Guest Blogger: Don Gean, Director, York County Shelter Pro
Thousands need your help this Thanksgiving
The fall breeze sent yellow and orange leaves scuttling across the lawn and driveway to swirl about the line of people outside our food pantry. Most were unaware of that soft seasonal beauty because it reminded them that soon they would be cold, as well as hungry. There is little romance in being poor.
Two years ago, over 16,000 families made their way up to the top of Shaker Ridge here in Alfred, to stare at their shoes while admitting they did not have enough food to feed their family. The fact that people are brave enough to do that is reason enough to believe we have an obligation to help, and we do. We continue to seek out the resources needed to get enough food to feed as many people as possible, but it is getting harder. The problem is, last year that number grew to over 24,000 families, at the very time donations to the food pantry fell to an all-time low.
Thanksgiving is soon, and we know the number of Turkey Box requests will increase over the 1,652 we gave out last year. That’s 1,652 turkeys in a box with potatoes, vegetables, canned fruit, bread and dessert to feed a family of four, or about ten tons of turkey, four tons of potatoes, and several pallets full of canned goods.
During the summer and early fall, we begin the collection and hoarding of foods needed for the Turkey Boxes. At this point, we have so little food available that hundreds of families will not have much for Thanksgiving, or beyond. It’s the “beyond” that’s the real problem, since most everybody can get through another day, as many often do on Thanksgiving Day. It’s the other 364 days that hurt the most.
You know these people; they all have real faces, names, kids, moms and dads, and classmates. They were at the football game on Friday night, raking leaves on Saturday afternoon, and going to church on Sunday morning, and not one of them had a sign that said, “I don’t have enough food.”
Please help by sending cash donations, putting together food drives, dropping off food, and taking the time to notice the folks who don’t have those signs.
Donations can be sent to: York County Shelter Programs, P.O. Box 820, Alfred, Maine, 04002. Or, just call Joan Sylvester at 324-1137, and she’ll be happy to help.
Thank you, and have a great holiday Season!
Donald H. Gean
York County Shelter Programs
Former Executive Director, York County Shelter Programs, inc. YCSPI is home to York County's largest food pantry - which provides food for people from all over York County.
Is a Master Gardener and volunteers with Partners for a Hunger-Free York County.