The Brewer Area Food Pantry (OHI) assists food insecure residents in Brewer and Eddington, Maine, by partnering with community members and businesses to provide dignified and respectful access to nutritious food and other essentials for anyone who needs assistance.
While many of the people who use the Brewer Area Food Pantry disclose to volunteers and staff regularly how they benefit from the efforts made to source and provide healthy, nutritious foods, most decline to share their stories outside the confines of the people whom they come into contact with at the food pantry. Amanda, a middle-aged single mother of one child, happily shares her story. The following is the transcription of her story she shared for a video the Brewer Area Food Pantry made to encourage community donations and explain the impact its efforts make on the lives of people who rely upon this basic needs resource.
“I’ve been coming here about a year (more than two years now). It could…happen to any of us. I was working. I was
doing great. I was supporting myself, and then I got sick. There was a lot of hospital time. I ended up on disability. I
can support myself if I’m eating Ramen (noodles) and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The trouble was eating like
that I just felt awful and was gaining weight. I told myself, Ok, I have to start eating healthier. I went to the supermarket to actually start buying fresh veggies and fruits. All of a sudden, my food budget was out of control. So I started coming here and I get about half of what I need and it really helps. The ladies who work here (volunteers at the Brewer Area Food Pantry) are like my cheerleaders. They can tell you how much weight I’ve lost and how much better I feel. Being able to come here and actually have any money left at the end of the month helps immensely.
“We’re all in this together. This could happen to any of us. Nobody is immune from winding up in a situation where they’re not sure how they’re going to pay their bills or get their food. And to have good quality food, too, not just the
Ramen (noodles) I talked about. We’re so thankful. It means so much to me and to everyone who comes here to be
able to have some dignity and some friendly people and to feel not so scared about the budget.
“I used a food pantry and soup kitchen (in another city) and it’s definitely like night and day. They did what they felt they had to do to keep the place safe, but they literally had a police officer in the kitchen every time they were open. It’s really uncomfortable and a ‘watch your back’ type of feeling. I actually look forward to coming to see the ladies here (the Brewer Area Food Pantry). They really give me a boost.
“I was almost 300 pounds. I finally decided I’m going to die of diabetes or get this under control. To my surprise and
delight, the produce here (at the Brewer Area Food Pantry) is what makes the difference. The fresh stuff is so pricey at the store. It’s so interesting the new stuff to try (that local farmers donate). Food tastes so good, too, when it’s local
Amada says she’s lost more than 120 pounds since using the Brewer Area Food Pantry and no longer needs most of
the medication she had been taking to control her diabetes. She directly attributes that to the type of nutritious food made available to her and others who use the Brewer Area Food Pantry.
222 North Main St. Brewer, ME 04412.