WINSLOW — Brent Burger remembers the day a few years ago when a young girl expressed her delight and appreciation at having been given a meal at the Alfond Youth Center in Waterville.

She told workers it would be her last meal of the day.

With that, Burger and his partner, Michael Roy, immediately made a significant financial contribution to that specific program, and soon, other programs followed.

“I was in the after-school program section, just listening to the kids, understanding what the Alfond Youth Center had to offer and overheard this little girl talking about her last meal of the day,” Burger said. “She probably was 7 or 8 years old. Young.”

For that contribution and many others along the way, Burger, 51, and Roy, 52, owners of Campbell’s Agway True Value, a five-store chain of lumber, hardware, pet, and lawn and garden stores in central Maine, are the recipients of the 2016 Distinguished Community Service Award by the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce.

The 54th annual award ceremony is scheduled for April 27 at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield.

“Like many who give back to the communities that support them, Brent and Michael are reluctant to take credit for their giving,” said Christian Savage, program director at the Chamber. “They firmly believe in the timeless quote: ‘To those who are given much, much is expected.'”

Savage said when their sons began participating in various programs at the center, they became interested in how they could help the organization.

Burger brought his experience in volunteerism and organizational planning from the National True Value board of directors and joined the Alfond Center’s board of directors, helping with capital improvements, fundraising, endowment growth and the capacity in which the Alfond Youth Center could help the community’s youngest and most needy, according to Savage.

“We just started to get immersed in that community and felt that we could do something to give back a little bit there,” said Roy, also a member of the board at the Youth Center.

“The big draw for us is we felt like we could make a difference for those kids,” Burger added. “We were in a position to help change their lives.”

Burger said he and Roy work hard to run a successful business and the honors they have received over the years are appreciated but were not their goal.

“It’s certainly nice to receive the accolades, but we don’t do the work we do to get those accolades,” Burger said. “We were shocked, I would say, when we got the phone call and a follow-up letter.”

It’s “humbling and special,” Roy added, noting they try to keep a low profile.

Burger and Roy helped secure a $6 million capital improvement grant to enable proper staffing and created raised-bed gardens, for which they donated all the materials to construct and operate it. The idea was that it was not enough to feed children in need, but that they should be taught to feed themselves, Savage said.

The 15 raised beds now supply almost 100 percent of the produce used in the Kids’ Kitchen at the Youth Center, which led to the creation of the Weekend Backpack program, sending home a backpack full of healthy food to provide family meals for the entire weekend.

Burger and Roy continue to serve on the boards of the Youth Center, the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter and Mount Merici Academy, and they do weekly volunteering at MaineGeneral Hospital, school field trips, soup kitchens and food pantries.

Now, with an annual budget of $100,000, The Burger-Roy Family Charitable Trust awards gifts to organizations with a primary focus on supporting underserved children and families, as well as education and performing arts in local schools.

They sponsor children at Pine Tree Camps, provide paint grants to refresh local schools, are the lead sponsors of the Youth Center’s Charity Ball, are sponsors of the Family Room at the Mid Maine Homeless Shelter, provide Smart Boards for classrooms and laptops for teachers, and contribute to a variety of other causes.

Burger also was the driving force behind the Nine Days for Nine Children program in 2007 for a Fairfield woman and her nine children who were about to lose their home to foreclosure. The project brought 200 volunteers and 100 businesses to complete renovations to the home.

Four of the children, now grown, work at Campbell’s True Value in Winslow.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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