AUGUSTA, Maine —
In Augusta on Saturday, an artisan and vendor fair was held at the Augusta Armory to benefit the Giving Tree of Maine organization. Vendors could be seen inside and lined up in the parking lot outside of the building.
The Giving Tree of Maine is an organization aimed to help the homeless community and other people in need, through boxes of essential items. The items include hygiene products and food. 207’s Rob Nesbit interviewed the founder three years ago when the organization was starting out.
In 2019, Julia Swett of Standish founded the organization. Since then, and with the help of family, it has grown into something larger.
“It started with boxes, but because of that news piece at one point, it literally grew into this big thing where people donated food and clothing, and we are working with other organizations, and it really has spread quite a bit,” said Julia’s mother, Melissa Swett.
Now that Julia is out of state in college, her younger sister Braedyn has stepped forward to take over in The Giving Tree of Maine.
“She’s taking over. This is her thing now, and her older sister wanted to be here. Not that she could be because she’s in Florida, but she is helping her with kind of building the confidence more to talk and I think the Miss Teen thing actually will help with that confidence as well.” said Melissa. “She has come a long way with this herself and we are just trying to help her out.”
Along with volunteering her time with The Giving Tree of Maine, Braedyn is the pageant titleholder for Miss Southern Maine Jr Teen 2021 and volunteers for her community.
“I’m happy about it because we’ve done craft fairs in the past, but we have never done it for a specific reason, so I think that it’s really cool to have people come back in that we haven’t like seen or heard in a while, so It’s just really cool to have people gather back around,” said Braedyn in response to her feelings for seeing everyone at the Artisan and Vendor fair.
“And I mean it just fills us with such pride, seeing her take the initiative where she wants to go out and help support the homeless and give people boxes and everything else. It fills us with such pride. The idea that a 13-year-old is literally not selfish to the point that they want to help people mean a lot.” said the father, Joseph Swett.
If you’d like to learn more about The Giving Tree of Maine, you can go to its Facebook page.