HOULTON, Maine — Food insecurity in Maine is not a light topic, but you wouldn't know it when you watch Dixie Shaw at work.
Shaw has worked for Catholic Charities of Maine for 32 years. She spends each day of the week traveling around Aroostook County as the director of the Hunger and Relief Services Program. Handing out food to senior citizens in need.
"The larger communities we bring our truck and do this drive-through system that the seniors love, we love it," said Shaw. "We get a chance to be outside and pass out the food and they get it every month. It's about $50 worth of food."
The federal program funded through the United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides Shaw with 1,755 food boxes a month to hand out around northern Maine. Each senior who receives a food box also gets a good laugh from Shaw who makes the food drop off a fun atmosphere.
"This is a sad state of affairs to see this many people in our country lined up to receive a food box," said Shaw. "Under any other circumstances this would be heart breaking, but we don't make it heart breaking. We make it like a little party."
She doesn't go it alone, with volunteers from Aroostook County Sheriffs Office offering their help. Sheriff Shawn Gillen handed out food boxes to 280 people during a recent food drop off event at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Houlton.
"We love to help," said Sheriff Gillen. "It's a community effort here and we like getting out into the community and showing people that we are a public service."
It's easy to forget about the food insecurity through the laughs of the drive-through. There are senior citizens who sometimes have to chose between heating their homes in the winter and buying groceries. If need exists in the county, Shaw will be ready to help.