For 15 years, AARP staff and volunteers around the country have responded to the tragic events of September 11 by volunteering in our communities. Each year on September 11th, every AARP office across the country closes its doors and we all participate in a Day of Service, donating a full work day to a designated project in our own communities. Here in Maine, as we have in years past, our office has selected Preble Street Resource Center where we work alongside the remarkable people who prepare and serve meals there three times a day every day of the year. Arriving at 10:30AM, we will get to work chopping vegetables, slicing bread, and doing anything that is needed to get ready for the lunch that is served from noon until one. This kitchen serves some 1,200 meals each day to the homeless and disadvantaged, many of whom will have already formed a line at the door when we arrive.
In addition to the kitchens, there are other important programs managed through Preble Street. They manage a women’s shelter and a shelter for teens, each one with its own kitchen. They have educational programs including a writing program that often serves as an emotional outlet for troubled teens who don’t know how to otherwise express their feelings. Preble Street works with local organizations to help people learn how to hone their skills and prepare for job interviews. It is amazing how Preble Street focuses their limited resources to help those in need.
Organizations like Preble Street don’t always know what kind of food they will serve on any given day – it depends upon the food donations they receive from many generous donors in the area. On scant days, they do what must seem impossible: they keep going.
It is an honor for our team of staff and volunteers to work side-by-side with Preble Street and we thank them for inviting us to share our Day of Service with them.
For information about Preble Street and for ways you can help, visit http://www.preblestreet.org/
Portions of this article were previously published in Maine Seniors Magazine.