The Goodwill Americorps VISTA’s serving in Piscataquis County had developed a day of service for Martin Luther King Jr. Day of service on 1/21/19. Due to living in Maine, and particularly rural Maine, the weather decided not to cooperate with us and we needed to reschedule our original plans.
Piscataquis Regional Food Center is a non-profit working to end hunger in Piscataquis County and beyond by connecting farms and people in need with programs, services, and facilities to help them produce and acquire healthy food. PR Food Center purchased a warehouse in 2017 and has been slowly renovating to become a redistribution center for Good Shepherd Food Bank, a pilot program between PR Food Center and Good Shepherd. With the help of local contractors and grants from the USDA and elsewhere, we have been transforming a former Agway building into a community hub which will eventually include the warehouse to store non perishable food for local food cupboards, freezer and cooler storage, as well as a commercial kitchen to be utilized by both our organization for such programs as Cooking Matters, as well as renting the space to local farms for light processing.
Originally, our plan was to have a crew come in and be working on doing three different things. First, to hang drywall in the community room and warehouse, prepare the walls for painting, and paint rooms that have already been prepped. Sadly, due to our USDA grant being delayed as well as the weather we were not able to complete the project as we envisioned. So, like any good VISTA, we improvised. On Wednesday Feb. 6th, we had a team come in and hang drywall in our community room. Our space is actually now beginning to feel like a real space ready to serve people!!! Then on Thursday, February 7th, Cory Lile, Tammy Parker, and myself along with a few other volunteers, spent the day spackling, sanding, and priming walls.
This day(s) of service has allowed us to be able to give community members looking for tours on what we are doing here a greater vision of what we are doing and how it will one day look like. It puts us one step closer to reaching our vision of being a community hub, sharing food, knowledge, and support under one roof.