My Place Teen Center, Westbrook, ME – Meeting emergency needs. Remaining on the frontlines. Protecting kids in the community.
Beyond the iconic red doors on Main Street is a free, year-round, after-school program that offers a safe haven for youth that offers comfort, hot meals, resources, and hope.
When COVID-19 forced My Place to close those Red Doors earlier this month, Executive Director Donna Dwyer immediately forged a path to continue to help these youth and their families.
Donna explains, “Many have indeed inquired, ‘How are the kids?’ And we thank them for thinking of this sometimes volatile aspect to ‘sheltering at home.’ We have pivoted very quickly to meet the surging and urgent demand for food. And care! Thus, we have established a daily mobile food pantry and implemented mental health check-ins for our most vulnerable community members.
“Four of us are at work preparing one hundred family-size dinners and home kits (hygiene products and snacks) per day. We are offering them curb-side from 1-2:30 pm to ANYONE, and then we get in the MPTC van and travel to our kids’ neighborhoods for drop off. This drop-off takes 3-4 hours. The current procurement, production, and delivery of food is an unfunded enterprise. We commenced this service in early March and anticipate providing 500+ family-size dinners + 150 snack kits per week for at least three months.
“There is a two-fold, urgent need for our home deliveries:
- The food aspect. We are pairing enough in our to-gos to feed the family as well as providing hygiene products. We’ve become a mobile food pantry for 100 families per day.
- We are making wellness visits. This is a very dangerous time for some of our kids and our parents as they have no buffer from each other. When school is open, and we are open, they have a safety net for 12-13 hours per day. Now they have no buffer. Poverty exacerbates abuse. And neglect. Some of our kids already come from depleted homes, during a normal economy, and now they have nowhere to go during this scarce economy. No escape. During these visits, we let our kids, and their parents, know WE CARE ABOUT YOU! So a face-to-face “how are you doing” is critical in ensuring the families, especially our kids, know we are still here.”
For My Place Teen Center, this is, indeed, the rainy day. To help them meet these challenges, please go to this link to join the 500 Club or make a donation: https://myplaceteencenter.org/donate/the500club/