Why I Give: Pam Dyer Stewart

Janie Snider

Pammy moved to Downeast Maine in 1982 with her husband and infant son and has lived here ever since. Now retired, she was a homebirth midwife serving the Downeast community for 35 years. She has four grown children and five grandchildren. She and her husband, Brian, grow their vegetables, raise chickens for eggs and meat, and look for any opportunity to catch visits with their kids and grandkids. She has served on the WHRL board of directors since 2009.


What are your passions?

My passion is community. At its core, building community is about relationships, about claiming every person in the community as part of the whole, no exclusions. It’s about having an open heart and welcoming hand for everyone. WHRL is all about relationship building and inclusion.

My life’s passion has also been supporting people as they make the journey toward becoming mothers. Working closely with hundreds of moms has taught me that if the mom in the family is supported, respected, listened to, trusted, cared for- then the whole family will more likely be healthy and whole. Moms are the hub of the family! And WHRL’s work is based on that truth.

How did you get involved with WHRL?

As a midwife whose work centered on women and families, I was interested in working with a women’s organization. I had heard about WHRL; that was back in 2009, and I have been happily ensconced in WHRL ever since.

How does WHRL support your personal values and your work to build a stronger community?

My personal values include supporting individual, family and community health through whole and healthy foods; being active outdoors, and connected to nature- and building relationships across difference. My values include the belief that we should all have equal access to health care, to nutritious foods of our culture, to safe housing, to education through post-secondary school.

When the Incredible Edible model was brought before the board, I was completely captivated. What happens, I wondered, when kindness and generosity are the only principles driving a project? I continue to be interested in where this will take us, as we carry on with this experiment in kindness year after year.

Why do you donate to WHRL?

I donate to WHRL because in doing so I am donating to the health of my own community. In this complex and troubled world, it is sometimes hard to know the best way to respond. In donating to WHRL, I believe that I am making a difference, and I see it— every time I volunteer at the IEM Garden at the Red Barn and see the devoted volunteer work force there; every time I see families enjoying the beauty, picking vegetables, playing on the playground at  Milbridge Commons; every time I go for a hike with women through OWL and learn so many new things about the natural world around me. All of these experiences nourish me, as I know they nourish our community.

I am part of the monthly sustainer program because I want WHRL to be around for the long haul, and that takes steady ongoing support that the organization can count on.

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