Dearest MPTC Champion,
My name is Donna Dwyer and I am the CEO of My Place Teen Center, a nonprofit, in Maine.
Like so many, as of mid-March, normal operations at MPTC drastically changed. We knew we had to continue to support our teens and their families, so within 48-hours, we pivoted from our mission, to what we imagined would happen, and did happen, to meet the surging and urgent demand for food and home care – Plan B. Six staff members prepared and delivered over 1,250 homemade, restaurant-quality dinners and 200+ snack/hygiene/household staples kits per week. We became a daily, mobile food pantry for 250 persons per day. We served anyone – kids, the elderly, people without transportation, people with disabilities, people who were immuno-compromised, those who experienced a significant loss of income, etc. – without qualification – via our mobile food pantry and curbside pick-up – any age, from anywhere. We also handed out $7,425 in gift cards from Hannaford/Walmart/Target.
That said, since March 16, we have procured, prepared, packed, and delivered over 35,000 free dinners plus 8,000 snack/hygiene products/pantry staples. Never in our wildest dreams did we think we would undertake, or accomplish, such a brazen endeavor – especially since so many things in the outside world were so topsy- turvy. Sadly, also during this time, we lost $300k in longtime, annual funding, which has not yet been recovered. We’ve been hit especially hard, but that never deterred us from our task of helping out where, and when, we could.
But why fresh dinners? Why serve anyone, any age? Why delivery? Why curb-side? Our pandemic philosophy was to support basic needs and to provide comfort, ease, dignity and respect. By not placing any limitations, by allowing for anonymity with curbside pickups, by delivering – to ease lack of transportation issues AND to allow us to provide wellness checks, by offering full, delicious, attractive dinners prepared by a professional Chef with a focus on quality proteins and lots of veggies and fruit – all of this effort was to offer made-from-scratch meals with warmth and care. There’s so much volatility and scarcity inherent in our community/State that we wanted to be a no-barrier, compassionate, dependable, basic needs’ resource via good food and in-person interactions for anyone, any age. In addition, we kept a vigilant watch for potentially dangerous situations as described below.
- More Mainers Struggle to Feed Their Families as Agencies Fear Worst to Come
- Rise in Hunger Should Set Off Alarm Bells
- Domestic Violence and Child Abuse Will Rise During Quarantines. So Will Neglect of At-Risk People.
- Mental Health Crisis Looms
Please take good care,
Yes! I would like to help in this time of need!
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Thank you for your generous support!