PORTLAND, Maine — My Place Teen Center is dealing with something they’re calling a “snack crisis". They're in need of snacks to keep up with the hundreds of kids they feed each week.
After every school day, My Place Teen Center is packed with kids ready to hang out and decompress. Each day they come through the doors, there’s a hot meal, resources, and a welcoming community waiting for them.Typically, they serve kids from Westbrook. But everyone’s welcome.
"Any kid from any location from any geography. If they can get here, they can come and they can come for free," said Donna Dwyer who heads up MPTC.
Many of the kids who come to MPTC have disadvantaged backgrounds. For some, it’s the only meal they get all day.
"Everyday when I first come in, the first thing they do is eat. Sometimes, they don’t even take off their backpacks. Sometimes, they don’t come in with a backpack," said Alexis Dearborn, MPTC staff member.
So, MPTC makes sure that meal, and their snacks, really count.
"Our goal is to give every kid who wants it a very hearty, nutritious, robust meal, as much as they want, every single day that they come," Dwyer said.
Keeping the kids full- is costly. MPTC is looking to the community for help. Volunteers posted to the Westbrook Community Board January 24th, asking for snack donations.
"When you think of ‘oh we serve snacks to kids, 50 kids a day, but if you really translate that into what we serve a year, 26 thousand snacks a year- well, they don’t fall out of the sky. They need to come in somehow," Dwyer said.
MPTC says the IMPACT of donations goes beyond filling bellies. For the kids, it’s a sign that someone cares.
"It’s the greatest thing that they could have in that moment, to know that these people actually care about us, not only the people who work here, the people in the community and out of the community, knowing ‘wow they see what’s going on and they can be a part of this’. You know i think that they really enjoy knowing that other people care about them and that it’s not just themselves," Dearborn said.