The Star-Herald

A little food helps so much

To the editor:

There is a food crisis in Presque Isle. Shelves that were once full are frighteningly empty. That’s the new reality at food banks across Presque Isle. Donations are drastically down. E. coli outbreaks and the potential liability have tied the hands of many corporate donors.

As an outsider who moved here a few years ago and a volunteer at a food bank, I see our clients every week, so when I hear someone make derogatory assumptions about who is using our services, I would remind them it is your moms and dads, your grandparents, your aunts and uncles. These are people who tell me wonderful stories of life in The County; of potato picking days and playing cribbage all winter; of being raised in large families and raising a large family of their own; people who worked all their lives and paid taxes and helped their friends and neighbors out when they were in need — people who have put their heart and soul into this County.

As a veteran myself, I am sad to see how many older veterans are in need of food assistance. Outmigration, a problem devastating The County, has an even more detrimental effect on the elderly left without family backup.

Local gardeners/farmers could consider donating a portion of their produce to make up for the losses we have seen. When you make your shopping list, put down items for the poor at the top of your list. I know if I don’t, I forget.

Any canned spaghetti or lasagna product is loved by our crowd; many stores offer 10 for $10 sales almost weekly. Soups, especially chicken noodle, are one of the most requested items. Jelly and fresh bread are definite favorites and a rarity. Real pork and beans are the prefered bean item. They also like the same type of cereal you do. Spaghetti sauces and diced tomatoes, creamed corn, hamburger helper, crackers and cookies, apples, oranges and fresh bananas are also the most requested items.

Older people prefer a fast microwaveable meal; they have made large meals all their lives and now living alone they don’t have the heart or will to cook for themselves.

Take your donations to your church or call a local food bank: GIFT at 764-8584; Martha and Mary’s at 764-0758 or the Micmacs at 764-1972 to arrange delivery or possible pickup for larger donations. Not all pantries can do a pickup, but arrangements can be made.

David Gardner
Presque Isle

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