Starfish Village Ministry
Call or text (207)613-6378
Who We Are
Starfish Village is a ministry of the Waterville United Church of Christ that is a comprehensive program for homeless families that provides immediate and long-term practical help, advocacy and mentoring – all structured to meet the specific needs of individual homeless families to help them successfully and more quickly transition into permanent stability. After the one-year period, Starfish Village will continue to mentor the family as needed.
Starfish Village Ministry is practical, rational, and common-sense driven.
Recall the story about the young boy saving one starfish at a time. In this story, miles of starfish are tossed on a beach, brought too far ashore after a storm to out-run the receding tide. A man watches as a boy walks along the beach, repeatedly bending over, picking up one starfish at a time and throwing it into the sea. The man asks the boy what he thinks he’s doing, and the boy explains, “I’m saving starfish. The sun is rising, and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.” The older man, wiser but jaded by life, replies, “But son, there are too many starfish on this beach; you can’t possibly make a difference.” The boy listens but then bends down, chooses another starfish, and tosses it into the sea, saying to the man, “Well, it makes a difference to that one.”
If it takes a village to raise a child, it certainly takes a village to save a family. We chose the name Starfish Village for this ministry to always remember the inspiring metaphorical story about the boy who saved one starfish at a time and in recognition of the belief that raising a child or saving a whole family requires the loving and specialized care of many.
What We Do
Starfish Village provides assistance and advocacy to families and individuals in need, striving to meet needs not served by other agencies. It receives referrals from many sources (General Assistance, Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, KVCAP, Catholic Charities, Kennebec Behavioral Health, Winslow Community Cupboard and local faith communities). Requests for help are typically for rent, utilities, heating fuel, transportation, clothing, car repairs, and other items. When Starfish Village receives calls for food, personal and household essentials, and furniture, it works with/refers to the Essentials Closet, Waterville Food Pantry, Winslow Community Cupboard, Waterville Area Soup Kitchen, ReStore/Habitat
for Humanity, and similar partners in Augusta, Skowhegan and Bangor.
Starfish Village volunteers serve on numerous local committees and task forces concerned with housing and homelessness, hunger, healthcare, and community policing. A few examples of how this ministry has become a respected and widely known advocate for those in need are: Its founder, an ordained Interfaith minister, accompanies tenants to eviction court and has successfully used the court's mediation services to help arrive at fair settlements and avoid evictions. She has spoken before the city council regarding housing and hunger. In the wake of the George Floyd murder, she served on a committee tasked with reviewing police practices organized by Colby College and the Waterville Police
Chief. Another volunteer, a retired social worker, represents Starfish Village at monthly meetings with community partners who also work in social welfare and human services. She also faithfully attends meetings of Waterville's city council where she keeps city leaders focused on issues important to Starfish Village, always giving voice to those who cannot speak well for themselves and reminding those in power
of the various needs of this silent community. Another Interfaith minister has an extensive background in the state’s complex network of social welfare services and is skilled at helping people obtain case management, as well as other services they are entitled to receive. Other volunteers with a variety of skills, including nursing knowledge, assist in other ways. This trove of experienced talent gives Starfish Village an ability to offer strong and well informed advocacy in many areas and helps guide Starfish Village's priorities. The pastor often attends weekly meetings and he and his wife have been able to offer their own specialized assistance because of their many years in sheltering and feeding the needy.
Starfish Village is a line item on the church budget and is also supported by individual donors and local faith communities and has been a recipient of grants from United Way, Rotary, and Colby College. Since its inception in 2019, it has assisted numerous families with children, single adults, and many senior citizens -- positively impacting approximately 400 lives in the area.
Can You Help?
If this is the kind of local small proactive ministry you can support, then please help us help others with your financial gift.
Click the button to make your donation online:
Or you can mail a much needed donation directly to the church:
Starfish Village Ministry
c/o Waterville United Church of Christ
21 College Avenue, Suite #5
Waterville, ME O4901