2019-01-10 / Front Page

Saco hotel holds donation drive

By Abigail Worthing
Staff Writer


Melissa Lannon, left, and Robin Dimitrova are two of three members of Saco Hampton Cares, a charitable organization led by employees at the Saco Hampton Inn on Industrial Park Road in Saco. The group hosted a donation drive on Jan. 6 and 7. They, along with Melissa Cox (not pictured) collected, sorted and laundered donations to benefit Seeds of Hope in Biddeford. (Abigail Worthing photo) Melissa Lannon, left, and Robin Dimitrova are two of three members of Saco Hampton Cares, a charitable organization led by employees at the Saco Hampton Inn on Industrial Park Road in Saco. The group hosted a donation drive on Jan. 6 and 7. They, along with Melissa Cox (not pictured) collected, sorted and laundered donations to benefit Seeds of Hope in Biddeford. (Abigail Worthing photo) SACO – The Saco Hampton Cares project, a charitable, employee-led organization founded through the Saco Hampton Inn on Industrial Park Road, hosted a donation drive over the weekend for Seeds of Hope Neighborhood Center on South Street in Biddeford.

Over the course of the two-day drive on Sunday, Jan. 6. and Monday, Jan. 7, the team collected all manner of donations for the center, from toiletries and blankets to clothing for men, women and children.

On Monday night, Melissa Lannon, chairman of Saco Hampton Cares, manned tables inside the Saco Hampton Inn. Lannon is a Saco resident and has been active on the committee since its inception in winter 2017. Lannon said while Monday had been on the slower side, the day previous had been nonstop.

“We had read a post on Facebook that Seeds of Hope was in desperate need of men’s clothing, so that was the inspiration behind us doing our first donation drive here,” Lannon said.

The Saco Hampton Cares project began in November 2017, after the Saco Hampton Inn took notice of the community involvement of other Hampton Inn properties. “Every year there’s a conference in Bar Harbor for all the Hampton Inn employees. When the Saco team came back, we realized that a lot of the other properties were very involved in the community, with photos to share from fundraisers and community events and basketball games,” Lannon said. “The team decided it was time to get involved for themselves and so Saco Hampton Cares was born.”

The week’s donation drive was the first for Saco Hampton Cares. It usually focuses on its annual “adopt a family” fund, which culminates at Christmastime.

The team works with the Salvation Army in Old Orchard Beach to be paired with a family, working under the umbrella of its larger adoptive family project.

“Every year we go to them and they’ll ask us what our budget is and how many family members we’d like to have,” Lannon said. “This year, we hosted a family of six.”

To benefit the fund, the organization hosts craft fairs during summer and winter. Fees to host a craft table, proceeds from concessions, silent auction and 50/50 raffle go to the fund. This past Christmas the fund raised $1,400, of which the team spent $270 on presents for the family. The team retains $100 for a “slush fund” to ensure the program can continue. The rest of the proceeds went to the family.

The three person Saco Hampton Cares team, which includes of Lannon, Robin Dimitrova and Melissa Cox, were thrilled with the outcome of the drive. “Considering the idea for this donation drive was hatched a little less than two months ago, we are so happy with the turnout. It’s really exciting,” said Dimitrova, who has worked for the Saco Hampton in for 11 years.

The team plans to meet again in coming weeks for a retrospective and to decide what they will do next for the community.

“It’s important to us that we’re visible and part of the community,” Lannon said.

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