Radio station, students help needy for holidays

PORTLAND, Maine -On average, one in six Mainers use a local food pantry or relief agency for help with hunger.

It’s an alarming statistic that drives many of us to support local efforts to make sure our neighbors don’t miss out on a special meal, like Thanksgiving.

They came, they saw and they stuffed a bus at a Hannaford in Portland on Tuesday, all part of radio station Rewind 100.9’s ninth annual event for Prebble Street.

“We passed a million pounds last year over the last eight years. So we’re looking for close to 100,000 pounds between financial support and non-perishable food items,” said Chuck Igo, with 100.9.

Students at Cheverus high school put together and delivered hundreds of holiday meals on Tuesday.

Stocks of food that will help Prebble Street serve more than 550,000 meals a year between three full kitchens and the food pantry.

“When people have to make a decision between paying for heat and eating, sometimes heat wins,” said Igo.

That type of decision will lead nearly two-million Mainers to seek food from local agencies each year.

But at least for Thanksgiving, some don’t have to go anywhere to find food because it’s headed their way.

That’s because the track at Cheverus High School turned into a Thanksgiving workshop Tuesday, where kids put the finishing touches on holiday meals, and getting ready to send them out across Portland.

“We started the day with seven hundred fifty boxes of family meals, and a lot of them have been sent out to be delivered to families that need them,” said Hayley Roche, president of the school’s Key Club.

The school has dropped off Thanksgiving meals in the Portland area for more than 40 years. But it’s the second year in a row the Cheverus has packaged up more than 700 boxes.

“This year was a great year because we didn’t have to put anyone on a waiting list or turn anyone down,” said Roche.

Which is good news for many who will get one of the holiday meals. They were chosen through community groups or called in to school for help.

“A lot of people will put their efforts toward Christmas and getting the presents. But I think it’s such a super important holiday nobody should miss out on it because of financial problems,” said Roche.

And thanks to the students, hundreds of people won’t have too.