Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, October 31, 2019
Rockbound Rebekah’s a mission of giving back
by Monique Labbe
Visitors to the annual Fishermen’s Day, or Halloween enthusiasts at the Stonington Spooktacular, and other events around town, may have seen booths and crab rolls by the Rockbound Rebekah’s. But, just what is this group, and what do they do?
“The Rebekah’s are the ladies version of the Odd Fellows,” said Tammy Hagerthy, a member of the Stonington-based organization. “The Odd Fellows and the Rebekah’s are a worldwide organization. It is our obligation as members to help others. The things we do for others whether large or small makes our souls feel good.”
The Stonington chapter of the Rebekah’s closed down in the 1990s, according to Hagerthy, but reopened in 2016. Through fundraising at various events in the community, the organization is able to turn around and give that money back to those in need, whether by providing gas cards, gifts during the holidays or serving as a ride to doctor appointments. The group also has an eyeglass fund to help people get new glasses. Most recently, the organization has planned a benefit dinner for a local woman battling brain cancer. This is the largest event the Rebekah’s have ever planned, according to Hagerthy.
“It is a case by case decision,” said Hagerthy of the process of deciding how to help. “If we can help we usually do.”
In addition to helping the immediate local community, the Odd Fellows and Rebekah’s run Camp NEOFA (Northeast Odd Fellows Association), a summer camp in Montville, 14 miles west of Belfast. The groups send children there annually through scholarships using some of the funds raised over the course of the year.
Additionally, the organization also has a nursing home in Lewiston.
The members of the organization meet twice a month, where they discuss how to raise the money and how to spend it. There is no shortage of ways to give back, said Hagerthy.
“In the fall we, the Rockbound Rebekah’s, have a hat and mitten tree where we collect items and donate them to the medical center the homeless shelter in Ellsworth and local schools,” she said.
Those interested in joining the Rockbound Rebekah’s can attend a meeting, 5 p.m. the second and fourth Mondays of the month, at the Odd Fellows Hall in downtown Stonington, to pick up an application.
“We are always looking for new members,” said Hagerthy.