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As schools close, community organizations are making sure kids don't go hungry

The Game Loft in Belfast and the Alfond Youth & Community Center in Waterville began grab and go food programs for kids

MAINE, USA — Many places in our state have closed or suspended operations. Schools, businesses, restaurants, and bars, all shutting down to stop the spread of the coronavirus. But hunger is something that never stops.

Some students rely on school lunches and food programs for meals as they may not get any at home. Now that some Maine schools have closed for two weeks, where will that food come from?

Aside from schools serving meals while being shut down, local organizations are doing their part to help.

In Belfast, The Game Loft has been a place for kids to play board games, hang out, and socialize for more than twenty years. The Game Loft is also a registered soup kitchen.

Credit: NCM

“Any kid who wants to come in for a meal, gets a free meal, anytime 50 weeks a year five days a week," Founding Co-Director Patricia Estabrook said.

Now, The Game Loft will be offering bagged lunches from 12-2 p.m. Monday-Friday for local kids who either miss the school's grab and go program or need something extra to eat.

“Our mission is to serve kids in any way so we are a soup kitchen and that means we make sure kids get fed every day," Estabrook added.

Credit: NCM

In Waterville, its community is also coming together for those in need. As schools and programs like the one at The Game Loft are focusing on breakfast and lunch, the Alfond Youth & Community Center is focusing on dinner.

“Schools were taking breakfast and lunch but the void was who’s taking care of the dinner meals?" Alfond Youth & Community Center CEO Ken Walsh said. 

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The assembly line method will produce 1,000 lunches a day for kids and families in the Waterville community. All this going on while the building is closed to members.

Credit: NCM

“Thanks to the donors, thanks to the volunteers, thanks to the staff we’re really making something special happen," Walsh added.

When asked how long this grab and go program will go on to, Walsh said, "as long as it takes." 

School in Bangor where you can pick up meals from noon to 1 p.m.:

  • Abraham Lincoln School
  • Vine Street School
  • Downeast School
  • Fairmount School
  • James F Doughty School
  • Corner of Bolling and Mitchell
  • 979 Essex Street (Holiday Mobile Home Park)
  • Cameron Stadium Mt Hope Parking Lot
  • Bangor Tire Parking Lot (Market Street)
  • Ranger Inn

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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