Loving Lewiston Amidst a Pandemic

Lewiston Kids
Leadership Foundations

Leadership Foundations

With a commitment to seek social, economic and spiritual wholeness, The Root Cellar Leadership Foundation is deeply embedded in Lewiston, Maine and has been serving its most impoverished and vulnerable neighbors since 1984.

When the COVID-19 Pandemic hit Lewiston, they knew they had to act quickly.


"Our animating question has always been 'What does it look like to love our neighbors now, in this community, during this time?' Given that, we knew that we had to respond to this crisis,"

says Joel Furrow, Executive Director. And so The Root Cellar Responded!

Watch below as youth program coordinator, Alyssa Morgosh, gives you an inside tour of The Root Cellar’s community response to the COVID Crisis.

Leadership That Begins with a Question

Lewiston has much to be proud of – a city steeped in history, cultural institutions, and rich in ethnic diversity, with a large Somali and Bantu refugee population. Yet many of the neighborhoods with high poverty levels are the ones being hit worst by the COVID crisis. Children that already are faced with major challenges in life, now with schools closed, have even bigger inequities to surmount

The Root Cellar approached local area schools with the simple question: “How can we help?”

The schools’ response: “When can you start?”

Now, The Root Cellar is offering meals every day to local families. They are checking in with neighbors, with a commitment to be present to vulnerable families, even amidst social distancing. They are praying with families. And they are helping children with their academics – many of whom are most likely to fall behind as schools are closed.

Since March 16th when schools closed, The Root Cellar has:

Well done, The Root Cellar, in your demonstrated love for your city of Lewiston and your care for your most vulnerable neighbors.

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Celia Vigil

Communications Associate

What book, movie, quote, or tv show has most shaped your understanding of leadership or the city?   

A quote that has shaped my understanding of leadership and the city is, “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”

While the amount of work there is to do to transform cities is great, this quote reminds me that we are freed from having to complete it all, though our obligation to continue remains. We may never see a huge transformation in our lifetime. The work stretches far beyond us. However, this does not make our acts of faithfulness in the day to day less significant, no matter how small they may seem.