Interfaith Service Coalition secures police grant, plans fall spirit week and movie event

by Geoff Fox

Interfaith Service Coalition (ISC) Director Debbie Cohill said she is happy working with the mayor and council and seeing “really cool things happen” around town.

Because of those good thing happening around town, Cohill said ISC wants to piggyback on the momentum.

One such partnership was a recent grant for the Hancock Police Department through the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention. Chief Rich Miller has already received word the grant was approved.

“We’ve not done anything yet but I’m about to propose some things that would be our partnership with that,” Cohill said during the citizens comments portion of the August town meeting.

The grant specifically provides funding for police overtime for 24 events at

Martha’s House or wherever the event would take place.

Cohill said the reason it was written in that manner was due to Officer Shawn Faith, who is on ISC’s board, being called away or missing a meeting due to a police call.

But if there’s funding for overtime, there can be an officer who would come in and stay through the event.

“The whole purpose of this grant, especially at a time where many of us don’t feel law enforcement gets the respect and treatment they should, is to build relationships with young people who may be on the fence on where they are in their relationships with law enforcement or where they are in their own life, the fencepost kids that could go either way,” Cohill said.

Cohill also pointed out ISC and Martha’s House has over $30,000 in virtual reality equipment but want to use it in partnerships with other groups.

Cohill then proposed two events she wanted to partner with the town to create.

The first was a 2019 brainchild of Councilman David Kerns when he was inspecting the Martha’s House. He mentioned something about a spirit week similar to events at the high school “back in the day.”

Cohill said he had spoken to Hancock Middle-Senior High School Principal Jennifer Ruppenthal who proposed a spirit week for October 11.

One event during that week would be “Meet the Team” night where Martha’s House would open its doors and have the Panthers football team come in wearing their jerseys or t-shirts.

Interfaith Service Coalition would provide tailgate style food like hamburgers, hot dogs, wings, and nachos.

Kerns also suggested at the time having kids make signs to “paint the town” that week. Cohill said there would be a night, maybe Monday or Tuesday of that week, where Martha’s House would have kids come in to make those signs and decorations.

Those signs and decorations would then end up in local businesses’ windows.

Cohill said she would confirm the date with Ruppenthal.

A second event would be a movie night during the Halloween season.

When Martha’s House hosted a Halloween movie last year, it was a “very big deal,” Cohill said.

With Martha’s House having been busy recently, Cohill doesn’t want to overpack the movie theater as the Fire Marshal has given a limit on

how many people can be in attendance.

A few years ago, the town purchased a large inflatable movie screen for the Parks and Recreation Department but in the last couple years, it hasn’t been used as much as planned.

Cohill said the costs for the town to show movies is so high, ISC is able to get their license through their church. The one-year license costs less than what the town would pay for one movie.

In a conversation with the licensing company, CVLI, Cohill and Councilman Richard Strong were able to find out the ISC license is attached to the group’s address, meaning the movie wouldn’t be able to be shown in one of the town’s parks.

However, Cohill said they were given permission to show the movie in the municipal parking lot behind Martha’s House, Rail Trail, or where anyone could suggest showing the movie in that area.

“We would like to include other businesses on Main Street,” Cohill said, adding she’s already spoken to a couple of those business owners.

Each business would be able to have their own station, offering things like popcorn, cotton candy, s’mores, and other things.

There has been concern getting the screen up and people have stepped up to help doing so.

“I think we, working together, can do what we need to do to pull it off and have a really good event,” Cohill said.

She said it would be a fun time and good gesture of ISC working together with the town, Police Department, and town businesses.

The target date for the event would be Friday, October 27, with a rain date the following day.