Hunger and justice issues top area news briefs

15 years ago

    Meals on Wheels fund-raiser
    Governor John Baldacci helped kick off a special event on Wednesday at the Statehouse. “March for Meals” is a national effort to address the problem of hunger and poor nutrition in our older population.     “As Maine’s elderly population rises, the number of elderly Mainers going hungry is also increasing”, Baldacci said. “By providing meals and other nutrition services to those seniors, senior nutrition programs enable those individuals to live independently in their homes and avoid premature institutionalization”, said the Governor.
    The Aroostook Agency on Aging provides Meals-on-Wheels service in several area communities. At the time the Governor was making his remarks, agency staff and volunteers were delivering hot meals to the homes of 72 Caribou seniors; 69 in Presque Isle and Mapleton area; 21 in Fort Fairfield; 22 in Mars Hill, Blaine and Bridgewater; seven in Limestone, 18 in Washburn area, and nine in Ashland. 49 seniors were eating meals at one of the two area dining centers.
    Steve Farnham, executive director of the agency on aging, said the average age of a homebound person receiving meals at home is 80 and the agency provided just over 102,000 meals to 1,207 older people in 2007. “The numbers sound impressive but in fact are down compared to what we were able to do just a few years ago. Government funding is shrinking and the program relies on donations – money from individuals and time from volunteers”, said Farnham.
    To highlight the importance of the service and the need for money for meals and volunteers to help deliver the meals, the Agency on Aging is partnering with others. March 19 has been designated “Mayors for Meals” Day nationally and local officials in several area towns are joining the effort. Mapleton Town Manager John Edgecomb will be joined by some town council members from Mapleton and Castle Hill in delivering meals to the homebound that day in the Mapleton area.
    The Agency on Aging is also partnering with Alan Shawn Feinstein and the Feinstein Foundation who has offered $1 million as match to fight hunger for organizations that help in this cause. “For every $1 donation we receive for the nutrition program in  April, the Feinstein Foundation will match it,” reported Farnham. “Every dollar donated to the agency on aging for Meals-on-Wheels stays in this area and helps feed our elderly,” he said.
    Donations of any amount are welcome, are tax deductible and can be sent to Meals on Wheels, PO Box 1288, Presque Isle, ME 04769. If received by the agency by April 30, it will be matched by Feinstein. Volunteers are welcome and always needed to help in the delivery of meals.
    Contact the Agency on Aging  at; telephone 764-3396 or toll free 1-800-439-1789 or write to Meals on Wheels at the previous address.
NMCC instructor to lead discussion on world hunger
    PRESQUE ISLE – Northern Maine Community College humanities instructor David Raymond will lead a discussion on world hunger on Friday, April 25, at noontime at the College. The day marks the first of a two-day, 30-hour fast that Raymond is undertaking as part of World Vision’s 30 Hour Famine, an annual effort to raise awareness and money to fight hunger both overseas and in the United States.
    Raymond invites members of the campus community as well as the general public to come and take part in the noon gathering. Although the event is free, those attending are encouraged to donate the money they would typically spend for lunch to 30 Hour Famine. As an added bonus, Raymond has announced that all money donated on April 25 will be matched dollar for dollar by an anonymous local donor.
    In addition to donations being accepted during the noontime session, donations are also being collected throughout the month in the College Relations Office, just off the Christie lobby. People may donate a flat amount or make a per-hour pledge. Donations are tax deductible and a receipt will be provided.
    Raymond is also undertaking this project as a model for students in his ethics class. He has challenged the class to apply moral theory to real life, requiring each of his students to complete a service learning project, doing at least one act of ‘goodness’ to someone other than an immediate family member, close friend or social organization that he or she already supports.
    Campus and community members who are interested in learning more about world hunger are invited to come to the Christie lecture hall from 12-1 p.m. on April 25 for Raymond’s presentation. Those who are unable to attend the event but would like to make a donation to support the efforts to fight world hunger may stop by the College Relations Office weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Remember, donations made on April 25 will result in a $1 to $1 match.
    Questions regarding the 30 Hour Famine or the service learning projects can be directed to College Relations Office at 768-2809.
Students, Social Workers host Maine Equal Justice Partners
    PRESQUE ISLE – Social Work students at the University of Maine at Presque Isle and professional social workers in the community are working together to bring top officials from Maine Equal Justice Partners to the area to offer a workshop for the campus and community.
    The Student Organization of Social Workers and the local chapter of the National Association of Social Workers will host Sara Gagne Holmes, executive director of MEJP, as she leads a training workshop titled “Advocacy and the Legislative Process” from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday, April 28, in the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Campus Center.
    During the April 28 workshop, Holmes will explain how certain aspects of the legislative process work and how local residents can both advocate for themselves and seek out the right people and organizations who can advocate for them.
    Refreshments will be served during this free event, which will count for one continuing education unit to NASW members. Non-members who would like to earn the CEU may pay $15 to receive the certificate. For more information, contact Day at