Most of the teens in JMG’s LearningWorks Youth Building Alternatives Program in Portland, have benefited from the services of a food pantry at some point. Learning job and life skills while they pursue GED’s, several of the teens are homeless, couch surf or have unpredictable family incomes and meals.
Wayside Food pantry serves many LearningWorks students through a mobile pantry. When the LearningWorks JMG students chose Wayside to receive its JOY grant, they also arranged a work day at the food warehouse. As they organized freezer space and moved milk onto a delivery truck, students were blown away to hear that Wayside stocks and moves more than 2 million pounds of food each year to serve more than 500,000 people in southern Maine.
At the end of the day, one student ensured that volunteer coordinators had his cell phone number, “I don’t have a land line or permanent home, but you guys have been there for me and I want to give back when you need help. Would that be OK?”