There were a dozen or so people sitting on the concrete wall, waiting to get free food.

It was sunny and windy Tuesday on Silver Street in Waterville, where the Evening Sandwich Program in the basement of the Universalist Unitarian Church was welcoming patrons.

One person at a time entered to retrieve sandwiches, salad, soup and desserts, all made from scratch, and they got to choose from among fresh produce, including potatoes, peppers, oranges and apples. There were also bags of walnuts, rice, beans and cans of food.

“This place helps way more than people realize,” a woman told me as she selected items to take home. “If it wasn’t for them, me and my husband would go without.”

Terri Cashman, 42, visits the Evening Sandwich Program at the Universalist Unitarian Church of Waterville, where she can pick up food for herself and her husband, who live in a garage in the South End. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

She identified herself as Terri Cashman, 42. She said she and her husband, Zach Milliken, 41, live in a garage in the South End that was offered to them recently by a woman they didn’t even know.

“We were living in a tent last fall and last winter by the Two Cent Bridge, until Christmas,” she said. “Then, we bounced here and there and every place. The woman offered to let us live in her garage for free. We even have a bed, and power. She didn’t have to do that. She’s even made us food. She’s gone out of her way to help us.”


Living in a garage is a luxury compared to being out in the elements, she said, recalling when they slept on the river bank without a tent for a few days.

“We’ve got plenty of blankets now. It’s gotten cold the last couple of nights but we’ve gotten through.”

Cashman, a dark-haired woman with blue eyes and freckles, said she sometimes goes to the Waterville Area Soup Kitchen on College Avenue to eat, but it’s quite a walk from the garage. She said she grew up in Waterville, became pregnant at 16 and later, her baby was taken away from her, as were four more kids she had afterward.

“I ended up having a hard time with somebody who had a drug problem,” she said. “I lost everything.”

Cashman said she is disabled and cited a long list of her diagnoses, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, attention deficit disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and bipolar disorder. She doesn’t have a doctor, however.

“I have MaineCare, but right now it’s hard to find an actual doctor that takes MaineCare,” she said. “I think I’ve called 50 places and ‘Nope, not right now — I’ll call you when there’s an opening.’ It’s hard because you want them to help you get on medication to feel better.”


I asked how she manages, not having access to needed treatment.

“My husband helps me,” she said. “He doesn’t work. He broke his back a year ago in a car accident, on his first day of working for a contactor.”

Cashman said she gets a monthly $903 Social Security disability income check, but it’s not enough to get an apartment, which typically is $800-plus a month. She has always had her own place, and this is the first time she has been homeless, she said.

“Right now, they want first and last month’s rent and a security deposit and who can afford that? Because I can’t. It’s about $3,000.”

Her biggest wish, she said, is to be housed.

“To have our own place where nobody can throw us out,” she said. “I worry every day whether we’re going to get tossed out onto the street. It’s the scariest thing in the world.”


The volunteers at the Evening Sandwich Program help make life easier, she said. The program is open to patrons from 3-4 p.m., Tuesdays and Fridays,

“They’re wicked sweet. They don’t judge us, they don’t treat us like crap.”

Nicholas Hood, 40, has been a volunteer there for three years. Hood makes the salads and desserts.

Nicholas Hood, left, a volunteer for the Evening Sandwich Program, reaches for a cup as volunteer Ann Paradis and Larry Dickey, the program’s assistant director, look on. Amy Calder/Morning Sentinel

“I’ve been homeless myself, five times, so it’s nice to be able to give back,” he said.

Ann Paradis, 81, a 10-year volunteer, enjoys making the sandwiches and greeting people, she said.

“It makes me so humble and grateful to be able to help. You never know when you might be on the other side of the aisle.”

Larry Dickey, 83, the program’s assistant director, has been there 14 years, working with director Maililani Bailey. When he was young he worked as a cook, first at a logging camp, then for log drivers on the Kennebec River and finally, for 20 years at a restaurant. When he retired, he started volunteering at the sandwich program, which was founded in 1990. He makes the soup, which on Tuesday was chicken with vegetables.

“I really enjoy this,” he said. “I like seeing the people come, and they can take what they need, you know. We try to be good to them all.”

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 35 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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