Meal preparation at last year's event. Courtesy of Husson University

For the second consecutive year, over 100 meals to be prepared for Bradford Commons and Kenduskeag Terrace residents

BANGOR – For the first time in 2020, Husson University partnered with the Caleb Group and Harbor Management to prepare and deliver Thanksgiving meals to Bangor area seniors and disabled community members. The effort was so successful, the organizations decided to work together again this year to share the bounties of the season with those who needed a hot delicious holiday meal.

“The Caleb Group and Harbor Management started receiving inquiries back in June about whether Husson would be providing Thanksgiving dinner again this year,” said Bob Sedgwick, the director of dining services at Husson University. “I’m delighted to let everyone know that we’re back and looking forward to making these meals available to those in need.”

Making this happen will require Husson University’s Dining Services team to prepare 110 Thanksgiving meals for elderly and disabled residents at Bradford Commons and Kenduskeag Terrace in Bangor. Both facilities are owned by The Caleb Group and managed by Harbor Management. The meal assembly will take place from 10:45 to 11:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving (Thursday, Nov. 25) in the kitchens of the Dickerman Dining Center on Husson University’s campus at 116 Kagan Drive.

The all-volunteer Dining Services team at the University helping to prepare these meals includes Husson University Executive Sous Chef Dave Schultz. Schultz is well known to area food aficionados as the 2017 co-winner of the “Professional Chef” and “People’s Choice” awards at Maine Lobsterpalooza’s Mac ‘n Cheese competition. Assisting the chef in the preparation of the Thanksgiving meal will be Sedgwick; Carole Bemis, an administrative assistant in Dining Services; Rafael Paganoni, a student enrolled in Husson University’s School of Pharmacy and member of the men’s soccer team; and Victor Vincente, a cook who’s part of the university’s Dining Services team.

The 110 completed meals will be picked up by Laurie Holmes, the resident services coordinator for the Caleb Group and her husband at 11:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving. The meals will then be immediately delivered to elderly and disabled residents at Bradford Commons and Kenduskeag Terrace. Holmes and Kim Scheid, property manager for both properties are coordinating the delivery effort. Bradford Commons is located at 201 Husson Avenue and Kenduskeag Terrace is at 117 Court Street. Volunteer staff from Harbor Management will assist in bringing meals to the needy residents.

This effort couldn’t be timelier. Thanksgiving meals are more expensive this year. Americans on fixed incomes feel the economic pinch the most. In its 36th annual survey, the American Farm Bureau Federation found that Americans will pay 14 percent more for a Thanksgiving dinner in 2021. Inflation and supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic and part of the reasons for this increase.

This annual effort allows senior and disabled area residents to enjoy a nice Thanksgiving meal without having to contend with these financial challenges. Besides knowing she’s helping seniors and the disabled make ends meet, Holmes derives enormous personal satisfaction in bringing smiles to residents’ faces when they receive a Thanksgiving meal. “There’s something special about Thanksgiving. It’s a time when we remember to be grateful for what we have. Getting a hot Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings does more than satisfy someone’s hunger – it lifts their spirit, and that’s something we should all feel good about.”

Food insecurity in America continues to be a significant issue among the elderly and the disabled. According to Feeding America projections for 2021, approximately 85,000 Mainers will experience food insecurity in 2021. That’s a 10 percent increase from pre-pandemic levels. Maine has the sixth-highest rate food insecurity in the country.

Feeding America’s 2021 edition of The State of Senior Hunger in America, said that 5.2 million seniors were food insecure in 2019. That’s one out of every 14 seniors. In the disabled community, 22 percent of households with an adult who receives a federal or state disability benefit and 33 percent of households with an adult who has a disability, but does not receive benefits, are food insecure.

“Solving the food insecurity problem will take all of us,” said Sedgewick. “Partnering with area organizations like The Caleb Group and Harbor Management is a step in the right direction. If all of us here in the Bangor area made it a point to donate food to others through our local food banks or the pantry at the Bangor Areas Homeless Shelter, we could make this season a little better for a lot of people. No one should have to go hungry — ever.”

The Caleb Group believes that dependable, affordable housing is an essential component of a stable life for individuals and families. But housing itself isn’t enough. Residents and their communities flourish when they are supported by the kinds of programs and resources that Caleb’s Service Coordinators and Community Opportunity Centers provide. Founded in 1992, the Caleb Group owns, manages and/or provides resident service coordination in 2,000 apartments or townhouses. The organization touch the lives of 4,480 residents in New England. For more information, visit https://thecalebgroup.org.

Harbor Management is a full-service property management company. With over 40 years of experience in property management. The organization provides high quality facilities-planning, building management, and resident services. The firm manages everything from maintenance and capital needs, to financial operations and budgeting, depending on the requirements of the association. Harbor manages 30 apartment-home communities and several commercial and retail office buildings in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Find your next home at https://harbormgmt.com/.

For more than 120 years, Husson University has shown its adaptability and strength in delivering educational programs that prepare future leaders to handle the challenges of tomorrow through innovative undergraduate and graduate degrees. With a commitment to delivering affordable classroom, online and experiential learning opportunities, Husson University has come to represent a superior value in higher education. The hallmarks of a Husson education include advanced knowledge delivered through quality educational programs in business; health and education; pharmacy studies; science and humanities; as well as communication. According to a recent analysis of tuition and fees by U.S. News & World Report, Husson University is one of the most affordable private colleges in New England. For more information about educational opportunities that can lead to personal and professional success, visit Husson.edu.