Demand for meals at a Lewiston, Maine, homeless shelter has nearly doubled in recent months, heading into the busy holiday season.
“We don’t know why it’s happened, but there’s been an increase [in demand,]” said Hope Haven Gospel Mission Director John Robbins.
A few months ago, they would have 60-70 people a night for dinner, but now they serve up to 120.
“It’s a constant, constant steam of people,” said Beverly Robbins.
This week, they’re getting ready to serve 300 Thanksgiving dinners.
“This has been the busiest year I can remember,” said John Robbins.
Shelter staff isn’t sure why there’s been a sudden increase in demand at the soup kitchen and food pantry. They say they’re seeing more single mothers with young children, elderly — people who aren’t homeless, but do need some extra help to get through the month.
“So many of them just don’t have enough to make ends meet,” said Beverly Robbins.
To get through the busy holiday season, and busier daily demand, the Hope Haven can use donated toys for Christmas, household items, used furniture, and winter coats.
“We’re here,” said Beverly Robbins, “and they’re going to need us more and more.”
Thanksgiving meals at the shelter are served Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.