In this Dec. 16, 2021, file photo, a sign reminds visitors and residents of Bangor to be hopeful. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

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Over the course of the last year, we’ve written a lot about things that have gone wrong. Government failures. Natural disasters. Irresponsible campaign messaging. Policy squabbles between elected officials. Sometimes the many problems of the day can feel overwhelming, even when trying to find productive paths forward.

Despite a prominent set of sculptures challenging us to be hopeful in downtown Bangor and other communities across the state, hope can sometimes be in short supply.

As we close out 2022, however, Mainers have provided powerful reminders of all the good that persists out there amongst the chaos.

There is hope in the outpouring of support for the Holden Police Department’s 25 Days of Kindness, for which donations “exploded” from around $7,000 last year to around $26,000 this year (as of last week). As explained by BDN reporter Judy Harrison, this is the sixth year of the program, which helps people in need with gift cards, food, paper products, presents and cash.

“This is a tremendous help to us, and we’ll be using the money to buy food,” one resident said when Chief Chris Greeley stopped by their home to drop off items, a grocery store gift card and cash. “The price of everything’s gone up. I’m so grateful for this.”

There is hope in how the Mansion Church in Bangor has provided warmth during the winter cold for a growing homeless population.

“I’ve always been inclined to help the less fortunate,” volunteer John Michaud told BDN reporter Kathleen O’Brien earlier this month. “I feel it’s my calling because anyone could be homeless — it could be me. A lot of people don’t like the homeless, but they’re human beings. If you show someone love, it goes a long way.”

There is hope in the way that volunteers stepped up to help with warmth and food on Christmas Day. As reported by the Portland Press Herald, people left without power after last week’s storm found assistance at a warming shelter in Standish and a free Christmas dinner at a church in Buxton.

Unable to spend Christmas at home, 88-year-old Jehanne Foster delivered an uplifting message of hope and help, and did it with a smile.

“Nobody goes through life by yourself,” the retired teacher and social worker told the Press Herald. “You have to work together. During the hardest time, nobody has to walk alone. If you look to your left and right, there’s always people who will be there for you. And you have to be there for them.”

Each of these hopeful instances, from Hermon to Bangor to Standish, involve underlying issues like inflation, homelessness and energy reliability that will ultimately require policy action, not just hope. But for now, we’ll focus on celebrating the remarkable people doing what they can to make things better for others.

As people reflect on the trends of 2022, we’d suggest that there was no better style choice this year than the T-shirt Judy Sibley was wearing when the Holden police chief surprised her at home as part of the 25 Days of Kindness. The shirt’s message: “In a world where you can be anything — Be Kind.”

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The BDN Editorial Board

The Bangor Daily News editorial board members are Publisher Richard J. Warren, Editorial Page Editor Susan Young, Assistant Editorial Page Editor Matt Junker and BDN President Todd Benoit. Young has worked...