United Way of Eastern Maine Awards $6000 for Let's Eat

Funds will provide monthly Community Meals

residents of Paul Hazelton House enjoy a Community Meal funded by United Way of York County

MAY 23, 2017 | Brunswick, ME – United Way of Eastern Maine has partnered with Volunteers of America with a grant for $6000 ($3000 a year for two years) to provide food security for seniors in Penobscot and Waldo counties.

The Food Security for Seniors grant will provide monthly community meals at three of Volunteers of America's affordable housing programs: Penobscot River House in Old Town and Miller Square on Harlow in Bangor, both in Penobscot County; and Edward J Reynolds House in Belfast, located in Waldo County. Combined, the programs comprise 167 one and two bedroom apartments.

According to a statewide research report conducted in 2016 by Good Shepherd Food Bank in collaboration with Preble Street (https://www.gsfb.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Food-Pantry-Report-2-6-171.pdf), 22% of Maine's population aged 65 and older experience food insecurity.

Volunteers of America is thrilled to work with United Way of Eastern Maine to bring this program, which has enjoyed tremendous success in VOA's Southern Maine Senior Houses, to Penobscot and Waldo counties.

Successful Food Security for Seniors programs in Southern Maine

Other Volunteers Of America programs have well-established Food Security for Seniors programs. The monthly meals are usually combined with an activity, such as a musical performance, a presentation, a holiday celebration, or volunteers engaging residents in fun, playful games or crafts activities. Food is the essential component, but many benefits occur as a result of the community gatherings, not the least of which are socialization and camaraderie. In this way, community meals feed the body and the soul.

Christine Fournier, 82 years old, lives at Paul Hazelton House. She looks forward to the Community Meals and appreciates the church volunteers who put on a monthly Saturday morning breakfast as well a monthly luncheon. "I get to spend time with my neighbors, it's been a great way to get to know them."

As the eldest of 11 children, Christine was the family cook and housecleaner growing up a few blocks from Paul Hazelton House. Her siblings are all living. She has five children, nine grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

Christine enjoys and appreciates the community meals at Paul Hazelton House, saying, "These are meals I don't have to prepare. Someone is waiting on me for a change!"