Hope House seeks daily meal help for homeless

Posted Aug. 26, 2010, at 10:40 p.m.

With confidence in his community and an appreciation for the services required of those in need, Mike Andrick, the new director of Hope House, is reaching out to the community he knows so well.

Mike, whom most of you remember as the program director of Bangor Area Homeless Shelter, assumed his new duties when Penobscot Community Health Care took over ownership of Hope House on June 1.

Located on Indiana Avenue in Bangor, Hope House is a 64-bed emergency homeless shelter licensed by the Maine State Housing Authority and the Office of Substance Abuse currently running at 130 percent capacity and serving 80-plus homeless individuals nightly, Mike said.

And that is why Mike not only e-mailed me recently, but called me as well: To let our readers know that while Hope House is doing all it can to help those individuals, your help is needed, too.

At the present time, Hope House, using a variety of programs and purchase options, is feeding not only its guests, but people “who have previously been sleeping outside,” Mike told me.

To help meet this demand, Hope House is developing a meals calendar that includes businesses, civic groups, churches and-or individuals who are willing to take one day a month to prepare and serve an evening meal for shelter guests.

The meal is served to approximately 80 individuals at 5 p.m. seven days a week.

Right now, Mike told me, Hope House has about 12 meal providers it can depend on, “so we need to shore this up and fill up each month” with groups or individuals serving an evening meal, he explained.

Hope House has a multipurpose kitchen with cooking facilities available onsite, a walk-in cooler and a walk-in freezer.

“We have everything that is needed for meal preparation, right here,” Mike explained.

What is now needed is people or organizations willing to complete the calendar.

“Hope House looks forward to building community within our community,” Mike said.

“Partnering with the community truly preserves dignity to those in need,” he added, emphasizing that “your support matters.”

Mike explained that Hope House is able to pull together the other two meals with the assistance of federal commodity food programs, generous donations, and working with local companies to obtain food at a discounted rate.

However, “we have to pay for that food,” he said, which is the major reason Hope House is in such dire need of support for that evening meal.

Sometimes, Mike added, the evening meal is generous enough that leftovers can be used for lunch the next day, which is an added bonus.

The whole concept of the donated evening meal is that of “building community within community,” Mike added.

“We’re trying to bring about awareness, education and social change around homelessness.”

He wants readers to understand that Hope House “is the community safety net in Bangor, managing the city of Bangor’s overflow of homeless persons from other shelters.”

The facility is open to men and women, and conducts “a comprehensive day program” intended to help “with transition to more permanent housing” for the homeless among us.

“Research tells us that services on-site helps” with that transition, Mike explained, which is why offering homeless individuals access to services ranging from different types of therapy to medication and case management are so important.

“I’m really excited about this” Mike said. “We’re really committed to providing this level of service.”

Helping people in such a transition is complex, but you can’t ignore the fact that any effort in this regard should begin with a good, solid foundation of three meals a day.

If you can help provide one of those meals, one day a month, please call Mike and let him know.

He would be most happy to take your call at 217-6713, ext. 467.

Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; javerill@bangordailynews.com; 990-8288.

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