Grateful food recipients Christopher Bryant and Shelby Breton of Fairfield stand beside the Winslow Community Cupboard truck Monday as volunteers with the Winslow Congregational Church pack up food and tables after giving away meals to anyone who stopped along Main Street. Operations Manager Bruce Bottiglierie, background, in plaid shirt, helps volunteers. Photo by David Leaming

They pulled into the parking lot where a sign said “Free Food.”

Christopher Bryant and Shelby Breton were delighted to see tables laden with fresh produce.

“I love vegetables, and I’m a vegetarian,” Bryant, 42, said. “I don’t eat meat.”

It was a sunny, balmy 40 degrees on Monday, Presidents Day, at the corner of Summit and Main streets in Fairfield where the Winslow Congregational Church’s Community Cupboard food trailer was set up, inviting people to come and get food, no questions asked.

They came from all directions, some driving; most, walking.

Food cupboard operations manager Bruce Bottiglierie said afterward that 113 families had visited.


“Everyone is grateful,” he said. “You get some people that are in tears.”

Breton, 25, became tearful when she received a free bouquet of red, pink and white roses that were for the taking. Her blue eyes sparked in the sunlight.

She and Bryant, who have been a couple for about two years, packed their car with produce.

“We got 50 pounds of potatoes, we got blackberries, we got cabbage, rutabaga, avocadoes, eggplant,” Bryant said.

He is between jobs right now, as the last job he had erecting solar panels ended, he said. “I like to build and construct — anything dealing with labor. I’m good on those types of things. I started doing roofing and then concrete and solar panels.”

He grew up in Connecticut, one of 13 children, he said. In his 20s, he joined a union and worked as a welder and assembled parts on submarines. He moved to Maine some 20 years ago. Breton grew up in Litchfield, where she graduated from high school in 2016. She doesn’t work.


“I’m disabled,” she said. “I get SSI (Supplemental Security Income). Right now I’m looking for a case manager. I have an intellectual learning disability, and anxiety. Me, personally, I don’t put my disability against me. I’ve always told myself I can do anything in my life as long as I try.”

The couple, who live in a trailer in Fairfield, said they are very spiritual.

“Once you give out the love, that love comes back,” Bryant said.

They hadn’t been aware of the mobile food program, which consists of two refrigerated trailers the Winslow Community Cupboard bought with an $86,000 grant from its partner, Good Shepherd Food Bank.

They just happened to be driving by, saw it and stopped. Bryant estimated that the food would cost them more than $200 if they had to buy it at a store.

“They rob us right now,” he said. “It’s robbery. I don’t know any other way to describe it. When we walk in there, we remember when everything was less money. Eggs were a dollar and change and a bag of potatoes, $1.39.”


Bottiglierie works with co-administrator Steve Bolduc and technical assistant Kristi Letourneau on the program, which needs more volunteers. The trailers travel to several other towns, including Waterville, Skowhegan, Vassalboro, Clinton, Winslow, Norridgewock, Oakland and Benton, and in March, it will also start going to Canaan and Unity. The schedule is on the cupboard’s Facebook page. The idea of the program, which started in October, is to get food to people who don’t have transportation and have a phobia of going to food banks, according to Bottiglierie.

“We focus on going to lower-income areas where there are a lot of apartments, where people can walk,” he said. “My motto is: you can take as much as you want as long as you use it and it doesn’t go to waste.”

Bottiglierie, 52, is disabled himself and has a prosthetic leg. He lost his leg eight years ago because he has antiphospholipid syndrome, a disorder of the immune system that causes an increased risk of blood clots. His 3-year-old gold-colored labradoodle, Max, accompanies him on food deliveries and greets all the people.

Bryant said that to know food is available on a regular basis, free of charge, if a relief, and they plan to return. He praised Bottiglierie and his efforts.

“This right here is a blessing,” he said. “I value this man. He is uplifting spirits and souls right now.”

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 34 years. Her columns appear here Saturdays. She is the author of the book, “Comfort is an Old Barn,” a collection of her curated columns, published in 2023 by Islandport Press. She may be reached at For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to

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