In Portland, it is more than evident that a significant number of individuals and families need help with all sorts of things, from housing to living skills to assistance with whatever legal issues may plague them and prevent them from building a solid life for themselves and their kids.
Mainers, and Americans in general, seem to be divided on how much, if any, to give to these less fortunate. Some say give a disability check to anyone who so much as complains of anxiety. Others are so sick of being accosted on the street by those seeking their next Natty Daddy, that they have the attitude, “Let them rot.” It is this second group’s belief that the ones who can’t seem to do something as simple as keep an appointment or maintain a working phone in order to receive a life-changing call, should be avoided and left to pursue the self-harm they seem bent on.
Another segment of the population, who also pay rent, pay taxes, and put it all on the line for their own families every week, may agree that the struggling people in question are irresponsible, inexplicably unwilling to put on a hat and nametag and earn a small paycheck until they can climb up to something better. But what about the children looking to them for the support only a parent can give? Do they deserve our scorn as well? Aren’t they the unfortunate ones who are really stuck in a spot they can’t get out of?
Locally, one organization, the Opportunity Alliance, has been going to bat for those purgatory-bound youngsters, and their parents, whether worthy or not, in the name of a reasonable future for families stricken with poverty, addiction, mental illness, and yes, parental incompetence, which they see as curable. The Opportunity Alliance believes in building a community in which families and individuals are thriving and supported as they pursue their aspirations for a better life. Someone you know has probably availed themselves of their assistance in some form.
With that in mind, if you are among those that believe in giving families a hand up, get ready for Maine Roller Derby's Thanks-for-Giving bout to benefit the Opportunity Alliance, to wow the crowd at Happy Wheels Skate Center (331 Warren Ave) on Saturday, November 18 from 5 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for ages 11 to 15, and free for 10 and under. Pack up the fam and go watch the rockin’ women of the MRD, a veritable explosion of directed fury on eight wheels apiece, keeping their sport and the hopes of Portlanders in need alive. Give till it hurts. Choose a favorite skater with your son or daughter, and hoot and holler.
Portland is at a crux of income disparity, and however you feel inside your heart, consider helping a trusted organization do their important work.