I am involved with the Evening Sandwich Program in the basement of the Universalist Unitarian Church of Waterville.

The program, with the help of other area churches, Colby and area residents provides meals Monday through Friday to those in need. People receive a takeout meal consisting of a sandwich, soup, dessert and a treat such as fresh fruit. The program has been in operation for more than 20 years. For many years, we served an average of 100 meals a day. Now we serve an average of 200.

In April, the program served 3,269 meals to 174 children under the age of 18 and 922 adults. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has supplied us some of the food used to meet this need.

Recently, the program’s director, Maili Bailey, was told USDA support may stop because we don’t meet the government’s definition of a soup kitchen, since we do not offer a place to sit down.

This is just another example of regulations making it harder on those who already have a hard life. Some teenagers come to get meals at ESP and we doubt that they would do so if they had to sit down and risk being seen by someone they know. Summer vacation is here, and the school lunch program is not available to many needy students.

Government assistance for programs such as ours continues to shrink as the need exponentially increases and private donations, because of sustained hard economic times, also are shrinking.

We are committed to continuing to provide this essential community resource and will lobby the USDA to reverse this ridiculous, dangerous policy.

Nancy Sanford, president, ESP Board


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