Volunteers Serena Ferreira, right, and Lou Charland assist Thursday as meals provided by the Alfond Youth & Community Center are picked up for children 18 and younger and families at Fort Halifax in Winslow. Morning Sentinel photo by Rich Abrahamson

Two more local businesses are joining in to support the Alfond Youth Center in Waterville and its meal program by hosting fundraising events and donating a portion of the proceeds.

The owners of Amici’s Cucina, at 137 Main St. in Waterville, have decided to support the meal program by serving takeout meals from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and donating a portion of the proceeds to the meal program.

The meal program was launched last week as a way to keep local students fed during school closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since then, the program has fed around 1,000 people per day and provided weekend meal backpacks filled with nonperishables to families.

Amici’s owner Mary Carpinito said the fundraiser will last as long as the coronavirus impacts food security in the area.

“We’re going to do this as long as these conditions are the way they are,” Carpinito said during a phone call on Tuesday.

Volunteer Serena Ferreira carries containers holding pulled pork and baked beans Thursday while helping with the curbside meal service provided by the Alfond Youth & Community Center for children 18 and younger and their families at Fort Halifax in Winslow. Morning Sentinel photo by Rich Abrahamson Buy this Photo

To increase the amount of donations, the Carpinitos enlisted the help of Brent Burger, a friend and loyal customer of Amici’s who is also the owner of Campbell’s True Value Hardware Store in Winslow. Campbell’s will match Amici’s donations by 100%.

The program requires about $25,000 per week and relies on donations and funding from the Maine Summer Food Service Program, a statewide program that provides meals to children in low-income areas during the summer months.

Fellow Waterville restaurant The Proper Pig launched its own fundraiser for the meal program last week. Owners Bill Mitchell and Fred Ouellette provided a discounted menu made from the food they had in stock and donated a portion of the proceeds to the center’s food program.

Mitchell, who also owns GHM Insurance in Waterville, pledged that the company would match the proceeds raised by The Proper Pig by up to $1,000.

“We’d seen how The Proper Pig had done it and we thought why don’t we jump on board,” Carpinito said. “And kids are so near and dear to us that we decided we wanted to support the meal program.”

Carpinito said the first weekend went so well that they had to bring in extra staff to help fill orders.

We started Thursday with just a couple of us, but we had to bring in some extra staff. It was pretty overwhelming,” Carpinito said. “But we had great support this past weekend … we know our community is supporting us and we want to give back.”

Carpinito said Amici’s is considering creating a select discounted menu, but plans for that are still being discussed. 

State representatives from the area have also been called upon by Rep. Bruce White of Waterville to support the youth center. 

On March 20, White sent a letter inviting representatives from China, Fairfield, Vassalboro and Winslow to a virtual meeting on Thursday to discuss how they can help support the services the center is providing in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We feel that we need to get together with the leadership in the area as this coronavirus issue evolves and get ahead of some things,” White said during a phone call on Tuesday. 

The needs that are planned to be discussed on Thursday include funding for food costs, staffing and filling outreach needs, supplies and technology support.

Meals provided by Alfond Youth & Community Center for children and their families are picked up Thursday at Fort Halifax in Winslow. Morning Sentinel photo by Rich Abrahamson

“This is really just to get together ahead of things and learn what needs are coming up if this continues, which we kind of expect it to,” White said. “I think we need to be proactive about this. We as state legislators want to be a resource.” 

Helping the Alfond Center is particularly special to White.

“Growing up in this area and going there as a child, this is another way to just help and support because it helped me in so many ways,” White said. “And we’re so lucky and fortunate in this area to have the center and the staff there.” 

The meal program runs Monday through Friday from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Residents can pick up meals from the Alfond Center at 126 North St. in Waterville, Fort Halifax Park at U.S. Route 201 in Winslow, the Fabian Oil Inc. parking lot next to the Fabian Oil gas station at 20 Oak St. in Oakland and the upper athletic lot of Lawrence High School at 9 School St. in Fairfield.

No proof of need or residency is required to receive the meals.


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