Seniors brave cold for food

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RUMFORD — It was a sight like that of one back in the days of the depression Monday morning in the Abbott Farm Plaza parking lot where the Good Shepherd Food Mobile and River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition distributed 7,000 pounds of food to seniors throughout the area.

Senior citizens were lined up in the freezing temperatures with the wind blowing to receive their 25-pound share of fresh produce, bread, water, and canned goods as part of an emergency distribution.

GSFB’s Food Mobile Program was designed to help them reach more communities whose demand for emergency and supplemental food is in higher demand. With the aging population in the River Valley, this was an obvious location.

According to the USDA, 10 percent of Maine households are food insecure, that’s 141,000 people. More than 40 percent of children in Maine younger than 12 show signs of hunger, that’s a staggering figure of 19,325 children. And, were you aware that Maine ranks fifth in the nation for food insecurity.

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In speaking with many of the shivering seniors, they revealed that their food stamp allotment had been slashed by approximately $40 this winter, and with the rising cost of food, they are unable to afford the essential home items and keep their stomachs from grumbling at the same time.

Diane Cox, who was braving the cold, noted that with the rising cost of food, oil, gas, and other times, she had to be more careful this winter with her funds. With the freezing temperatures that forced her to spend more in heating her home and the reduction in food stamps, she was very grateful for the mobile food bank.

Delanna Garey, manager of Stanford Management, and supervisor of housing at The Muskie Building, was there with her truck to collect for 52 residents who are either homebound due to age or medical disability.

“This is a great thing they’re doing,” stated Garey. “We’re fortunate to have their assistance.”  

This distribution was a partnership between the Good Shepherd Food Bank’s Food Mobile and the local River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition.

For more information on how you can help provide for local seniors, call RVHCC at 364-7408.  

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