‘Another winter, no fuel in the tank’

“Hunger drives Stuff the Truck event”  Info box  What: Stuff the Truck Food Drive When: Friday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Where: Bridgton Hannaford Supermarket parking lot  Food drive volunteers can only accept non-perishable food items  By Dawn De Busk Staff Writer Sometime during the week, one in four Maine children will wonder where they will get their next meal.  Sometime during the week, one in eight senior citizens living in Maine will ponder how to make the food budget stretch without skipping meals. Area food pantries can answer that question, even if only temporarily.  These pantries provide food to families and to individuals who struggle with being able to afford groceries on a regular basis. On Friday, the Hannaford Supermarket in Bridgton will host a food drive for all area food pantries. The event will be held in the parking lot from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The food drive is called Stuff the Truck; and already businesses and school groups have pledged donations, according to organizer Rob Menezes, an associate at Hannaford. Menezes has been involved this year and last year with Hunger Action Month activities. He emceed the Empty Bowl Pantry Fundraiser on Sept. 17. This Friday, he will be working with volunteers from his store and from the community to stuff nonperishable food items into a vintage fire truck.  “Hannaford has always been a huge supporter of hunger awareness all over Maine,” Menezes said.  “We do this in our own community because we are members of the community and it’s important to give back,” he said. In 2014, more than 2,500 pounds of food was donated. What is the goal for 2015? “We just want to exceed last year’s amount,” he said. The Bridgton Fire and Rescue department will be on hand, providing a vintage fire truck to hold the food donations.  Also, an antique truck belonging to Hannaford will be parked outside the store.    “We will have volunteers from the Bridgton Rotary Club and volunteers from a number of Lake Region food pantries,” Menezes said.   “All local businesses are encouraged to donate. So are school organizations and athletic teams,” he said. In fact, the Lake Region High School cheerleading squad plans to set an example and make a food donation sometime during the day, he said.  Taking place inside the store is an event solely for senior citizens.  Nutrition expert Dona Forke will be taking small groups of people on tours of the store. The idea behind the tours is to teach people how to create inexpensive, healthy meals. Any senior citizen who takes a store tour will receive a $10 gift card from Hannaford. People can sign up at the Pharmacy. “This year’s Hunger Action Month theme is geared toward seniors,” Menezes said. They are encouraged to take a walking tour of the store with a dietician, he said. “We are hoping for a great turnout from whole Lake Region community,” he said.

Hunger drives Stuff the Truck event
Sometime during the week, one in four Maine children will wonder where they will get their next meal.
Sometime during the week, one in eight senior citizens living in Maine will ponder how to make the food budget stretch without skipping meals.
Area food pantries can answer that question, even if only temporarily.
These pantries provide food to families and to individuals who struggle with being able to afford groceries on a regular basis.
On Friday, the Hannaford Supermarket in Bridgton will host a food drive for all area food pantries. The event will be held in the parking lot from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The food drive is called Stuff the Truck; and already businesses and school groups have pledged donations, according to organizer Rob Menezes, an associate at Hannaford.
Menezes has been involved this year and last year with Hunger Action Month activities. He emceed the Empty Bowl Pantry Fundraiser on Sept. 17.
This Friday, he will be working with volunteers from his store and from the community to stuff nonperishable food items into a vintage fire truck.
“Hannaford has always been a huge supporter of hunger awareness all over Maine,” Menezes said.
“We do this in our own community because we are members of the community and it’s important to give back,” he said.
In 2014, more than 2,500 pounds of food was donated.
What is the goal for 2015?
“We just want to exceed last year’s amount,” he said.
The Bridgton Fire and Rescue department will be on hand, providing a vintage fire truck to hold the food donations.
Also, an antique truck belonging to Hannaford will be parked outside the store.
“We will have volunteers from the Bridgton Rotary Club and volunteers from a number of Lake Region food pantries,” Menezes said.
“All local businesses are encouraged to donate. So are school organizations and athletic teams,” he said.
In fact, the Lake Region High School cheerleading squad plans to set an example and make a food donation sometime during the day, he said.
Taking place inside the store is an event solely for senior citizens.
Nutrition expert Dona Forke will be taking small groups of people on tours of the store. The idea behind the tours is to teach people how to create inexpensive, healthy meals. Any senior citizen who takes a store tour will receive a $10 gift card from Hannaford. People can sign up at the Pharmacy.
“This year’s Hunger Action Month theme is geared toward seniors,” Menezes said. They are encouraged to take a walking tour of the store with a dietician, he said.
“We are hoping for a great turnout from whole Lake Region community,” he said.

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — Mary Phillips said she is facing the cold-hard reality of not having home heating fuel this winter.

Recently, Phillips and her husband Tom, both of whom are legally disabled, were denied heating assistance from LIHEAP program.

“I have no way to heat my home,” she said, after hearing the discouraging news.

The home they rent in Lovell is set up to use propane for heat.

The seemingly implausible options before her are: to move out or to freeze.

“I’ve dealt with being cold before,” she said.

Her husband has suggested that he return to the workforce despite the fact he suffered a work-related injury.

Her thought process came across an equally illogical solution: if they were single, their income would be lower. Individually, they would qualify for social services benefits that they are currently denied because of their joint income.

“We will have to separate and live out our old age alone,” she said.

The idea almost brought Phillips to tears. Her emotions were so close to the surface that she had to stop speaking before the audience at the recent Empty Bowl Pantry Fundraiser. But, she had already made her point.

Not one to take without giving back, when Phillips arrived at the fundraiser on Thursday evening, she donated a lichen-rimmed pottery bowl to be auctioned off.

Standing on her own two feet is something Phillips learned at a young age from the grandmother who raised her. Phillips was still a toddler when her mother died from cancer.

“You were a baby until you were five (years old). Then you got on your feet,” she told the audience at the Empty Bowl Fundraiser, which took place in the Great Room of the Lake Regional Vocational Center on Thursday.

She described what many households face: Trying to pay bills at the first of the month; paying an overdraft charge because the utility company or the phone company took the money out a week early; standing in line at the food banks; and investing time into preserving the food that is brought home.

“The car repairs are huge. The rent is high. Then, there is renters’ insurance,” she said.

“I don’t go to a doctor unless I absolutely have to because a doctor cannot tell me how much it will cost,” she said.

“What happens is I am reduced to not making responsible decisions,” she said.

“I would like to give up, but I cannot,” she said.

Earlier in the evening, she had said she was going to shoot from the hip and tell it like it is.

“One of the permissions of getting old is there is no need to impress. I can just be genuine,” she said.

Phillips said she knows from talking to others in the rural communities of Lovell and Sweden, her experiences are not unique.

“I don’t stand alone. I am just a symbol. I am an icon of so many people,” Phillips said.

Phillips was introduced as the guest speaker by Virginia “Tilla” Durr.

“I thought it was essential that we who are declared poor stand up and speak,” said Durr, who met Phillips at the Sweden Food Pantry.

“The emotional stress is incredible,” she said.

“Rich or poor — we are all going through this economic crisis together,” Durr said.

 

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