Helping America's Most Vulnerable

Celebration thanks Let's Eat program


June serving at Lets Eat celebration 3/20172017-04-01 / Front Page

By LIZ GOTTHELF

Staff Writer

SACO — Since 2009, the Let's Eat program has helped seniors at Paul Hazelton House put fresh food on the table.

Paul Hazelton House is an affordable senior housing program run by Volunteers of America, Northern New England. The agency, with the help of community partners, through its Let's Eat program provides the 66 residents with a bag of groceries once a month that includes meat and fresh fruit and vegetables. The program, with the help of residents who volunteer their time to cook, hosts a monthly community dinner that provides a social opportunity for those who live at the Paul Hazelton House.

On mid-day Friday, the aroma of food hung heavy in the air in a common area of one of the buildings as resident Lucille Dudley prepared her "famous" New England boiled dinner.

The day's lunch was special – not only because of what was on the menu, but because some visitors joined it to celebrate the Let's Eat program.

"Food for individuals is not a privilege, it's a necessity," said President/CEO of Volunteers of America Northern New England June Koegel. "And it should not be something that folks should ever have to worry about. Everyone should have enough food so that they don't go hungry."

Koegel thanked those "who stepped out to the plate and griddle," including the United Way of York County, which has provided financial support since the program's inception, Kennebunk Savings Bank, which has provided financial assistance for the past three years, and Next Level Church and First Parish Congregational Church, UCC, whose volunteers help with community meals.

"We love it when we can go and see our funds in action," said Kennebunk Savings President and CEO Brad Paige, who noted the bank's long history of giving back to the community through donations and employee volunteer drives.

"This is a fabulous way to get more healthy foods to people who could really benefit from them," said United Way of York County President and CEO Barb Wentworth, noting that seniors and children are two areas of focus for the agency.

Leilani Teel, who has lived at the Paul Hazelton House for nearly five years said she was very appreciative of those who work to bring food in for residents every month, and said it's especially good for some residents who don't drive.

"I think it's wonderful, I really do," she said.

Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325, or egotthelf@journaltribune.com.