Celebrating and Honoring Abundance of our Community


Dear Friends,

It is truly spectacular the way autumn shows up in the sky, the air, and on the ground. Summer is a time when gardens are bursting with flowers and fresh foods, but I always look forward to those early fall days when things that have been quietly blooming and ripening begin to unfold. 

My grandparents had a pear tree that was hardly even noticeable until October when the hard, green fruit would turn a deep yellow, producing bushels of juicy, sweet fruit. They climbed as high as they could on a ladder to pick them and reached the furthest with a homemade fruit picker-a large juice can, wired to the end of a tall pole. The pears were washed, peeled and canned, to be savored through the year until the next summer when fresh fruits were again plentiful. For me, that is abundance-not just the bushels of pears, but the voices, smells, and tastes so powerful they leave indelible memories.

When the City of Portland welcomed more than 250 asylum seekers this past summer, we witnessed a different kind of abundance. Volunteers signed up, donations were made, food was prepared-an abundance of compassion and warmth. City employees joined forces with not for profits and volunteers to ensure that people were taken care of, plans were made for housing, and other important needs like culturally appropriate food, schooling for the children, medical care, and translation services. I'm happy that Wayside could be a part of it, and proud that my fellow Portlanders shared their abundance with our newest community members. This holiday season, we invite you to reflect and share where and how you see and experience abundance. 

Mary Zwolinski
Executive Director
Wayside Food Programs


Your Reflection on Abundance

Communities across Maine epitomize the definition of abundance in so many ways, through celebration and crises. Situations like the unplanned influx of asylum seekers to Portland this past summer helped us all to realize the immense abundance in this state, filled with neighbors who are humbly willing to share. The migrants who arrived at the Expo with little or no personal belongings, future plan, or even the ability to secure basic human needs were fortunate enough to experience it first-hand. Welcomed, I'm sure, given the difficult circumstances and arduous journey that brought them here. It's not that we're an affluent state that is equipped to handle these types of events, because we aren't. It's not that we knew exactly what to do, because we didn't. We relied on our combined abundance of compassion, knowledge, and motivation to ensure that our neighbors were, and continue to be, treated with dignity while they are here. With those values in mind, everything came together. 

Sherri Stevens, Food Rescue Partner

We are alike. Usually humble. Sometimes jealous. Mostly brave. Occasionally scared.
We are different. Native. Foreign. Young. Old.
We are a community of love, generosity, passion and support.
Through thousands of stories and laughter at community meals we see the richness of love.
Through tons of food donations we see the wealth of generosity. 
Through countless, thoughtfull, community-driven programing we see the spirit of passion.
Through the numerous partnerships we see the culture of support. We are Wayside. An abundant, powerful force.

Tessa Peterson, Wayside Board Member

Quand je pense à l'abondance que partage cette communauté, je suis reconnaissant à l'équipe des programmes alimentaires de Wayside pour son accueil chaleureux et tout ce que Wayside a fait pour nous aider à nous sentir chez nous. Je remercie pour leurs contributions à moi et à ma famille, et à l'aide qu'ils nous ont apportée, en ce qui concerne la nourriture et les vêtements. Je suis très reconnaissant de rencontrer et de connaître Wayside et tous ceux qui travaillent dans cette communauté, ainsi que pour toute l'aide que vous m'avez apportée, ainsi qu'à ma famille. Je vous remercie d'avoir été bénis si abondamment.

When I think of the abundance this community shares, I am grateful to the team at Wayside Food Programs for their warmest welcome to us and for everything Wayside has done to help us feel at home. I give thanks for their contributions to me and my family, and the help they give us, with regard to food and clothing. I am so grateful to meet and know Wayside and everyone who works in this community and all the help that you shared with me and my family. I give thanks that we all have been blessed so abundantly.

Mabulu F. & Sylvie M., Volunteers


Unum has a long history of making a difference in people's lives, from our customers to our employees — and, just as importantly, to the communities where we live, work and play. Maine is such a unique state. With all four distinct seasons, the oceans, lakes, and mountains, we are blessed with some of the most breathtaking scenery in the country. But there’s also a strong sense of pride and community in each town and city. There is a strong familial presence – and you rarely see someone who’s not willing to lend a helping hand. And Unum is proud to support the true essence of what being a “Mainer” is all about through our different community initiatives.

Unum, Corporate Partner