More meals for Lewiston's poor

LEWISTON — More free meals are being offered to people in the city's poorest neighborhood.

Salvation Army serving lunch
Daniel Hartill/ Sun Journal

Salvation Army volunteers Roger Labrecque, left, and Jerry Bourget serve lunch Friday at the Root Cellar in Lewiston. On Monday, the Salvation Army began offering meals at the 89 Birch St. agency, one week after ending ties with the Trinity Jubilee Center on nearby Bates Street.

On Monday, one week after severing ties with the Trinity Jubilee Center, the Salvation Army began serving free lunches to visitors of the Root Cellar on Birch Street. On Friday, the meals at Trinity Jubilee Center returned.

By noon, the Root Cellar fed about 16 people. Three blocks away, the Jubilee Center served 95.

"There are a lot of people who are very, very comfortable coming here, some for 20 years," said Erin Reed, Trinity's volunteer and development coordinator. "They've been asking for this."

The change was sudden.

The Salvation Army pulled out on Oct.10, delivering its news in a letter to Trinity.

Lt. Jason Brake, who leads the Salvation Army's Lewiston community center, said his group severed ties because the Root Cellar offered them a chance to pray before meals and a newer space in which to work.

"It's a pretty new kitchen," Brake said. "They've revamped it and it's licensed by the state."

On Friday, Salvation Army volunteer Tony Chambers led people in a devotional and prayer before the 11:30 meal. It took about five minutes. Then people were given meals that included burgers, potatoes and other fixings.

Neither Chambers nor other volunteers were discouraged by the relatively few meals they served.

"We haven't got the word out that we are here," volunteer Roger Lebrecque said. "It will pick up."

Reed believes many people will stay at Trinity, partly out of familiarity and partly because of its role as a gathering place and warming center on cold days. Trinity opens at 8 a.m. The Root Cellar's dining area opens at 11 a.m.

"Single parents, disabled people, elderly people and homeless people come here to get a hot meal and bring meals to neighbors that are in need," Reed said.

On Monday, Trinity's board met and formally decided to continue to offer meals six days a week, including the Monday, Wednesday and Friday meals that the Salvation Army had prepared. The charity plans to buy more food from the Good Shepherd Food-Bank and to look for surplus food from local restaurants.

"As long as there is a demand for meals, we will work hard to provide them," Reed said.

Both charities are looking for an increase in donations. Trinity is looking for additional supplies of paper plates, plastic forks and similar items. Both need money.

"Food shortage is on the rise," Brake said. "The cost of food is rising. We're trying to keep up."

dhartill@sunjournal.com

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Comments

Kim Berry's picture

they will be provided for

they will come, the food will be there.
No worries
The Salvation Army is a National Non Profit Organization. They need to answer to more than just the friendly faces you see in person. They served there for a long time. I KNOW they will miss their patrons, know this for a fact.

I agree, with the change. I think it will be best to have each one work independently. They each have their own special quallities to offer.

And a warming center will always be a warming center. Regardless if it comes with hot lunch or not. The needs will still be met. There are plently of people looking for work right now. Even volunteer jobs are scarce. So, as far as getting people to work, dont worry about that. The bodies just pile up for that. Once they are in the door, and actually getting them to work, well, that is a whole 'nother story lol kidding ;) Just my two cents worth

 's picture

I remember going many nights

I remember going many nights to help cook the meals at Trinity. There is a desperate need for help, food, money and if anyone can go and just talk to people. Like Mr Breton said most people are just lonely. Ask the mailmen how the elderly talk to them. Please help either Trinity or the Root Cellar you won't regret it.

DAVE GUDAS's picture

Says a lot.

There are a lot of people who are very, very comfortable coming here, some for 20 years

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