived in the Ives' home. They built fine wooden boats while building there own lives into ones of peace and love.
There are currently 10 apprentices in the nine month program. There is no charge for the apprenticeship and no pay for the work done. The aim is to live in creative simplicity.
Apprentices are people in transition. Some go onto seminary, while others continue with boatbuilding or branch off into building furniture, music instruments, or houses. All are expected to be involved with community service while at The Boat Shop.
The Boat Shop is supported by the sale of the boats built by the apprentices and by generous gifts of many people. Today the apprentice community may consist of ministers on sabbatical, students on break from academic studies, business people looking for balance in their lives and retirees looking for new skills.
From Judy Bauman- I had a delightful phone conversation with Ruth, and she forwarded some requested materials to me. Included was a note saying, "We always appreciate and enjoy a visit from First Parish parishioners, so we shall keep the tea water going in case you can join us at 10AM one day!" Millie Jones, Bill Imes and other folks from our church visited The Boat Shop 6-7 years ago.
Donated items needed (heavy duty, commercial
grade, or contractor grade): porta cable sawzall, food processor,
one-way brand lathe, Baldor bench grinder, DMT coarse diamond stone,
6 adjustable combo squares, brush hog-field mowing unite , Toro
lawn and garden tractor, corded 1/2 drills, jig saw, lathe turning
tools, Tormek sharpening system, 3 metal rulers, quick grip clamps.
For Sale: Beautifully made wooden boats catspaw dinghy, Maine Coast
peapod, Monehegan skiffs,; and Ladder back and Adirondack chairs. Log
carriers and shaker boxes can be ordered.
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