‘Bridging the Gap’ in Augusta and Needed Community Support
Bridging the Gap (BTG) needs community support! They are closed until they get planning board approval to be at the Eastern Ave location. So, there is going to be a follow-up public hearing with regards to BTG’s services at the proposed Eastern Avenue location is scheduled for Tuesday May 22nd at 7 pm at Augusta City Center.
What they need right now is community support to get the approval they need to continue to help those in need in our community. If you support their mission and are a community member that supports this move, Bridging the Gap needs you to show up and voice your support at the meeting on the 22nd or write a letter of support.
On May 8th City of Augusta Planning Board session where BTG was looking for the approval for conditional use of 209 Eastern Avenue resulted in tabling the vote until a later date. There were some concerns voiced about BTG being at that location. Here is the link to a KJ story about some neighborhood concerns.
Below is a copy of Sarah Millers public letter...Sarah is 'Bridging The Gap' Project Director. This talks more on what is going on and how YOU can help!
Silver lining regarding the May 8th Planning Board decision:
I am the director of the Bridging the Gap (BTG) program of Emmanuel Lutheran Episcopal Church.
The May 8th City of Augusta Planning Board session at which BTG sought approval for conditional use of 209 Eastern Avenue resulted in tabling the vote until a later date.
Therefore, all services of BTG are suspended.
The suspension of services and potential closure altogether has significant consequences. BTG includes Addie’s Attic Clothing Bank which has been in existence for 20 years, providing emergency and non-emergency clothing needs to over 700 households each year; Everyday Basic Essentials Pantry which provides critical hygiene products to about 500 households; the Augusta Community Warming Center which has offered a safe daytime environment to those without shelter and to those seeking social interaction since 2009; resource connection and general support for those seeking a more stable situation; and a volunteer program for individuals who want to build skills and give back.
BTG is a partner program of the United Way of Kennebec Valley and has relationships with agencies and institutions including Kennebec Behavioral Health, MaineGeneral’s Assertive Community Treatment, Goodwill Industries of Northern New England, Bread of Life Ministries and the LINC Wellness Center.
The primary mission of BTG is to interact and work with individuals on becoming the healthiest version of themselves. This looks different for everyone who walks through our doors and may not meet what is typically acceptable to society. We welcome and interact with an array of human beings from a variety of backgrounds who are navigating complex circumstances.
We do not condone hateful or threatening language or unsafe behavior. We do, however, understand that when humans are struggling and frustrated and trying to connect the dots, it can come across as scary and messy. We also celebrate the diversity among our guests and have been privileged to discover the creative talents, intelligent minds, generous spirits and hardworking natures of those who enter our building.
The silver lining of the delayed decision is that more people can get involved in the conversation about poverty, homelessness and social services in the Augusta area. This is not just a one-program issue. Nor is it just a church ministry issue. It is a community and human issue.
I implore those who support the role of BTG to use their voices and those who are fearful and skeptical to listen with open minds and hearts. The well-being of many amazing human beings who are members of our community is at stake.
The follow-up public hearing with regards to the continuation of BTG’s services at the proposed Eastern Avenue location is scheduled for Tuesday May 22nd at 7 pm at Augusta City Center. We look forward to your presence.
Sincerely, Sarah Miller