The following is a guest blog post from Joel Furrow, executive director of The Root Cellar, a Maine-based nonprofit that began in 1984 and engages neighbors and volunteers to cultivate social, economic, and spiritual wholeness as part of God’s Kingdom. The Root Cellar is a member of Leadership Foundations Network, a member of Independent Sector.
Peggy Hinman – who served as the Portland Adult Ministry Coordinator at The Root Cellar – retired last month.
Although she will be deeply missed on a day-to-day basis, she will continue to be a cornerstone of the broader Root Cellar family.
Peggy has been a powerful presence at The Root Cellar in Portland since the fall of 2003. She has served the neighbors of Munjoy Hill and East Bayside in so many capacities over nearly 19 years of ministry, that it’s difficult to capture each act of kindness.
Peggy faithfully organized weekly neighborhood dinners, clothing distributions, and adult English language classes to name a few. From 2003 to 2015, She helped to organize a small army of volunteers to offer a large-scale food pantry, distributing food to hundreds of neighbors in a time of need.
She pioneered the forming of a Tenants Council at Portland Housing Authority’s Franklin Towers and was integral in the development of the Friends and Neighbors Networks, distributing food biweekly to more than 300 Portland residents. She was influential in the development of Peppermint Park, creating a new space for neighborhood children to play.
Peggy also became a “go-to” person in Portland for career opportunities, guiding more than 100 residents through job training and placement. It is still common for a resident to stop by and ask to see Peggy about a job opportunity.
Whenever Peggy has had a spare moment, she finds ways to help with the general upkeep and cleanliness of the property – anything from landscaping to toilets. There isn’t an act of service that she will pass up. The list could go on and on, telling all that she has done for her neighbors, in service of Jesus.
Peggy routinely takes the bus to work each day. She loves to talk about how much she loves it, and always has a new story to tell of who she met and how she prayed for them or helped direct a neighbor facing a challenge. As she walks through Kennedy Park, she is always greeted by friends and neighbors. The residents of Franklin Towers know her well, and Peggy never misses an opportunity to advocate for them and look for ways to support this important community.
When asked about how she feels about closing out her time at The Root Cellar she told us she wants someone to continue to serve those she feels are most left out. This sentiment is a great example of her steadfast love for God and neighbor.
Whenever someone greets Peggy and asks how her day has been, one will almost assuredly hear her say through a most genuine smile, “Wonderful. It’s just wonderful.” This is normally followed up by a story of a neighbor she has just met or a way that God recently answered a prayer.
The staff, volunteers, and neighbors of The Root Cellar have been blessed by her wonderful loving service for nearly two decades. She has consistently demonstrated faith, hope, and love through the years, and many people have come to know Jesus personally because of her testimony and prayers. She is deeply loved and will be truly missed.
Her original Cover Letter, addressed to Pat Iriana, was attached to her application for employment in 2003. In it, Peggy wrote, “Trust that God will give us some good days ahead if this door truly opens. He knows what is best for all of us indeed and never makes a mistake.”
Peggy was right. He didn’t make a mistake. However, we think the days God gave each of us for nearly two decades weren’t just “good.”
They were wonderful.
The top photo is courtesy of The Root Cellar, which encourages anyone who knows or worked with Peggy Hinman to send her a note of congratulations about her retirement: Peggy Hinman, C/O The Root Cellar, 94 Washington Ave., Portland, Maine 04101. Joel Furrow’s essay was first published on March 14, 2022 on the organization’s website. Learn about other Independent Sector members and becoming a member.