YCAN Letter to Yarmouth

December 2, 2020

Dear YCAN friend,

As 2020 comes to a close, we would like to update you on several YCAN efforts over the past year. YCAN has continued to work on our mission: to connect people in Yarmouth with needed resources and build community by encouraging volunteerism and collaborating with other community-based groups when appropriate. Many of our programs look different in 2020 due to the pandemic.

In this unprecedented year, we have collaborated with the Yarmouth Community Coronavirus Task Force to make Covid information available and address needs related to the pandemic in our community. More information about the task force can be found on the Yarmouth Community Coronavirus Task Force facebook page, BeWellYarmouth.org, and this website.

YCAN continues to work to alleviate local food insecurity. The Yarmouth Community Food Pantry serves approximately 70 families. The pantry is open every Tuesday and Friday from 10:00 until noon and has initiated weekly deliveries to a small number of patrons. The Food Pantry coordinates the delivery of monthly Senior food boxes, along with the preparation and distribution of Thanksgiving and Project Holiday food baskets. Please visit the Yarmouth Community Food Pantry Facebook page or the YCAN website for an updated list of items most needed at the Food Pantry. In collaboration with Yarmouth Community Services and Yarmouth Schools, YCAN and the pantry support the efforts of Lunch Crunch, a program aimed at addressing summertime food insecurity for school-age children, and the Nutrition Closet, a program aimed at addressing weekend food insecurity for school-age children. YCAN further supported local school families with food resources this past spring when schools closed as a result of the pandemic.

As the cold weather sets in, YCAN’s Operation Bundle Up is in need of clean, gently-used winter coats, hats, gloves/ mittens and boots for children and adults. We have drop-off boxes at the Merrill Memorial Library and Yarmouth Community Services. YCAN has also continued to support the fuel assistance fund and weatherization projects for those in need. Each winter, YCAN is part of a community-wide collaboration which provides for the distribution of holiday gifts to Yarmouth children in need through the generous support of local Project Holiday sponsors.

Yarmouth Aging in Place continues to offer services and support from our Southern Maine Agency on Aging Resource Specialist Zany Holman. Zany is available every Tuesday and Thursday at (207) 835-9866 or SMAAResource@Yarmouth.me.us. This year we are offering Phone Pals to seniors who would like a regular friendly chat, providing connection especially during these challenging times. Virtual programs are available through Zany as well. Sidewalk shovelers are also available. Watch for our Senior e-newsletter to keep you connected.

The Rides for seniors program has been suspended as we wait for it to become safe to resume the program. If you would like to volunteer to be a driver in the future, please email ycan@ycan.info

Please reach out if you or a loved one needs services or would like to volunteer. Learn more about how you can become involved with YCAN using the menu on this website (on the left side on computers, or under the three horizontal line “hamburger menu” on tablets and phones).

On behalf of our Board of Directors, stay well and happy holidays!


The YCAN Board of Directors

Thank You! Thank You!

YCAN is very grateful for the four ambitious moms who created a way to spread love and caring in our community with their Red Heart Project.

Jill Sady, Phoebe Newman, Liz Pearce, and Sarah Fisher… you ladies are a beacon of light. The hearts have brought a new light to Yarmouth as demonstrated by them being displayed throughout the neighborhoods. This has been a valuable lesson for children and adults about the importance of spreading kindness and goodwill.

YCAN is appreciative of your initiative and for choosing us to be the beneficiary of your project. We are also grateful for the community’s support of the Red Heart Project. This shows that YARMOUTH DOES CARE ABOUT NEIGHBORS!

2020 Project Holiday Application Available

Yarmouth Cares About Neighbors (YCAN) will once again be coordinating Holiday Gifts for Yarmouth, Maine families in need of help with gifts for their children. We request that all applications be returned to us as soon as possible to give our Elves more time to shop, but no later than November 20th.

The 2020 Project Holiday application is now available by clicking here, or by visiting:

Yarmouth Community Services
200 Main Street (behind Town Hall)

Completed applications should be returned to Yarmouth Community Services at the address above.

If you have questions, or would like an application mailed to you, please call Yarmouth Community Services at (207) 846-2406.

Coping With Covid

Click here to be taken directly to the event’s registration page.

Join the Yarmouth Community Coronavirus Task Force as Leslie Hyde facilitates a conversation that is sure to help us all through the changing world of coronavirus and its impact.  Discussion will include:  identifying appropriate coping strategies for stressful times, techniques for self-care, and coping strategies for yourself and your loved ones.  Guests are Greg Marley, Supervisor at NAMI and best-selling author/lecturer, and Kate Braestrup, an esteemed Chaplain for the Maine Game Warden’s Service.

Why is Yarmouth testing wastewater?

With state/federal grant funding, Yarmouth is in the early stages of a project to test our town’s wastewater for signs of the COVID-19 virus. While the testing technology is fairly new, it’s now being used in a number of towns and cities including Augusta, Portland, and Boston. Montana’s Healthy Gallatin Program has been testing waste water in Gallatin County for COVID-19 since March. They capture this data weekly for Bozeman, Big Sky, and West Yellowstone. It is also being used at the University of Arizona, where it detected evidence of the virus in a student dormitory’s wastewater and allowed the University to intervene very early to prevent a larger outbreak.

People pay little mind to a toilet flush once its contents disappear into the maze of pipes that lead to a municipal sewage treatment facility to be processed. But that wastewater is a valuable resource in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic, according to researchers at Montana State University.

The results of their weekly tests suggest that wastewater measurements are a reliable early indicator of the local presence of the virus and disease. Presence of COVID-19 virus in wastewater tracked well with outbreaks of the disease in the Montana cities they tested.

Because asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic individuals can be infected with COVID-19 virus and spread the virus and disease for a week or more before showing symptoms, early detection of increased levels of the virus in wastewater could help health officials identify potential outbreaks of COVID-19 and intervene early to isolate infected individuals, quarantine contacts, and implement social distancing and other measures to reduce virus transmission before a tide of sickened patients seek testing and medical treatment.

This project is a collaboration of the Yarmouth Community Coronavirus Task Force and the Town of Yarmouth. Yarmouth plans to test wastewater weekly for the next six months. The wastewater sample will be gathered at the town level and not tied to any specific site. The level of the COVID-19 virus over time will be useful as an indicator of the presence of COVID-19 in our community during this time period. The testing begins the week of 9/21/2020.

The process is fairly simple. Samples will be captured at the Yarmouth Wastewater Treatment Facility and sent to a lab at St. Joseph College to isolate RNA (genetic material) from the wastewater and then test the RNA for SARS-CoV-2 specific RNA (SARS-CoV-2 is the coronavirus that causes COVID-19). Two parts of the nucleocapsid gene (N1 and N2) from the SARS-Co-V-2 genome must be found in the sample to be considered positive.

When the virus is found in a sample, the lab will estimate how many viral particles are present. This helps us understand whether viral levels found in wastewater are going up, staying the same, or going down from week to week.

Testing results will only represent the people in the Yarmouth community who use the wastewater system—not those on private septic systems. This means that wastewater results will not reflect all new infections and cases of COVID-19. Wastewater testing is one promising piece of the complex COVID-19 puzzle. We’re still learning about this new virus, how it spreads, and how our actions impact the number of new confirmed cases.

The Yarmouth Community Coronavirus Task Force members, the town leadership, and the health officer will use these test results, along with many other pieces of information, to decide how best to support the health of the town.

More information will be available as the project progresses.