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Giving Becomes A Christmas Tradition

Noah Ames. Courtesy of Pen Bay Pilot.

Back in 2013, Noah Ames had an idea. His family celebrated Christmas on December 24. After the presents were all opened, he, his wife and three children were sitting around amidst the clutter of gift wrap. “I wanted to teach them something,” the Matinicus lobsterman said, “something more.” He decided it would be good to give away some of his lobsters. Ames splits his time between the island and his house in Thomaston. So he got a local sign maker to create a sign and set up his truck near Midcoast Marine on Route 1. The sign said “Free lobsters today for families truly in need.”

The first year there were a few people who showed up, marveling that anyone would be giving away lobsters. In following years Ames used Facebook and his friends to put the word out. “It’s hard for people to ask for help. So I said, ‘If you know someone who needs help, come get lobster for them.’ That worked because if you pick up a lobster for someone else, then it’s OK,” he said.

People come back each year and receive lobsters, no questions asked. “People are definitely struggling,” Ames said. “I have little old ladies who come each year, tell me about their husband who died, and are very grateful. But if you show up in a Rolls Royce, I would give you a lobster!”

Over the years, more and more lobstermen have donated pounds of lobsters to the annual give-away. Lobstermen from the Downeast coast have brought lobsters to Ames, as well as dozens in the midcoast area.

Ames emphasizes that the longevity of the event is not due to him but to all the others who are taking part: Corey and Travis Thompson from Atwood Lobster in Spruce Head, Justin Philbrook, Dustin Reed, Brett Rackcliff, Tad Miller, Robert Royce Jr. Waldoboro electrician Peter Grant shows up each year with hundreds of dollars worth of gift cards.

“It’s beyond me now. We call it ‘Fishermen Feeding Families’,” Ames said. His three children, 15, 19, and 23, and their friends managed the event last year, leaving Ames as a happy onlooker. “They’ve been there every year, they know what they’re doing,” he said. “I just took all the hugs.”

This year, as ever, beginning at noon on December 24 Ames and his family and friends will be handing out lobsters from his truck along Route 1 in Thomaston until they are gone. “I do it more for me, you know. I feel great!” Ames said

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