February 25, 2020
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Homeless Services of Aroostook seeking donations to help with food shortages

Community Author: Athena Hallowell, United Way of Aroostook
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United Way of Aroostook | Contributed
United Way of Aroostook | Contributed
Sarah Ennis of United Way (left) stand by the tree with shelter employees Melanie Bubar (left) and Kevin Guyan (right).

PRESQUE ISLE —  Homeless Services of Aroostook is facing difficulties serving meals and providing food to its residents. There are several reasons for this challenge.  In June, storage capacity was greatly reduced when it turned its pantry into the shelter space called “Aroostook Bridge ” Initial support and enthusiasm for the “Meal Train” has dwindled significantly, the number of residents has increased, and food budgets have changed.

“When the Meal Train was initially introduced to the public in 2018, interest was high,” said Melanie Bubar of the shelter.  “The shelter didn’t have to provide many meals for the residents because so many people volunteered to do that.  That has changed recently with only a few meals being donated each month.”

With colder months approaching, the shelter has seen an increase in residents. The shelter currently has 19 adults and six children utilizing its services.  Serving 25 people is costly so the shelter is looking to community members and groups to help.  The Meal Train is an easy way for a group or few families to work together to provide a great family-style meal for the residents of the shelter.  For more information about the meal train, contact the shelter or visit their Facebook page.

Another short-term solution is being put together by United Way of Aroostook.  They’ve got a tree all set up just outside its office with gift tags and envelopes decorating the tree.  The tags have various dollar amounts printed on them.  Individuals, families, groups, or businesses are encouraged to choose a tag from the tree and mail it along with the dollar amount to United Way at 830 Main St, Presque Isle, ME 04769. The money received will then be turned into the food the shelter needs to feed the people staying there.

“We realize this is just a small way to support our partner agency, but we know it will make a big difference to the residents, especially during this holiday season.” said Sarah Ennis, executive director of United Way of Aroostook. “We hope all the tags will be chosen soon so we can provide the shelter with some extra money for food during the holidays.”

For more information about the tree project or the Meal Train, contact United Way of Aroostook at 207-764-5197.

About United Way of Aroostook

United Way of Aroostook is a 510 (3) (c) organization established in the county in 1957. United Way works in every Aroostook County community to offer solutions to today’s problems. We actively seek donations to be distributed to health and human service agencies and their programs so that they may provide the services needed in our community