LEWISTON — After being involved in shelter discussions for three years, Kevin Boilard finally got the chance to show city leaders a “different approach” this past winter at the Calvary United Methodist Church warming center.

Kevin Boilard, right, receives a “Lewiston Leads” recognition from Councilor Michael Roy last week. Boilard, who founded the nonprofit Kaydenz Kitchen, is known throughout Lewiston-Auburn for his work to help the homeless community. City of Lewiston

Boilard’s nonprofit, Kaydenz Kitchen Food Pantry, was selected by Lewiston and Auburn officials to run the hastily-organized center from February through April.

By all accounts, the warming center went more smoothly than the previous year, and its success has been part of a recent momentum building in Lewiston toward a permanent 24-hour shelter.

Boilard was recognized by the Lewiston City Council last week, receiving a “Lewiston Leads” coin for his work with the homeless community, both through Kaydenz Kitchen and the warming center.

He was also recently named to the city’s new ad hoc shelter committee, which plans to convene soon to begin discussions on how to start a 24-hour shelter in Lewiston.

A city statement said Boilard “steps up at a moment’s notice, to include Lewiston’s recent warming center, uniting community partners as a beacon of hope and leadership in Lewiston.”


Boilard said he’s usually uncomfortable with recognition but that he was “grateful” for the opportunity to be recognized by city officials.

He believes the efforts at this year’s warming center — and those of his day jobs at Kaydenz Kitchen’s resource center and as a homeless outreach coordinator in Auburn — benefit from the relationships, interaction and engagement he puts into them.

“We’ve kind of been waiting for the opportunity to show a different approach,” he said. “And really kind of show how it can be done with community buy-in while still prioritizing client needs, staff safety and just overall value of the program. We’re hopeful that the momentum will continue.”

Boilard founded Kaydenz Kitchen as a food pantry, but it has since expanded to offer several services, including housing, utility assistance, clothing and more. In April, Kaydenz Kitchen expanded into another 1,500 square feet of space at 550 Lisbon St.

When he’s not there, Boilard is likely in Auburn, where he works as a homeless outreach coordinator for the city through a grant partnership between Auburn and Community Concepts.

Boilard, who began in that role in November, often works with people living in encampments, connecting them with services. He said it creates “a more humane interaction” than simply having police or public works staff clear an encampment.


Boilard estimated that he already had a rapport with 90% of the people he encounters with his work in Auburn from the work he has done with Kaydenz Kitchen and the Lewiston warming center.

“It’s been a win-win situation,” he said. “It kind of takes away the shock and awe factor when I show up in the woods, because it’s like, ‘Hey, it’s Kevin from Kaydenz Kitchen.'”

Kevin Boilard, right, and Kimber Sands gather bedding for homeless people March 13 at the warming center inside Calvary United Methodist Church on Sabattus Street in Lewiston. Homeless people are allowed to store their bedding during the day at the church so they don’t have to carry it around with them until the next night. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Heading into Lewiston’s shelter committee process, Boilard said he sees more community momentum behind the idea of a permanent shelter. Lewiston has six private shelters, but all of them close during daytime hours and many don’t provide other services.

Boilard has long advocated for the city to establish a 24-hour shelter and “transitional” program. He said one of the biggest challenges he sees is the “disconnect” between shelter models and the need for the proper services and resources to help people get off the streets.

“I think the community buy-in is there after seeing the need for a warming center year after year,” he said. “I think people want to see something that connects people with resources that can help break the cycle of homelessness.”

Councilor Michael Roy, who presented Boilard with the “Lewiston Leads” award Tuesday, will also serve on the committee.

Roy said Boilard is a leader in the community who steps up whenever someone is in need.

“The work you do inspires all of us and I am humbled by all you do for the people in need,” he said.

Know someone with a deep well of unlimited public spirit? Someone who gives of their time to make their community a better place? Then nominate them for Kudos. Send their name and the place where they do their good deeds to reporter Andrew Rice at arice@sunjournal.com and we’ll do the rest.

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