BANGOR, Maine — Bangor Area Homeless Shelter, which serves 36,000 meals per year to struggling individuals and opens its food pantry to 120 families per month, is running out of food, director Dennis Marble said Friday.
Earlier this week, staff noticed the shelves in the basement of the Main Street shelter were becoming unusually bare for this time of year. Typically, the shelter sees food shortages in summer but not this early in the year, according to Marble.
“This one actually took me by surprise,” he said.
The food stores also are handed out to more than 120 area families, many of whom are not far from homelessness themselves, Marble said. Shelter residents and volunteers also cook three meals a day for residents.
Marble said the shelter is looking for “relatively nutritious things that are easy to prepare,” including items such as canned soup and vegetables, peanut butter, cereal and pasta.
“We’re really looking at an immediate need and are already concerned about summer,” Marble said.
Donated leftovers from Hollywood Casino’s buffet and Hannaford’s bakery and deli help feed people in the shelter a few days out of the week, but the shelter’s stock of donations carry the weight the rest of the time.
This past weekend, the annual Hike for the Homeless drew more than 800 participants who helped raise about $25,000, a slight decline from previous years. Marble said money from the hike goes toward keeping the shelter open, programs and paying employees. The shelter does not have a food budget and relies on separate food donations, Marble said.
He added that several food drives are approaching, which should help to some degree, but aid may not be enough or come quickly enough.
For information about what the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter needs, call 947-0092. Donations may be dropped of at the shelter at 263 Main St.