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Lewiston shelter pleading for help after food donations dry up

Trinity Jubilee Center relies on leftover food from Bates College and Hannaford Supermarkets, now those supplies are not coming in.

LEWISTON, Maine — A program that provides hundreds of meals daily for the homeless is scrambling to keep up with a heightened demand for food amid precautions and closings against the spread of coronavirus, or COVID-19.

Leftover cafeteria food from Bates ran out when the college closed and shifted to online classes. Hannaford does not have any unsold food to donate right now. The hope is the public will step up in a big way.

The community is answering the call. Some local restaurants who closed their dine-in service have donated food, an elementary school donated more than 150 backpack lunches. 

But that won't last for long. Right now the center which runs a day shelter, food pantry and resource program is handing out several hundred bagged meals a day and that need keeps growing.

Restaurants can donate food if they call ahead. The center is not accepting donated food from private citizens. 

The center instead is asking for monetary donations which can made directly on Trinity Jubilee's website and social media pages.

"Gift cards from Sam's, Wal-Mart, Amazon so we can go out and make bulk purchases and get exactly what we need," said Executive Director Erin Reed.

The demand is expected to increase in the coming days including people who have temporarily lost their jobs are coming to the center's food pantry to feed their families.

Information on how you can help the Trinity Jubilee Center click here

There are other efforts underway to combat food insecurity. On Friday grab and go bags will be distributed in front of the Hasty Community Center in Auburn, inside several pre-prepped meals ready to be heated up.

Participants must call ahead to the Auburn Recreation Department to reserve their meals. Curbside pick up will take place on Tuesdays and Fridays between 11 and 1 pm.

For more information go to Auburn Recreation Department website. 

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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