One of the most impressive Rangeley Rises initiatives was the "Friends Helping Friends" free-meal project. Restaurant owners, despite being among the hardest hit by COVID 19 closures, wanted to help struggling community members. They took turns preparing meals that anyone could pick up for free, seven days a week. Volunteer drivers also delivered meals to homebound residents. In all, the group delivered about 10,000 meals from late March through mid-May.
In a social media post, Crystal Sargent of Sarge’s Pub & Grub said, “It was an honor and labor of love to serve our community. Working beside our fellow restaurant owners to bring meals and love to our town is an experience I will NEVER forget…When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
Funding for Friend Helping Friends came from community donations, including many from seasonal and year-round residents. A group of teachers raised over $2,100 by selling "Rangeley Rises" tee shirts. A local screen printer provided the shirts at cost and volunteered his time to make them.
"Friends Helping Friends" was initiated by Sarge's and Bald Mountain Camps, and supported by Forks in the Air, 45th Parallel, Furbish House, Oquossoc Grocery, Parkside & Main, Portage Tap House, The Red Onion, and The Shed.
Rangeley Health & Wellness complemented this effort by distributed weekly emergency food boxes, an on-going effort, with help from Moose Alley and the Rangeley Food Bank.