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Bangor area non-profits work hard to keep community members fed

The Bangor Area Homeless Shelter and the Salvation Army are feeding more people as COVID-19 seems to be increasing food insecurity in the area.

BANGOR, Maine — The Bangor Area Homeless Shelter is feeding more people as COVID-19 seems to be increasing food insecurity in the area.

"What we've seen is an increase in need for food essentially," says Jim Batchelder, who's in charge of the food pantry and daily meals at the shelter.

The program manager at the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter, Archie Curry tells NEWS CENTER Maine an average of 200 more meals a month than last year are currently being served.

The shelter remains closed to people in need who will not agree to stay inside indefinitely. Currently, just 11 of 36 beds are occupied. 

"I want this to be over so I can go in again," says Norma Gene, who benefits from the daily meals.

To those in need of a lunch meal, bags handed out the back door.

"We were doing up to 80 a day, it's kind of leveled off a little bit, between that and the demand on supply, we've scaled back to 50 a day...and we do 50 every day," says Curry.

50 bags a day is what the shelter gives out in a span of two hours, all of those bags are given out and when more than 50 people come if they have enough food they'll feed them, if not they direct them to The Salvation Army food truck.

The Bangor Area Homeless Shelter also has a food pantry from which it serves about 125 families a month. The pantry services are available every Tuesday and Thursday.

"That's pretty close to double of what we typically do," says Curry.

The Salvation Army on Park Street in Bangor is another option for folks to stop by and grab a meal on weekdays.

The non-profit is currently giving out 200 meals a day, double the number of meals it was giving out this same time last year.

Within a matter of days, another guest has obtained permanent housin... g and those of us here at BAHS could not be prouder! This person came in through the warming center in January and has not ceased in working hard to overcome her situation.

"Right now on average we are seeing, right around 200 people a day," says James Moores, the Soup Kitchen coordinator at the Bangor Salvation Army.

200 meals going out this window, back in the day when the Salvation Army's soup kitchen was open they served 100 meals a day. So, that's twice as much traffic of people in need of a daily lunch meal.

"It doesn't matter where you come from or who you are, if you come to us and you're hungry...and you need a meal..we will give it to you," says Moors.

Moors is worried about how to keep handing out 200 lunch bags a day when the money the Salvation Army has to buy food runs out. He goes through 150 bottles of water a day and 200 meals that the non-profit is able to make from donations.

If you are interested in donating to the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter you can reach them out here.

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