During times of turmoil and hardship, when people are in need, our community and frankly our state responds. As Mainers, we come together to give each other a leg up. What we’ve seen with this COVID-19 public health crisis is an outpouring of love, kindness, and support.
Starting last week, we handed out over 100 hot meals curbside to seniors with the excellent team at Saco Parks & Rec at the community center. Open to all Saco residents 50+. Looks like we’ll be doing this every Friday for the foreseeable future with proper health precautions. For these first two weeks, the featured business is the Golden Rooster. They served 100 lbs of their delicious American Chop Suey last week and this week will be shepherd’s pie. If you or someone you know needs a hot meal, please contact Parks and Rec to sign up: Amelia Meier firstname.lastname@example.org.
Age Friendly Saco led by Jean Saunders and Lynn Steed are distributing meals to area locations with large senior populations like the Paul Hazelton House. Saco’s Deli & Co. donated enough meals for 104 older Saco adults. With the help of other business donations, the Saco Food Pantry, and the Saco Police, they hope to continue to help distribute select meal drop offs. They are also working on establishing a phone tree where volunteers will be making phone calls checking in on seniors in our community. If you would like to help make phone calls, contact Age Friendly Saco at 207-710-5029 or email@example.com.
The Old Orchard Beach VFW Post #7997 is providing seniors, veterans, those with disabilities, and people without resources drop off food and essentials. Call the VFW Post at 207-934-9910 anytime between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Landry’s Shop & Save have donated bags for supply distribution. Needed supplies and resources will be delivered to your door and they’ll call to let you they arrived.
The Saco Food Pantry is available and willing to take anyone who needs food supplies. They have dropped the paperwork to get food. Your name, town or city, how many in your family is all they need. They will bring it to your car. If you don’t live in Saco it’s not a problem as they will serve all. Their hours are Monday-Friday 9 to 10:30 a.m. and the first Saturday of the month from 9 to 10:30 a.m. The pantry will also open the last Tuesday of each month from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Their number is (207) 468-1305. They are also willing to distribute food to your doorstep if you are unable to leave your home due to transportation or health issues.
Would you like to help out? Drop by weekday mornings from 9 to 10:30 a.m. with non-perishable food items or make an easy donation online www.sacofoodpantry.org. Volunteers are welcome and may contact Lynn at firstname.lastname@example.org. Their location is 67 Ocean Park Road.
The Old Orchard Beach Food Pantry is located at 155 Saco Ave. and their hours are Monday 2 to 7 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday 9 a.m. to noon. Their phone number is 207-937-8094.
For the safety of their volunteers who are over the age of 60, they are not allowing clients to enter the food pantry. Instead they will be giving out bags of food to each family that comes to the door. They will be giving out prepacked bags of food. For more details visit www.oobcommunityfoodpantry.org. The OOB Parks & Recreation and the area Rotary club have been conducting food drives for the pantry as well.
The City of Saco is now offering a COVID-19 general community resource hotline. If you are uncertain how to accomplish something with the city due to the pandemic, need help finding available community or business resources, or are experiencing food insecurity, give them a call. They will do their best to point you in the right direction. The hotline number is (207) 294-2436 and will be staffed by Saco Parks & Recreation Department employees, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
The OOB Community Friendly Connection is working around the clock to also assist local residents. Led by Pat Brown, this group has been working with town officials to connect residents to resources. They’ve worked with the town of Old Orchard Beach to create a resource hotline. For all OOB residents with a non-emergency need, there is a new phone number to call for help. The OOB COVID-19 assistance telephone line is staffed 9 a.m.to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Call 207-934-0860. They are also working on establishing a phone tree to call in to check in on seniors. If you would like to make calls, contact Pat at email@example.com.
With many of these initiatives, I’ve been on either conference call or online meetings each week to help coordinate relief efforts with these groups. As I have further details, I’ll pass them along.
Thank you to everyone who is helping out and supporting our fellow neighbors in this crisis.
Justin Chenette is serving his second term in the Maine Senate representing Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Hollis, Limington and Buxton. He is the chair of the Government Oversight Committee, co-chair of the Democracy Reform Caucus, a member of the Environment and Natural Resources and Ethics Committees, and serves on the Maine Climate Council’s Coastal & Marine Working Group. He is also a Citizen Trade Policy Commissioner. Outside the Legislature, Justin is in real estate at the Bean Group, owner of a digital marketing firm, and is vice president of Saco Main Street. Follow updates at justinchenette.com.
Beyond the Headlines
Weekly Column featured in The Biddeford-Saco-OOB Courier Newspaper by Rep. Justin Chenette of Saco