The nonprofit Presente Maine units up biweekly solidarity meals pantries for anybody in want, particularly for Hispanic group members and different immigrants.
PORTLAND, Maine — “Despensa Solidaria” is an effort that began when COVID-19 hit as a means for individuals in have to entry the wholesome and nutritious meals they wanted.
“I had contacted a number of hundred individuals in the neighborhood, asking them to remain house, they usually stated, ‘If I do not go to work I will die anyway, as a result of I will not have the ability to feed my household.’ And so it began as a door-to-door supply,” Crystal Cron, president of Presente Maine, stated.
The main target was to serve group members from Latin and Hispanic international locations, like Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Mexico. The useful resource has expanded to any immigrant who wants wholesome meals and anybody who stops by.
On the second and fourth Fridays of the month, a giant U-Haul parks proper in entrance of the Portland Expo on Park Avenue, opens its hood, and volunteers assemble a line the place individuals test in, seize a cart in the event that they want one, and fill it in totally free with the meals they want.
Meals gadgets like rice, fruits, veggies, a protein choice, toiletries, pampers for infants, COVID assessments, and different sources can be found.
“We normally have over 350 those that come weekly,” Cron stated.
Ana Maribel Diaz is from Honduras however stated she has known as Maine house for a yr and a half. Diaz stated she left her nation in search of a safer place to reside for her and her daughters, as Honduras is thought for having one of many highest crime and homicide charges on the earth.
“Es muy beneficioso, nos ayuda bastante en lo economico porque las cosas que nos dan aqui, pues nos ayuda bastante, nosotros ya no las compramos,” dijo Diaz. “We profit loads from this pantry. It helps us loads financially as a result of this implies we do not have to purchase the issues they offer us right here, and that helps us loads,” Diaz defined.
Cron stated one thing new they’re giving households is a grocery-style cart for them to have the ability to simply push their groceries to the place they reside, as most individuals do not have transportation and stroll to and from their homes.
“Individuals are getting pushed out of their flats, and their expendable earnings is much less and fewer and fewer, and with the price of meals going up, and all the pieces else. Folks depend on these biweekly meals pantries, and we see extra individuals coming each time,” Cron stated.
For Diaz and her two daughters, this useful resource is one much less factor she has to fret about.
“Muy feliz!” “Por que esta contenta?” “Pues tengo una vida estable,” dijo Diaz. “I am very comfortable!” “Why?” “Nicely, as a result of I’ve a steady life.”
Cron stated a lot of the meals comes from the Good Shepherd Meals Financial institution, and loads is freshly grown at their very own backyard in Greene. Cron added, for her, this work is private.
“I grew up poor,” she stated. “I moved to Maine after I was 5 and struggled. Me and my household struggled to fulfill our personal primary wants, and I actually really feel that the one ones which might be going to save lots of us are ourselves. I’m privileged to have command of the English language and citizenship right here, and the system remains to be onerous to navigate that means, so I really feel prefer it’s my obligation to leverage these abilities to assist others, as a result of I am unable to stand by and witness the entire struggles and boundaries that individuals in my group face and do nothing.”
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